Ambi Climate 2 Smart Air Conditioner Controller Review – MBReviews

  • April 10, 2019

The Ambi Climate 2 is the successor to the small KickStarter-backed device that was released around three years ago as a reaction to the traditional air conditioner remote control by offering a less restricting way of controlling the home thermal comfort and relying on the A.I. engine to negate the need of constantly adjusting parameters.

The new Ambi Climate 2 retains everything that made its predecessor a reliable device, but it has graduated to a more premium look, it is better integrated within a smart home environment (including some of the most popular smart assistants: Amazon Alexa and Google Home) and a more mature application.

ambi-climate

This isn’t the first time I encountered a device that learns from its user’s habits to deliver the perfect experience since the Nest Learning Thermostat 3 functions on the same premise (and yes, it will also connect to your air conditioner), but, what’s different about the Ambi Climate 2 is that instead of simply turning on and off the AC, the latter takes more things into account (indoors and outdoors temperature, humidity and sunlight) in order to adjust the right parameters. That being said, let’s have a closer look at the Ambi Climate 2 and see if it’s worth getting rid of the traditional remote control in favour of a smarter solution.

Design
The original Ambi Climate was a small device made of plastic, with three LED indicators carved within the case and a motion sensor right next to the Ambi logo. The Ambi Climate 2 kept the same shape (half octagon with rounded corners), but the device is now smaller (it measures around 4.25 x 1.65 x 3.18 inches), so it won’t cover much space from the desk and the device is also lighter than its predecessor, weighing 3.88 oz (instead of 5.29 oz). The reduction in size and weight go hand in hand, so the Ambi Climate 2 still remains reasonably stable and it will stay in place thanks to the silicone band attached on the bottom of the device (I also noticed that despite being more lightweight, the case is less squeaky (than on the first gen) and feels more solid in hand).

ambi-climate

To give the device a more premium look, the manufacturer has added a wooden base and it has removed the three front LEDs in favour of a single LED indicator which changes the colour depending on the status of the device: when the device is ready to be installed, the LED will slowly flash an amber colour and, after everything is set up and working fine, the LED will turn green. Some additional changes from the previous generation can also be seen on the top area which, before, was completely covered by a black glossy surface with several cut-outs (underneath it, rested five infrared transmitters) and now, the surface is divided in two parts with some narrow canals that expose the internal hardware and allow some amount of air ventilation. This does have a positive impact because the device remains cool to touch at any given time.

One element that is completely missing is the motion sensor which I’m not entirely sure that it was functional on the first gen Ambi Climate, but it would have been a nice addition if implemented in the new device (so, in case you weren’t in the room for a certain amount of time, the air conditioner would completely turn off to avoid unnecessary power consumption). On the rear side of the device, you’ll be able to find a micro-USB port for powering on the device, while next to it there’s a USB port (can be used only for diagnostics purposes) and a small, recessed Reset button (to return the device to factory default settings).

ambi-climate

Installation and Functionality
What sets apart a great smart device from a mediocre one is usually the way the application is integrated with the hardware and, so far, it seems that Ambi Climate has managed to create a seamless and user friendly installation process despite featuring some seemingly complex steps. The first thing that you need to do is to download and install the Ambi Climate application (available for both Android OS and iOS platforms) and, after launching the app, you’ll be asked to either Log into an existing account or Create a new one (there’s also the possibility of running a Demo instance).

If you lack an account, simply create a new one and, after logging in, you’ll be greeted by a new window where you can could Add a Device from Invitation (this way, you can invite other people to control your device), Add Ambi Climate 2, Add the original Ambi Climate or Buy a new Device. Here, choose the second option and, this time, you’ll be greeted by a new window which has three steps available that need to be taken in order to properly install the Ambi Climate. The first step requires the disclosure of the device’s location and to be given a name (I know that people which have security concerns will frown upon this, but a part of the Ambi Climate’s 2 functionality requires knowing the outside weather); afterwards, you have to set up the WiFi Settings.

ambi-climate

Before undergoing this step, it is advisable to place the Ambi Climate 2 on a flat surface close enough to the air conditioner (so that it can ‘see it’ via infrared), connect it to a power outlet and wait until the LED indicator starts flashing slowly. Press Next, connect your mobile device to the AmbiClimate network and, once again, press Next. Afterwards, you’ll be asked to choose between the existing networks inside your home, but be aware that the device does not support the 5GHz-only routers (nor hidden SSIDs) – now, simply wait until the Ambi Climate 2 connects to the Cloud and until you get the confirmation message that it was connected to your WiFi. The last step is a bit more tricky because you’ll have to replace the existing remote control with the Ambi Climate.

ambi-climate

Before this, you need to make sure that your air conditioner has a remote control with a display, otherwise you won’t be able to pair the device to the AC. The application will request for you to choose the air conditioner brand name and the type of remote control (it is a code which can either be found on the back of the remote or inside the battery compartment). The pairing process has been successful after you hear a sound or your AC makes any type of reaction to the signal sent by the Ambi Climate. Lastly, the app will display the AC Profile which should match the functions of the remote.

ambi-climate

It is important to know that the Ambi Climate 2 does not completely replace the remotes and that you will still be able to use them alongside it. Furthermore, in my case, I have two indoor units connected to a single outdoor unit and each of them has a separate remote (which are interchangeable). What I did notice that a single Ambi Climate device will work for both indoor units, but it did not see them as separate entities.

The main app window displays a landscape photo with some info on the top area (the location of the Ambi Climate, the current mode, the indoor temperature, humidity and a quick feedback for the thermal comfort), while underneath it, the app displays a graph with the temperature and humidity inside the house over a longer period of time. In the middle of the window, depending on the chosen mode, you’ll get a small round feedback icon (tap on it to see all the possible type of feedback) and, at the bottom of the page, there are four shortcuts to the main sections. The first one is the Analytics, which includes the Insights (the AC Run Time over the last 4 weeks – it displays your usage pattern over the last week compared to that over the previous 3 weeks), the History (complete overview over the indoor/outdoor humidity and the temperature for the current day, week or month) and the Deployment (shows a log with all the action that you or the A.I. made).

ambi-climate

The second section is the AC Settings and it has two main options, one is the AC Controls (offers the same type of flexibility and control as your remote) and the other is the A.I. Control which allows you to choose between the modes that are allowed to be used by the A.I. (such as cool, dry, heat or auto). The third section is the Device, which is divided into Timers (add schedules for how and when the Ambi Climate is operational) and Device Settings: allows you to change the location, the pairing and the WiFi settings, as well as inviting new users, changing the wallpaper, calibrating the sensor, set the LED brightness and the Beeper loudness.

The last section is the Modes and it offers five main options: Comfort, Temperature, Away, Manual and Off. The Comfort mode needs constant adjustments from the user (don’t worry, it’s just letting the app know if you’re comfortable or not) and, after a certain period of time, the Ambi Climate will know exactly what you deem comfortable and will adjust the proper parameters without needing any type of feedback from you. The Temperature mode requires that you select the desired temperature and the device will work towards reaching its target. The Away mode is especially designed to ensure that the device will not consume too much energy while you’re away and that it will still maintain a certain temperature/humidity level (so, for example, during the winter, your home won’t be affected by freezing temperatures). The Manual mode disables any A.I. ability and allows you to control the Ambi Climate as you would with the remote. Lastly, the Off mode simply turns off the device.

ambi-climate

And this is pretty much what the device can do and how it works to keep a proper comfort level inside your home, but, considering that it still is a smart device, it can be paired with some smart assistants, such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home (unfortunately, it does not support Apple’s Homekit). Since I do own a Google Home Mini, I decided to pair it with the Ambi Climate and see how smooth the process is. Pairing the device to the Google Home Mini is generally painless (you need to go to Settings > Assistant and, at Home Control, press ‘plus’ to add the Ambi Climate app) and, afterwards, you can use various voice commands to set the temperature or humidity in the room, to turn on or off the device or switching the modes.

