Two Guys Trashing Photography
Tuesday November 21st 2017

Gadgets w/ Gregg :: October 25, 2017

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By Gregg Ellman
(@greggellman)

You might never think the words toast, wood and portable electronic gadgets have something in common, but sure enough I’m here to tell you they do.

A company named Toast designs and manufactures wood-themed protective covers for almost any portable tech gadget. After installing them on devices including smartphones, gaming consoles, tablets and laptops, you can have a device with an old school or modern look, which I guess depends on how you look at things.

No matter what cell phone or smartphone I’ve used over the years, I have strived to find the thinnest so my device wouldn’t bulk up. The wood toast cover, constructed with real wood veneer, adds only 1/32nd of an inch of thickness. A leather version, made with top-grain American leather, is not too bulky either with a thickness of 0.059-inches.

Toast sticks to your device with a 3M adhesive backing that is removable and does not leave any permanent damage or residue behind.

After testing Toast on my iPhone and MacBook Air, I was really impressed with everything from the look, feel, ease of installation to durability. Each piece of toast is custom-made in the USA with lasers and hands. Custom text can be added ($5) for a nice personalization.

Along with the fashion statement Toast makes, they also provide protection from bumps, scratches and dirt. Toast is not going to save you from drops to the floor, pool or most heavy liquid drops for that matter.

Each cover is different for different devices. For example, a wood cover for an iPhone 7 ($34) has several pieces. The two main pieces are for the back and side, another for the front cover with openings for the display and home button. The last is for small covers for the exterior buttons. As mentioned, the insulation was simple and the results were impressive.

www.toastmade.com prices vary depending on device

I tested and reviewed the Sol Republic Amps earbuds a few years back and thought they were excellent. The Amps Air adds a dimension to the great sound with total wireless freedom.

All too often I have products like these sitting around and when I see how much I like them, I kick myself for not getting to them sooner.

Cutting the cord is common in the tech world and with iPhones setting the standard with no true headphone port, wireless is the only way to go. But in this case you don’t even have a wire connecting each earbud.

Bluetooth makes the sound happen in a set of earbuds, which fit with comfort and produce awesome sound, considering the effort the technology goes through to get the sound in your ears. Four different ear tip sizes are included to ensure a comfortable and secure fit.

My first choice for testing sound devices is with my personal favorite, classic rock, which typically is bass heavy. The Amps Airs handled it really well at any volume level. This was the case even when switching over to blues and big band music channels.

Like any Bluetooth headset, charging is required. You’ll get 3 hours of audio before a recharge is needed. The Amps Air come with a hard cover power case, which doubles as a charging station for the earbuds with it’s internal 2200mAh battery.

There’s also a USB port built into the case for charging your phone. You’ll get about 15 charges for the earbuds before the case needs a charge.

They are water-resistant and even have a multi-function button for controlling music and a built-in microphone for handsfree calls.

www.solrepublic.com $149.99, available in jet black, rose gold, rich teal and deep blue

I saw an item on the Olloclip website that is worth mentioning. The makers of a great lens system to improve smartphone cameras has announced compatibility with the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. The lenses include wide angle, telephoto and macro lenses.

They expect to have an announcement soon about a lens system for the iPhone X.

The multi-lens system with precision-coated ground glass optics is portable, goes on and off with ease and incredibly versatile for still images or video.

www.olloclip.com