Conclusion
It’s true that the smart thermostats such as ecobee4 and Nest Learning have dominated the smart HVAC market for a long time, but the small Ambi Climate focuses only towards one type of product and offers a lot more than the simple ability of turning the device on and off. The application seems refined, with the options clearly laid out, so users with any type of technical knowledge can easily navigate it and adjust the necessary options, while the integration with the Amazon Alexa and Google Home are a welcomed addition for anyone that truly wants to experience the smart home dream.

Furthermore, the A.I. learning ability is another great addition and, even if I only use the Ambi Climate 2 from about three days ago (I will return to it in the summer, when the device’s abilities can truly shine), for now, everything seems to be working properly.
Note: As with all IoT devices, do make sure to keep them and your router up to date, make sure to limit the app’s permissions to the bare minimum and, if possible, put all the smart devices on their separate VLAN.

Check out the product here:

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Ambi Climate 2

Ambi Climate 2

Pros

  • Uses A.I. For Adjusting The Room Temperature and Humidity
  • The App Is User Friendly And Intuitive
  • Analyses Both Indoor and Outdoor Temperature and Humidity
  • The Small Case Feels And Looks Premium
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Home

Cons

  • Doesn’t Support Apple Homekit
  • Doesn’t Work With 5GHz Only Routers
  • Requires Remote Controls With A Display

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RuckBucket: A Versatile 5-Gallon Backpack Cooler

  • April 3, 2019

Ruckbucket 5-Gallon Bucket Cooler Backpack

Created by outdoor enthusiasts, the MUUL RuckBucket is an innovative cooler that is billed as a “truck bed for your back.” It is essentially a 5-gallon bucket in backpack form that is insulated, crushproof, and watertight.

The removable food-safe bucket holds 5.3 gallons and has 5-gallon insulation insert. The backpack components are made of high-quality 500D nylon with a sternum strap to stabilize the load. The bucket compartment can be closed with the included padded bucket lid and zipper enclosure. When closed, the pack is sturdy enough to sit on.

Ruckbucket Seat

The MOLLE webbing on the front and sides allows the pack to be customized with additional pouches or equipment. The side and top handles allow for easy carrying.

Ruckbucket Cooler Insulation Insert

The potential uses for the RuckBucket are too numerous to list but likely activities include camping, fishing, and foraging. It can also serve as a rugged storage bag for equipment or be outfitted as a bug-out bag for emergency situations. The RuckBucket has clear advantages over other backpack coolers with its durable and easy-to-clean bucket interior, customizable exterior, and overall versatility.

Ruckbucket Cooler Backpack

The RuckBucket cooler is available in midnight black, coyote tan, surf blue, and hunter orange. It is available in a standard configuration (list price $149.95) and a “Fully Loaded” configuration (list price $179.95) that includes a water bottle holder and a half-gallon side pouch. The RuckBucket is available to purchase at muulusa.com and Amazon, with international shipping at Amazon.

Buy RucketBucket at Amazon

Powerful Wireless Chargers for iPhone X, XR, XS and XS Max

  • March 27, 2019

Multiple reports are showing that Apple is planning to launch the highly anticipated AirPower wireless charger later this month. AirPower was initially announced back in 2017 and it was supposed to ship alongside the innovative iPhone X. However, this didn’t happen and the wireless charger was shelved.

Even though buying a wireless charger made directly by Apple instead of third-party accessory makes sounds like a great idea, this might not be the case. If there is something that we all can agree on, then it has to be the fact that Apple overprices its products.

Therefore, Apple fans might want to consider picking a wireless charger that is not made by the Cupertino based tech giant. With that said, today we are going to present the top ten most powerful wireless chargers that will work on iPhone X, XR, XS and XS Max.

#1 NANFU

Powerful iPhone Wireless Chargers NANFU

NANFU makes the first wireless charger for iPhones that we have on our list. This is a somewhat affordable wireless charger and it sells for $25.99. However, what makes this wireless charger worthy of the first spot on our list is the fact that it features Qi Wireless 7.5 Fast charging technology that is paired with a cooling fan to prevent the iPhone from overheating.

Price: $25.99
Purchase it from Amazon

#2 Anker

ANKER Powerful iPhone Wireless Chargers

When it comes to Apple accessory makers, the company known as Anker is one of the best ones. The Anker wireless charger uses Qi-enabled technology and its software optimization helps it charge iPhones 10% faster than any other 5W wireless chargers available on Amazon. In addition, the iPhone can be placed vertically or horizontally in order to enable versatile viewing for media.

Price: $21.99
Purchase it from Amazon

#3 Lightgrey

Lightgrey Powerful iPhone Wireless Chargers

The Lightgrey wireless charger is perfect for iPhone users who are looking for something reliable and affordable. This wireless charger is priced at only $15.99 and it features dual-coil technology. Not just that, but the folks at Lightgrey have also made sure to equip the wireless charger with smart chip safety features that will control the temperature of the device so that it doesn’t overheat the charging iPhone.

Price: $15.99
Purchase it from Amazon

#4 Yootech

Yootech Powerful iPhone Wireless Chargers

The folks at Yootech offer a two pack design. This means that iPhone users who purchase this wireless charger will receive two pieces in the package. One of the pieces can be used in order to charge the iPhone while at home and the second one can be used at the office. This is a great deal and to make things even better, the wireless charger features 7.5W, 10W and 5W charging mods.

Price: $21.49
Purchase it from Amazon

#5 Belkin

Belkin Powerful iPhone Wireless Chargers

The accessory maker “Belkin” is renowned for creating high-end products that go along perfectly with Apple’s iPhones. The wireless charger made by Belkin offers premium charging performances and the people who are in charge of it are so confident in these performances that they are offering a 3-year warranty with registration program.

Price: $15.99
Purchase it from Amazon

#6 Bestand

Bestand Powerful iPhone Wireless Chargers

The first thing that you can notice after taking a look at the Bestand wireless charger (featured in the picture above) is that it sports a sleek design. The beautiful design of the Qi enabled wireless charger is great for iPhones because it makes them stand out. In addition, the main body is made from an aluminum alloy while the bottom side is coated with an anti-skid silicone pad. Therefore, the iPhone will never slip and fall from the Bestand wireless charger.

Price: $19.98
Purchase it from Amazon

#7 Bestand 3-in-1

Bestand 3-in-1 Powerful iPhone Wireless Chargers

This is the premium and more expensive version of the previous wireless charger. What makes this wireless charger special and worth the extra dollar sis the fact that it can charge up to three Apple devices at the same time. This means that loyal Apple fans who have purchased and iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods will be able to charge them at the same time, without having to connect them to a cable ever again.

Price: $49.98
Purchase it from Amazon

#8 LinuXing Accessories

LinuXing Accessories Powerful iPhone Wireless Chargers

Since we previously talked about the Bestand 3-in-1 wireless charger, we have to also introduce the LinuXing Accessories 3-in-1 wireless charging pad. The pad offers fast 7.5W wireless charging technology and it works perfectly with Apple’s latest iPhones. The great thing about the accessory made by LinuXing Accessories is the fact that makes it easier for Apple fans to save precious space by supporting multiple Apple devices at the same time.

To top it all off, the LinuXing Accessories wireless charging pad offers a 24-month warranty alongside full time customer service.

Price: $39.99
Purchase it from Amazon

#9 Kuppet

Kuppet Powerful iPhone Wireless Chargers

Some people enjoy flashy designs while others like something that looks classy and simple. Well, this is where the Kuppet wireless charger comes in. This wireless charger can support an iPhone and an Apple Watch at the same time. Furthermore, the 2-in-1 pad can charge the iPhone at 7.5W and the Apple Watch at 2W.

In addition, the Kuppet wireless charger features intelligent overheat protection which adopts the advanced PM2760 chip. The chip is used to monitor the temperature 24/7 in order to make sure that the iPhone or Apple Watch doesn’t get too heated.

Price: $34.90
Purchase it from Amazon

#10 Chuanghuike

Chuanghuike Powerful iPhone Wireless Chargers

We want to end our list with something really special. The wireless charger made by the folks at Chuanghuike features a spectacular glossy Apple logo design. This wireless charger is perfect for iPhone users who want to show everyone just how much they love the products made by Apple.

Moreover, the wireless charger features a small LED indicator and the reason why we are mentioning this is because the LED has been placed low-key in order to not cause any disturbances during the night.

Price: $22.99
Purchase it from Amazon

These have been our top ten most powerful wireless chargers for iPhones. As everyone can clearly see, they all feature affordable prices and deliver great performances which means there isn’t a wrong pick here. Apple fans can choose whichever wireless charger they want from this list and they won’t regret it.

TRENDnet TPE-LG80 Ethernet Switch Review – MBReviews

  • March 20, 2019

The TRENDnet TPE-LG80 is an 8-port PoE+ Ethernet switch, recently released by the California-based manufacturer as part of its new Long Range series which focuses towards ensuring that the PoE+ signal can be extended up to 656 feet while maintaining a multi-megabit throughput (10 Mbps full duplex) – by default, PoE can usually reach only up to 328 feet.

This way, the deployment of outdoors (or indoors) PoE devices, such as IP cameras or wireless access points is made a lot easier, but that’s not the only element that sets it apart from the other 8-port PoE switches from the competition: the TPE-LG80 is also offering VLAN port isolation and QoS (despite lacking an utility software) and it is one of the most compact 8-port switches available on the market right now, all that at an affordable price point.
Note: The Long Range series also includes the 5-port TPE-LG50, so TRENDnet is still testing the waters to see if there’s any user demand for an 8+ port LR switch.

trendnet-tpe-lg80

Design
Unlike the consumer wireless router which was forced to migrate from the industrial look to become more attractive for a wider audience (the case of the minimalist WiFi systems), the Ethernet switch was allowed to keep its default form factor considering that it mostly has to cater to the small and medium businesses (the Ubiquiti EdgeSwitch and the Netgear S8000 are among the only Ethernet switches that deviate from the norm). The TRENDnet TPE-LG80 has also adhered to the industrial look, featuring a rectangular box made of metal and covered by a black matte finish.

It’s worth emphasizing that the TPE-LG80 is one of the most compact PoE switches on the market, measuring 9.45 x 4.13 x 1.1 inches, so I have to give kudos to TRENDnet for managing to include all the necessary hardware inside such a small case (when put next to the 8-port Open Mesh S8, the TPE-LG80 is about one fifth of its size).

trendnet-tpe-lg80

Most PoE Ethernet switches can easily overheat, so, to alleviate this problem, the manufacturers often install a fan to keep the temperature in check, but, despite being small, TRENDnet decided to simply rely on the passive cooling, so the device remains quiet throughout the entire time it is operational (the TPE-LG80 has added ventilation grills on the left and right side, as well as on the rear) – after I opened the case, I saw that TRENDnet has added alloy heat sinks to re-route the heat from the chipsets. After I connected five PoE wireless access points, I noticed that the device did get slightly warm near the top side, but it showed no signs that it may overheat, so the cooling system seems to be working just fine even if it’s not relying on a fan.

Just like the servers, PDUs or corporate-level routers, the regular Ethernet switch was designed to be mounted on a rack, but the TRENDnet TPE-LG80 lacks the dedicated holes for attaching the rack mounting ears, so you’ll either have to use a tray to mount it on a rack or simply position it on a desk or shelf (don’t forget to add the four rubber feet (found inside the package), which will help keep the device in place regardless of the number of connected cables). If the space is limited, then the TRENDnet TPE-LG80 can also be mounted on the wall using the two bottom holes.

trendnet-tpe-lg80

If you look around the case, you’ll notice that the manufacturer decided to put every port, button and switch on the front side of the device and I do think that this was the right call considering that the cable management is a lot better.

That being said, from the left, there’s a DC-IN port (to which you can connect a 100-240V 2.5A Max power brick), an On/Off switch (a welcomed addition), the DIP switch (a red area where there are eight small switches, each activating a certain function on some specific (or all) ports), the LED area and eight Ethernet Gigabit PoE+ LAN ports. The LED area consists of ten LED indicators positioned in two groups, the first two showing the status of the PWR (it will light up when the device is turned on) and if the PoE budget will go beyond the maximum 65 Watts (PoE Alert – be aware that each PoE port receives a budget of up to 30W), while the other 8 pairs of LED indicators show the connection status of every port: the top LEDs (LINK/ACT) will light green if the link is established at 1Gbps or amber when the connection is at 10/100Mbps, while the bottom LEDs will be solid green if you connect a PoE device (the Ethernet switch supports the following PoE standards: IEEE 802.3at and 802.3af).

trendnet-tpe-lg80

ALSO CHECK OUT: THE BEST ETHERNET SWITCHES

Hardware
Inside the case (which can easily be opened by removing the three screws from the rear side), TRENDnet has equipped the TPE-LG80 with four MNC G4813CG 1824X Integrated Circuits, an Anpec Electronics APW7313 VU6HP 3A Synchronous Buck Converter, a 7AAVV4U LM5575 SIMPLE SWITCHER® Buck Regulator, a NXP 74HC1640 CRX79403 Semiconductor, a Fremont Micro Devices FT24C16A 8P6NMC IC and an IC Plus IP210TB chipset. Unfortunately, I couldn’t remove the two heat sinks from the main chips since the manufacturer decided to solder them to the PCB.

Note: The TRENDnet TPE-LG80 features a switching capacity of 16 Gbps (which is lower than the OM S8, but on par with the Nighthawk S8000), a RAM buffer of 192 KB, 9KB Jumbo Frames and a Forwarding rate of 11.9 Mpps (64-byte packet size).

trendnet-tpe-lg80

Features and Setup
If you ignore the DIP switch area (which is probably the most important element implemented of this device), then the TPE-LG80 will function as a regular unmanaged switch which works in a Plug and Play manner: you simply connect PoE / PoE+ devices to the switch and you’re good to go – but, that would be a shame since the TPE-LG80 can do so much more. The device is marketed as a ‘Long Range’ PoE+ Ethernet switch, so, by pushing the first DIP switch (1) to the On position, it will activate the LR function on the first and second LAN port, which means that any PoE+ device will maintain a 10 Mbps throughput if the cable is up to 656 feet (or 200 meters).

Let’s not forget that the default maximum distance is around 328 feet, so this little switch doubles that reach and delivers a higher degree of flexibility in choosing the proper place to install your PoE devices – I noticed that this technology isn’t really implemented that often and I only saw it on some Edimax Ethernet switches (which works pretty much in an identical way) or with Planet Technology (its devices supports a greater distance, but they’re also less budget-friendly).

trendnet-tpe-lg80

The second DIP switch activates the LR function for the third and fourth ports, while the fifth switch activates the LR function for the fifth port, the same as the sixth and the seventh DIP switch which activate the LR function for the sixth and seventh port (respectively). The third DIP switch has the role of activating the VLAN port isolation for the port one to four, which is a very useful feature for isolating IoT devices from the rest of your clients, so, in case one of them gets compromised, the infection doesn’t spread throughout the entire network. The fourth DIP switch enables QoS, so that VoIP traffic and basically anything from the Video & Voice spectrum gets reserved the highest priority.

Lastly, there’s the eight DIP switch which enables the VLAN port isolation feature to the port five to seven – make sure that you don’t enable the DIP switch 3 and 8 at the same time and, after making any changes to the DIP switch, you need to reboot the TRENDnet TPE-LG80 in order to apply the new settings.
Note: You don’t have to worry about what DIP switch does what because TRENDnet has put a label with the instructions on the bottom side of the device.

trendnet-tpe-lg80

To test the TRENDnet long range claim, I took two computers and I connected both to the switch and I enabled the LR function for the first two ports (DIP switch 1): for the first PC, I used a 65 foot cable (20 m), while between the Ethernet switch and the second computer, I used a 560-foot cable (approx. 170 m). This way, from the client to the server, I measured an average of 9.52 Mbps, while from the server to the client, I got 9.45 Mbps which is in line with what TRENDnet claims (the advertised 10 Mbps without overhead).

Conclusion
The unmanaged Ethernet switches have a special place on the market, allowing the user to gain more ports while requiring nothing more than the connection of a few cables and, while TRENDnet TPE-LG80 does fall in this category, it offers something that its competitors do not: the Long Range function that expands the PoE+ signal up to 656 feet on 7 of its 8 ports, QoS and VLAN port isolation, all that in a fanless compact case.

Check for the latest price here:

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TRENDnet TPE-LG80

TRENDnet TPE-LG80

Pros

  • 65W total PoE+ power budget
  • Long Range PoE+ Function Reaching Up To 656 Feet
  • QoS and Port Isolation
  • All Eight Gigabit Ports Support The PoE+ Technology
  • Compact, Fanless Case

Cons

  • No Ethernet Switch With More Than 8 Ports Available

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Best Rugged and Waterproof Smartwatches 2019

  • March 13, 2019

The best smartwatches you can swim with featuring at least 50-meter (5 ATM) water resistance…

Waterproof smartwatches are still mostly niche products, but that is starting to change with the introduction of more models that are water-resistant to 50-meters and beyond. Most mainstream smartwatches have an Ingress Protection rating of IP68. These smartwatches have been tested to survive submersion in shallow water for a short period of time and are not intended to be used for swimming or water sports. Although they are water-resistant, you should try to avoid regularly exposing them to water. IP68-rated watches are designed to withstand accidental water exposure and the occasional dunking but they are not intended for regular wear underwater or for water-based activities. If you plan to expose your smartwatch to water regularly or want to swim with it, see the models listed below that have better water resistance.

Note: “Waterproof” is used as a descriptive marketing term when it comes to electronics and should not be taken literally (as increasing depth, pressure, and time will eventually overcome most waterproof devices). “Water-resistant” is the more accurate term and commonly used when referring to traditional watches. This list focuses on smartwatches that are at least water-resistant to 50 meters. A 50-meter (or 5 ATM) water resistance rating is suitable for swimming. For activities like surfing or shallow water diving, a watch with 100-meter water-resistance is recommended. For the best water-resistance currently available, consider the following smartwatch models for 2019.

Casio Pro Trek Smart WSD-F30:
Casio’s Third-Generation Wear OS Smartwatch with GPS & 50-Meter WR

Pro Trek Smart WSD-F30 with 50-Meter Water Resistance

The third-generation Pro Trek WSD-F30 has 50-meter water resistance, built-in GPS, and a significantly smaller form factor than the previous WSD-F20. Other notable features include altimeter and barometer sensors, the dual-layer color (OLED 390×390) and monochrome (time mode) touchscreen display, new power-saving features, and Google’s Wear OS. With Casio’s excellent reputation for water-resistant timepieces and the MIL-STD-810-compliant rugged case, the WSD-F30 is recommended for those who want a Wear OS watch for serious outdoor use. A variety of apps for specific activities are available including trekking, skiing, golf, fishing, cycling, paddling, fitness, running, surfing, swimming, and horseback riding.

casio.com

Buy Casio Pro Trek WSD-F30 at Amazon

Samsung Gear Sport Fitness Smartwatch with 50-Meter Water Resistance

The Samsung Gear Sport features 50-meter water resistance, making it the lone Samsung Gear smartwatch (other than the Gear Fit2 Pro fitness band) that is suitable for swimming. As the name implies this smartwatch is designed for fitness with a built-in heart rate monitor, GPS, and a large selection of training and tracking apps available. Along with the 1.2″ Gorilla Glass 3 color touchscreen, a rotating bezel and side buttons make navigation easy. The NFC capability (a feature lacking in most other rugged smartwatches) enables Samsung Pay cashless transactions. Though it’s not a Wear OS by Google smartwatch like you might expect a Samsung to be, the native Tizen OS has thousands of apps available. The Gear Sport is available in black or blue with silicone straps.

samsung.com

Buy Samsung Gear Sport at Amazon

Fitbit Ionic Smartwatch with 50-Meter Water-Resistance

Fitbit Ionic Smartwatch with 50-Meter Water Resistance

Fitbit is widely known for its fitness trackers and recently entered the smartwatch market with the Ionic, a color touchscreen model with a wrist-based heart rate monitor that runs the Fitbit OS. The Ionic has 50-meter water resistance and can track swim workouts with lap counting, duration, and calories burned. As a Fitbit product it has all the multi-sport fitness and all-day tracking features you would expect, including built-in GPS. It also has the ability to store 300 songs and play them through Bluetooth-connected headphones. Other smartwatch features include smartphone notifications for call, text, and calendar, as well as push notifications from smartphone apps. Other non-fitness smartwatch apps are also available.

fitbit.com

Buy Fitbit Ionic at Amazon

Garmin Vivoactive 3 Smartwatch with 50-Meter Water-Resistance

Garmin Vivoactive 3 Smartwatch with 50-meter Water Resistance

Garmin’s new Vivoactive 3 adopts a more stylish round design that makes it more attractive than previous models for all-day wear. Like the other Vivoactive models it is water-resistant to 50 meters and includes swim tracking. Equipped with an optical heart rate monitor and built-in GPS, the Vivoactive 3 is a solid choice for those who are serious about their fitness and training. Features like the well-stocked Connect IQ app store, text message writing, social media updates, and music playback control will also appeal to more mainstream users. The new Garmin Pay feature allows payments to be made with the watch wherever a tap-to-pay card would work. The Vivoactive 3 has impressive battery life of up to 7 days.

garmin.com

Buy Garmin Vivoactive 3 at Amazon

Fitbit Versa Smartwatch with 50-Meter Water-Resistance

Fitbit Versa Smartwatch with 50-Meter Water Resistance

The Versa is Fitbit’s most recent smartwatch offering and takes some design cues from the Apple Watch, with more rounded and curved edges than the Fitbit Ionic. Like the Ionic, the Versa has 50-meter water resistance and is suitable for swimming. As a more affordable model than the Ionic, the Versa is lacking a few features. The Versa doesn’t have built-in GPS, although you can still use the GPS features if you carry a connected smartphone with you. The Versa also lacks NFC (except in special editions). Also, the Ionic gets slightly better battery life with up to 5 days, while the Versa is rated for about 4+ days. Those who don’t depend on built-in GPS for their fitness tracking may prefer the lower price and more fashionable design of the Versa.

fitbit.com

Buy Fitbit Versa at Amazon

Casio Pro Trek WSD-F20 Smart Outdoor Watch:
Rugged Google Wear OS Smartwatch with GPS & 50-Meter Water-Resistance

Casio Pro Trek WSD-F20 Smart Outdoor Watch with 50-meter Water Resistance

The Pro Trek WSD-F20 is the second generation of Casio’s Smart Outdoor Watch line. It is now under the Pro Trek brand, runs Wear OS by Google (formerly known as Android Wear 2.0), and has built-in GPS which the previous WSD-F10 lacked. This gives the WSD-F20 better outdoor capabilities with the ability to use GPS with offline color maps without a connected smartphone. The WSD-F20 is also 0.8mm thinner than the WSD-F10 and has the same rugged MIL-STD-810-compliant environmental resistance. Other features carried over from the previous generation include the dual-layer TFT color and monochrome LCD display, altimeter-barometer-compass sensors, vibration alerts, and microphone.

Update: Casio recently released the lower-priced Pro Trek WSD-F20A which has the same specs with the exception of a resin buckle (versus stainless steel) and non-textured side buttons.

casio.com

Buy Casio Pro Trek WSD-F20A at Amazon

Garmin Fenix 5 Plus Series:
Rugged GPS Fitness Smartwatch with 100-Meter Water-Resistance

Garmin Fenix 5 Plus Series with 10BAR water-resistance

The Garmin Fenix 5 Plus Series includes the latest ruggedized versions of the popular Fenix series of GPS fitness smartwatches. These watches have stainless steel or titanium bezels and are available in three sizes (42, 47, 51 mm) with a variety of lens and strap options. They feature 10 ATM (100-meter) water resistance, superior battery life (up to 7, 12, or 20 days in smartwatch mode depending on the model), and are capable of storing up to 500 songs. They have all the GPS and fitness features expected from a high-end Garmin GPS smartwatch, including a wrist-based heart rate monitor. While the advanced GPS mapping and fitness tracking features may be overkill for some, the Fenix 5 Plus Series is recommended for serious outdoor athletes and adventures. Other features like smart notifications, Garmin Pay, and the many non-fitness apps available from the Connect IQ store may appeal to more casual users.

garmin.com

Buy Garmin Fenix 5 Plus Series at Amazon

Apple Watch Series 2 and Series 3 with 50-Meter Water-Resistance

Apple Watch Series 2 with 50-Meter Water-Resistance

Proper water-resistance is becoming mainstream as Apple revealed that the new Apple Watch Series 2 has a “swimproof” shell that is water-resistant to 50 meters. As is the case with other 50-meter water-resistant watches, Apple says it can be used for shallow water activities such as swimming in a pool or the ocean, but should not be used in activities involving high-velocity water or deep submersion such as scuba diving or water-skiing.

The Apple Watch Series 2 retains the same rectangular shape as before and will also have a built-in GPS chip for improved outdoor and fitness features. The Apple Watch Series 2 has a new dual-core processor and a new GPU which will provide double the performance of the original Apple Watch. There is also now an Apple Watch Series 1 with the upgraded CPU and GPU but without the waterproofing and GPS.

As the original Apple Watch was the leading smartwatch on the market and the Series 2 will most likely take its place, we expect other flagship smartwatches to follow suit with more advanced water-resistance features in the future.

Update: Apple released the Apple Watch Series 3 which also has 50-meter water resistance. New additions for the Series 3 include a more powerful and battery-efficient S3 processor, a barometric altimeter to measure air pressure and altitude, and a cellular LTE-enabled e-SIM option that can use the same phone number as your iPhone and provides connectivity without a tethered phone.

apple.com/watch

Buy Apple Watch Series 3 at Amazon

Garmin Fenix 3: Advanced Fitness GPS Smartwatch with 100-Meter Water-Resistance

Garmin Fenix 3 Waterproof (100-meter WR) GPS Smartwatch

The Fenix 3 is Garmin’s flagship multi-sport and outdoor GPS smartwatch. It is water-resistant to 100 meters with a 218 x 218 1.2” color screen. With its advanced tracking metrics and training features for running, cycling, and swimming, some may consider the Fenix 3 to be more of a hardcore fitness watch than an everyday smartwatch. It works with Garmin accessories like heart rate monitors and bicycle speed and cadence sensors to optimize training and recovery. It has smartphone connectivity via Bluetooth for music playback control and smart notifications for calls, emails, texts, and social media. Like the Vivoactive it also has a daily activity tracker with a step counter. Outdoor features include navigation, altimeter/baromter/compass sensors, and GLONASS support for superior GPS reception. Additional apps are available via the Connect IQ appstore.

The Garmin Fenix 3 is pricey and non-athletes may not take advantage of its full potential, but it is one of the most rugged smartwatches currently available. It is also available with a sapphire crystal (Fenix 3 Sapphire) and a wrist-based heart rate monitor (Fenix 3 HR). Read more about the Fenix 3 in our Best Garmin GPS Watches feature.

garmin.com

Buy Garmin Fenix 3 at Amazon

Suunto Ambit3 Line:
Advanced Fitness GPS Smartwatches with 50-meter and 100-Meter Water-Resistance

Suunto Ambit3 Waterproof (50-meter and 100-meter WR) GPS Smartwatches - Peak, Vertical, Sport, Run

The Ambit3 line is Suunto’s first Bluetooth Smart compatible watch line and is designed for fitness tracking and outdoor use. Like the Fenix 3 the Ambit3 is a GPS watch with advanced tracking and training features for running, cycling, and swimming. The Ambit3 Sport and Ambit3 Run are water-resistant to 50 meters and the Ambit3 Peak and Ambit3 Vertical are water-resistant to 100 meters.

The Ambit3 Peak and Vertical models have a steel bezel while the Sport is steel and polyamide and the Run is polyamide. The Ambit3 line has GPS reception for distance measuring, outdoor trekking, and navigation, and the watch also has GPS timekeeping. The Ambit3 has an altimeter (GPS-based for Sport and Run models), barometer on the Peak and Vertical models, and digital compass. Bluetooth smartphone connectivity along with the Suunto Movescount App provide phone notifications, the ability to use the phone as a secondary display, and photos with watch data overlays. Additional Suunto Apps are available to download.

The Ambit3 has a 128 x 128 monochrome display with an impressive battery life of up to 14 days in time mode (30 for Ambit3 Peak). Those who want the toughest model and the most features for outdoor use should go with the Ambit3 Peak or Vertical models. The Peak is heavier (89g versus 74g) but has longer battery life (30 days in time mode versus 14). The Vertical is the latest model and adds vibration alert, GLONASS support, and some additional software features (show current versus route elevation, ascent graphs, 3D distance).

Suunto Ambit3 watches are available in a variety of colors and also available with sapphire crystals for better scratch-resistance.

suunto.com

Buy Suunto Ambit3 at Amazon

Top iPhone and iPad Tricks & Tips for Safari, Spotify and Apple Music

  • March 6, 2019

iPhones feature amazing designs and powerful hardware specs, but this is not the reason why they are so popular. Apple fans are in love with iPhones because they offer a premium user experience that is unparalleled. To make things even better, Apple is constantly updating the iPhone and iPad operating system with new features which take the user experience to the next level. On the downside of things, getting so many updates on a regular basis is also a double-edged sword because this makes it difficult for iPhone and iPad users to keep up with all the latest tips and tricks that make them pro users.

With that said, today we have rounded top three tips and tricks that iPhone and iPad users will love. These tips and tricks are not something groundbreaking, but they will definitely make it more enjoyable to use an iPhone or an iPad. Without any further ado, let’s jump straight into it.

#1 Close Multiple “Keyword” Tabs in Safari

Trick for iOS

As we previously mentioned, Apple’s operating system is renowned for offering a premium user experience and Safari plays an important role in that. This is Apple’s pre-installed mobile browser and it’s renowned for making web browsing an enjoyable experience. Therefore, our first trick for iOS is to teach everyone how to close multiple searched-for tabs in Safari at the same time.

  • Open the Safari on your iPhone or iPad;
  • Tap on the “Tabs” button which can be found in the bottom right of the UI (user interface) on iPhones and in the top right corner on iPads;
  • After tapping on the “Tabs” button, the browser will show all the websites that you have recently visited;
  • Now, swipe down on the touchscreen until the “Search Tabs” option appears;
  • Type in any keyword that you want in the “Search Tabs” option such as movies, games and so on;
  • The browser will automatically bring up all the matching tabs and then you can simply tap and hold on the “Cancel” button which will pop up a new menu from the bottom of the screen with the option “Close (Number) Tabs Matching the ‘keyword’”.

This is how iPhone and iPad users can get rid of multiple tabs at the same time. This is a neat trick to have, especially for people who share their iPhone or iPad with someone around the house and don’t want anyone else to see what they searched for.

#2 How to Save Mobile Data in Spotify

Apple Music Trick for iOS

Spotify is the world’s most popular streaming app and lots of iPhone and iPad owners are using it. However, there is a big problem with Spotify. The music streaming app is infamous for using up lots of mobile data whenever people listen to music while on the go. Fortunately, there is a cool trick that makes it possible for iPhone and iPad users to lower the overall mobile data that Spotify uses every day. The great thing about this trick for Spotify is that the app features a special data saver mode and everyone can enable or disable it by following the next steps:

  • Open the Spotify app on your iPhone or iPad;
  • Tap on the “Settings” option which can be found in the top right corner of the UI;
  • Now, select the “Data Saver” option;
  • All that is left to do is to tap on the “Turn On” switch.

We have to mention that enabling this mode will automatically set the Spotify music quality to low whenever the iPhone or iPad is not connected to Wi-Fi and it runs on mobile data instead. Although, this is a small price to pay when considering how much mobile data iPhone and iPad users will end up saving in the long run.

#3 How to Set Apple Music Songs as an Alarm

Apple Music Tips and Tricks for iOS

In the previous trick for iOS, we showed everyone how to reduce the overall mobile data that Spotify uses on a regular basis. This next tip is a bit more useful because it will teach everyone how to set their favorite Apple Music song as their iPhone or iPad alarm. Although, everyone should keep in mind that waking up on your favorite song every morning will eventually make you hate that song. So, be careful about what you pick!

  • Launch the “Music” app;
  • Tap on the “Search” button and then type in the name of the song that you want to be set as an alarm;
  • Now, tap on the “+” button which can be found in the right side of the song and then select the “iCloud Music Library” option;
  • The next step is to tap on the “cloud” icon so that the song starts downloading;
  • Open the native iOS “Clock” app;
  • Access the “Alarm” tab from the bottom of the UI and then tap on the “Edit” option which can be found in the left top side;
  • Pick the alarm that you wish to have your favorite song playing;
  • Now, tap on the “Sound” option and then pick the song that you want;
  • All that is left to do now is to tap the “Back” button and then tap on the “Save” option in the top right in order to confirm this action.

These have been our top three tips and tricks for iPhones and iPads that will help everyone become a pro Safari, Spotify and Apple Music user. We hope that you find them useful and if you want more, then you can always check our other guides about useful tricks such as how to get the most out of the new Siri Shortcuts feature, how to remove the annoying top-notch on iPhones and lastly how to fix all Face ID issues with four simple methods.

Useful Apple Watch Tips and Trick for New Users

  • February 27, 2019

Did you just get a brand-new Apple Watch? Well, you are in for a surprise because the Apple Watch is much more than a simple accessory. Apple’s latest Watch Series 4 is dubbed as the best smartwatch ever made because of the plethora of features that it has to offer. In fact, Apple packed so many features in watchOS 5 that most Apple Watch users don’t even know about them all. This is why we have scoured the internet in search for the most useful Apple Watch tips and tricks that all Apple fans who want to become power users need to learn. Without any further ado, let’s get straight into it.

#1 Track Your Sleep

Track Your Sleep

The first tip that we have for Apple Watch users is to start tracking their sleep pattern. Having the information on how many hours people sleep at night is essential to planning your day, especially for busy people who like getting everything done in time. Unfortunately, Apple has yet to install a built-in sleep tracking mode to Apple Watch and this means that Apple Watch users don’t have any other option than to pick a third-party app to help them with this. On the bright side of things, there are tens of premium watchOS apps which can help Apple Watch users track their sleep and get useful information.

#2 Utilize the Digital Crown

Utilize the Digital Crown

Yes, the touchscreen of Apple Watches is nice and it makes people feel like they are using a gadget from the future. However, this is not the most effective way of browsing through apps or contacts for example. The fastest and most efficient way to browse on an Apple Watch is by using the Digital Crown. Just like the Home button works on iPhones that still have it, the Digital Crown can be used to take users to the home screen or to active Siri once the button on the Digital Crown is long pressed. Another cool tip that we want to share is that double tapping on the Digital Crown will take the user back to the last app that was used.

#3 Multiple Haptic Feedback Levels

Multiple Haptic Feedback Levels

Talking about nice Apple Watch features that make the smartwatch feel premium, haptic feedback is surely among them. On the downside of things, the haptic feedback can prove to be quite annoying when users receive lots of notifications at the same time from apps such as Facebook or Instagram for example. Luckily, Apple has thought of this and it decided to introduce multiple levels to the haptic feedback. The haptic feedback can be adjusted by Apple Watch users to fit their liking better by accessing “My Watch” and then “Sounds & Haptics”.

#4 Change the Watch Faces

Change the Watch Faces

One of the things that nearly all Apple Watch users seem to forget is that they have access to multiple Watch Faces. Therefore, we advise all Apple Watch users to try out difference Watch Faces such as Vapor, Fire and Water for example. All Watch Faces look cool and picking a more unusual one can make a Apple Watch look different than the others.

#5 Pair Your AirPods

Pair Your AirPods

Apple was the first smartphone company to remove the classic 3.5mm auxiliary jack from its devices and doing this was a big risk. However, the risk paid off and now all other high-end smartphones available on the market have also removed the 3.5mm auxiliary jack. Nonetheless, Apple also launched the wireless earbuds called AirPods when it removed the headphone jack so that Apple fans could have an official alternative other than using cable headphones that connect via the Lighting Port. Our advice for all Apple Watch users is to make sure pair their AirPods to the smartwatch. Doing this brings many benefits such as synching pone calls or checking to see how much battery charge the AirPods have left as an example.

#6 Get Music on Your Apple Watch

Get Music on Your Apple Watch

We previously mentioned that all Apple Watch users should connect their AirPods to their smartwatch and now we want to show everyone the trick to getting music on an Apple Watch. The trick here is to download Apple Music on the Apple Watch and then simply sync your playlists with the smartwatch. We should note that Apple Music is not the only music streaming platform that works with Apple Watch.

#7 Customize the App Dock

Customize the App Dock

One of the downsides about Apple Watches is that they look the same. Fortunately, this is not an issue for tech-savvy Apple Watch users because the app dock can be customized. Customizing the app dock will not only make the Apple Watch look more unique, but it will also make it easier and faster for users to access their favorite apps. To make things even better, users can add up to ten apps to the dock and this can be done by accessing “My Watch” and then the “Dock” panel. Keep in mind that apps which are marked as “Favorites” will show up at the top of the dock.

#8 Customize the Control Center

Customize the Control Center

The app dock is not the only UI (user interface) element that Apple Watch users can customize. The Control Center can also be changed to look different and to feature special elements. Taking into consideration the fact that the Control Center is the first thing that users see when they swipe up on the Watch Face, customizing it to feature all the right elements such as Wi-Fi and DnD mode, for example, is quite mandatory. There are lots of modes that Apple Watch users can introduce in their Control Center so that they can find and access them with a single tap of the touch screen.

These are our eight most useful tips and tricks for Apple Watch. We hope that you learned something new today and that these tips and tricks will help you get the most out of your Apple Watch. Also, Apple Watch users should keep in mind that Apple is regularly adding new features to watchOS and therefore, updating the operating system should be a high priority for all users.

FRITZ!Box 7590 Modem Router Review – MBReviews

  • February 27, 2019

The FRITZ!Box 7590 is one of the latest modem routers released by the German-based networking company (AVM) and, while its minimalist exterior may not give it away, this device is more than meets the eye: it can function as a DECT station for up to six handsets, it is compatible with ADSL/VDSL/fiber optic lines, it can connect to an ISDN telephone system and it can be a part of a WiFi mesh system. So, there’s the traditional wireless DSL modem router that simply connects your wired and wireless clients to the Internet and then, there’s the FRITZ!box which includes as many features as possible under the same hood.

Obviously, the regular user won’t need half of these features, but, while the 7590 claims to be a fantastic modem router even within a home environment (we’ll test that in a minute), the targeted audience is mainly the small and medium businesses which require everything that the FRITZ!Box has to offer (and, truly, this type of device can be a godsend in a crowded office). That being, said, I’ve actually had a look a few years ago at its predecessor, the FRITZ!box 7490 and it was a decent performer, so let’s have a closer look at what the new FRITZ!box 7590 can deliver and where does it stand in this competitive market.

fritzbox-7590

Design
The FRITZ!Box routers aren’t known for their attractive design and the red and grey case of the 7490 is proof that AVM hasn’t really focused towards making its devices living-room friendly. The FRITZ!Box 7590 aims to change this perception by giving up the leather-book-cover-spaceship look for a more simple rectangular case which is slightly curved towards the front and, unlike the usual black or grey router, the 7590 is a lot more cheerful, the top surface being covered mostly by a white glossy finish, while the ventilation grill is red (the rest of the case is grey). The device is definitely more elegant than its predecessor, but it still has stubbornly kept that retro look – in a similar manner to the WRT series – and I do appreciate its uniqueness when compared to the other traditional routers, but, just like the WRT3200ACM, some people will love the design, while others will hate it.

fritzbox-7590

After opening the box, you will immediately notice that the FRITZ!box 7590 doesn’t have any external antennas and, instead, it opted to use eight internal antennas. Sure, from the design point of view, this is good news since, similarly to the dedicated WiFi systems (Google WiFi, Netgear Orbi, etcetera), it loses the industrial look, but, from the performance POV, the external antennas are usually more powerful and can be replaced or upgraded.

The size of the modem router is significant and it’s no surprise since it packs so many features, but, at 9.84 x 1.88 x 7.24 inches (almost as big as the Netgear R7000P), it definitely requires some planning before positioning it in the room or office (especially because it can’t be kept vertically). Thankfully, on the bottom side of the FRITZ!Box 7590, there are a couple of holes that can be used to mount the device on the wall. Also here, you can find the info label (contains the default SSID, passkey, the Serial Number and more), as well as four silicone feet. The modem router has a reasonable weight (0.88 lb), so, along with the silicone feet, it won’t budge no matter the amount of connected cables.

fritzbox-7590

Beside the top grill, the manufacturer has also covered the entire bottom surface with ventilation cut-outs, so, this should ensure that the modem router maintains an optimal internal temperature and, while I was testing it, the FRITZ!Box 7590 got a bit warm towards the top and bottom side. As I said in the introduction, the FRITZ!Box 7590 can also work as a mesh node within a mesh network, but, while it adhered to the minimalist design (lacking any external antennas), it has kept the traditional array of LEDs that show the status of the device: from the left, there’s the Power/DSL LED (flashing green indicates that the modem router is powered on and the connection to DSL is either being established or it has been interrupted), WLAN LED (if it’s on, then the WLAN is enabled – underneath the LED, there’s a button for turning the WiFi On or Off), a Fon / DECT LED (if it’s flashing, then there are messages in your voice inbox – dependant on your telephony provider) along with a dedicated button which, when pressed, it automatically searches for cordless handsets (paging call).

Furthermore, there’s a Connect / WPS LED (if it’s flashing slowly, then the WPS process has been activated and, if it’s flashing rapidly, then the WPS process has been aborted) along with a small button that activates the WPS pairing process and, lastly, there’s an Info LED: this LED is customizable, but, by default, it will flash green when the firmware is being updated or the time budget has been reached, it flashes red when the device has encountered an error and it will glow green when the Stick and Surf process is concluded.

fritzbox-7590

On the rear side of the FRITZ!Box 7590, the manufacturer has added a DSL port (compatible with ADSL2, VDSL and with an analogue/ISDN telephone network), two RJ11 FON1 and FON2 ports (suitable for connecting faxes, answering machines or analogue phones), an RJ45 FONSo port (suitable for connecting ISDN handsets or PBXs telephone systems), a Gigabit WAN port (can be used for connecting to a modem or another router, but it can also function as a simple LAN port in case you use the DSL port for Internet access), four Ethernet Gigabit ports, a Power socket and a USB 3.0 port. On the left side of the device, you can find another USB 3.0 port, while on the right side, there’s another FON1 analogue socket.

Hardware
Inside the case, the FRITZ!Box 7590 is equipped with a dual-core Intel® Lantiq AnyWAN™ GRX550 PXB4583 SLLZR SoC clocked at 1GHz, 512 MB of flash storage (Macronix MXIC MX30LF4GE8AB-TI), 512 MB of RAM (NANYA NT5CC256M16EP-DI), a LITELINK CPC5622A Integrated Circuits Telecom Interface, a DIALOG SC14446 A76R101LVP DECT SoC, an XILINK SPARTAN-6 XC6SLX4 TQ144BIV1741 FPGA (Field-Programmable Gate Array IC), a WE-NIDCOM 40799 SOP-IC, five Wurth Electronics 7490200141 1745 Transformers and it also uses the Lantiq (Intel) PXB4583 as a switch chip.

fritzbox-7590

Furthermore, the modem router uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon QCA9985 4×4:4, bgn wireless chip for the 2.4GHz band and the Qualcomm Snapdragon QCA9984 4×4:4, an+ac wireless chip for the 5GHz band. I also noticed some embedded antennas: AIRGAIN N242ODGC2L, N2415DAMR and N2415DAML.
The FRITZ!Box 7590 is an AC2600-class modem router, so it features a maximum theoretical data transfer rate of 1,733 Mbps on the 5GHz and a maximum theoretical data transfer rate of 800 Mbps on the 2.4GHz radio band.
Note: The DSL port can handle 300Mbps VDSL connections by using the 35b supervectoring technology (assuming that the ISP in your area does supports it).

Features and Performance
When I tested the FRITZ!Box 7490, I noticed that it focused more towards the industrial aspect (DECT station, cordless handsets) and, while the wireless performance was decent, the modem router didn’t really invest towards adopting some of the more interesting WAVE 2 features. This has changed with the FRITZ!Box 7590 which, besides having all the awesome features of its predecessor (such as the DECT Eco, HD telephony and more), it also supports the MU-MIMO technology, meaning that multiple clients can be served at the same time, instead of letting them compete for the bandwidth (the catch is that you do need compatible clients, but, thankfully, the MU-MIMO is getting more widespread even if its in its lesser forms: 1×1 and 2×2). There’s also the BeamForming feature that focuses the signal towards the connected clients, therefore maximizing the throughput and increasing the stability of the network, but, probably the most interesting addition is the mesh technology.

fritzbox-7590

Yes, the FRITZ!Box 7590 can work as a mesh hub within a mesh network along with the FRITZ!WLAN Repeater 1750E and the FRITZ!Powerline. Of course, this is a proprietary implementation, so it will only work within the FRITZ!Box environment, but it has the same functionality as can be seen on the Ubiquiti AmpliFi HD or Netgear Orbi: the mesh network creates optimised paths for the data by detecting which nodes are the most suited for the task (depending on the signal strength, number of connected clients and more), it will auto-heal in case a node goes offline (the data gets rerouted to the next available mesh node) and, in case a new node gets added, then the network will automatically create new paths for the data. The connected devices are also dynamically steered towards the most suitable band (so it avoid overcrowding a single band).

At the moment, I have the FRITZ!Box 7590, so I will only be testing its wired and wireless performance (I’ll test the mesh performance and the backhaul traffic handling when I’m able to get my hands on the full kit). To initiate the test, I took two computers, one is a Desktop PC equipped with an ASUS PCE-AC88 which will function as the client, while the other is a high-end laptop that will function as the server. On the first step, I connected both computers to the LAN ports of the FRITZ!Box 7590 and, from the client to the server, I measured an average of 816 Mbps at 5 feet and, at 15 feet, the speed averaged at 722 Mbps; at 30 feet, I measured an average of 361 Mbps. From the server to the client, at 5 feet, I measured an average of 456 Mbps, while at 15 feet, I got around 422 Mbps; at 30 feet, the speed decreased to 280 Mbps. This type of performance is only possible using the PCE-AC88 and because I noticed that the connection wasn’t always stable (the downstream throughput would sometimes fluctuate until I reconnected to the network), I decided to also test the wireless performance using an Intel 2×2 MU-MIMO WiFi card.

fritzbox-7590

fritzbox-7590

This way, I measured an average of 512 Mbps from the client to the server at 5 feet, while at 15 feet, the speed went slightly down to 429 Mbps; at 30 feet, I got 192.6 Mbps. Afterwards, from the server to the client, I measured an average of 363 Mbps and, at 15 feet, I measured around 265 Mbps; at 30 feet, the speed went down to 181 Mbps. It seems that every problem has been solved when the client was connected the laptop (with the Intel WiFi card) and everything was smooth and stable, so I think that the modem router doesn’t play well with some ASUS WiFi cards (I could also reproduce the issues with the PCE-AC68), but hopefully, this slight incompatibility will be fixed with newer firmware updates.

fritzbox-7590

On the next step, I kept the Intel 2×2 setup and I connected the two computers to the 2.4 GHz network. This way, from the client to the server, at around 5 feet, I measured an average of 198 Mbps, while at 15 feet, the speed went up to 202 Mbps; at 30 feet, I got 129 Mbps. From the server to the client, I measured an average of 179 Mbps at 5 feet and, at 15 feet, the speed went only slightly down to 175 Mbps; at 30 feet, I measured around 128 Mbps. Afterwards, I connected both PCs to the LAN ports of the FRITZ!Box 7590 and tested the LAN to LAN connection: from the client to the server, I measured an average of 886 Mbps (TCP) and 887 Mbps (UDP), while from the server to the client, I got 900 Mbps (TCP) and 467 Mbps (UDP).

fritzbox-7590

On the last step, I decided to test the storage performance by connecting a Samsung T5 SSD (256 GB) drive and, while moving a 2.5 GB multimedia folder, I got the following results: 24.8 MBps while reading the folder and 58.2 MBps while writing the folder (the USB Settings were set to Power Mode USB 3.0).

Software and Installation
Almost all modern wireless routers allow its user to configure and monitor their network via an app and only some have kept the web-based interface. The FRITZ!Box 7590 doesn’t have only one, it has several apps available, each with their own purpose, but, before accessing them, you need to first configure the network using the web-based UI (you won’t be able to do it by solely using the app). To do so, you need to connect the modem router to a computer, open a web browser and go to http://fritz.box/.

Mission Workshop releases Radian Travel Pack

  • February 27, 2019

Mission Workshop Radian Travel Pack

San Francisco-based weatherproof bagmaker Mission Workshop has added the Radian Travel Pack to its lineup. The 42-liter Radian is compliant with most carry-on regulations and is designed as an all-in-one travel solution.

Along with its unique minimalist styling, the Radian has some special features that set it apart from other carry-on backpacks. The bag’s main compartment offers both roll-top access along with zippered horizontal access like a traditional flat suitcase. The roll top can be used with or without velcro.

Mission Workshop Radian Travel Pack Roll Top Access

Mission Workshop Radian Travel Pack Flat Zipper Access

The Radian has dedicated 15″ laptop, iPad, and water bottle pockets. There are also zippered interior organizational pockets for smaller items and accessories. The Radian is meant to be a one-bag solution and eliminates the need for any side bag. An internal aluminum frame provides support when used as a backpack. The back harness is adjustable to accommodate different body sizes and an optional waist belt is available. The shoulder straps are also fully concealable behind a zippered panel.

Mission Workshop Radian Travel Pack Laptop Compartment

Mission Workshop Radian Travel Pack Concealed Shoulder Straps

The Radian is also fully compatible with the Arkiv Modular System, which allows additional compartments and accessories to be attached to the bag’s six rails. Options include an extra laptop compartment, more easily-accessible compartments for smaller electronics and accessories, and a shoulder strap.

Mission Workshop Radian Travel Pack Arkiv Modular System

The bag’s main body is constructed of Mission Workshop’s advanced lightweight HT500 textile which has a water-resistant coating and is resistant to abrasion and tears. The Radian Travel Pack is manufactured in the USA in small batches and is available in three colors: black, gray, and black camo. It retails for $585 (pre-orders are currently available with $100 off) which is on the high side for a carry-on backpack, but not outrageous considering its versatility and build quality. The Radian includes Mission Workshop’s Guaranteed Forever warranty, which provides repair or replacement for failures that are a result of defects in materials or workmanship.

For more information and to order the Radian Travel Pack visit missionworkshop.com.

Radian Travel Pack Specs:

External dimensions: Height: 22 inches (Fully compressed)
Height: 26.5 inches (With roll top extended up to max)
Width: 14 inches
Depth: 6 inches
Internal max volume: 2,563 cubic inches (42 Liters)
Weight (empty): 4.69 pounds

The Radian Travel Pack can hold up to a week’s worth of clothing for extended travel:

Mission Workshop Radian Travel Pack Capacity

Top 10 Wireless Chargers for iPhone X, XS, XS Max and XR in 2019

  • February 27, 2019

The last time we presented a list with the top wireless charger for iPhones was back in 2018. However, the prices and offerings from third-party accessory companies have changed since then and we decided that time has come to round up again the top ten best wireless chargers for iPhone X, XS, XS Max and XR that can be found on Amazon in 2019. The rule of thumb in our top ten list is that every wireless charger is of premium quality and that it offers fast charging features. Without any further ado, let’s get into it.

#1 Lightgrey

Lightgrey iPhone wireless charger

We are going to kick things off with the wireless charger for iPhones made by the company Lightgrey. The first thing that stands out about this wireless charger is the fact that it’s really cheap. However, you shouldn’t be fooled by the accessory’s cheap price because it doesn’t reflect the quality of its performances the Lightgrey wireless charger uses Qi technology and smart chip safety features which prevent iPhones from overheating.
Price: $13.99
Purchase it from Amazon

#2 Yootech

Yootech iPhone wireless charger

The folks at Yootech have made a name for themselves in the accessory industry by always releasing high-end devices and pairing them with affordable prices. This is not something that all accessory makes can do and this makes the wireless charger for iPhones from Yootech a great choice. What makes this accessory stand out from the rest is its temperature control technology that can prevent iPhones from overheating and short-circuits from power surges.
Price: $14.99
Purchase it from Amazon

#3 Anker

Anker iPhone wireless charger

Just like Yootech, Anker is renowned for creating powerful accessories for Apple devices. The wireless charger made by Anker features a sleek design that is paired with LED indicators and a non-slip pad. To make thing even better, the wireless charger also ships with a 3 feet micro USB cable that makes it easier for iPhone users to place it in easy to reach positions.
Price: $21.99
Purchase it from Amazon

#4 Belkin

Belkin iPhone wireless charger

Here we have a wireless charger for iPhones made by Belkin. This wireless charger is a bit more expensive than the others, but it makes up for that with fast charging technology that will fill up an iPhone’s battery at 7.5 Watts. This is super fast and people who consider them iPhone power users are going to love the fast charging technology. Not only that, but the folks at Belkin also offer a 3-year warranty program.
Price: $35.00
Purchase it from Amazon

#5 iTechShop

iTechShop iPhone wireless charger

If you are looking for a cheap wireless charger that will get the job done, then you might want to check out the one made by iTechShop. This iPhone accessory has a five-star rating on Amazon and it uses Qi technology just like the previous wireless chargers. The Qi technology means that the wireless charger can be used for a multiple of smartphones and not only iPhones, including Samsung and LG.
Price: $11.99
Purchase it from Amazon

#6 Kuppet

Kuppet iPhone wireless charger

Right from the start, we have to mention that the Kuppet wireless charger for iPhones is not like the ones that we’ve previously presented. This is a 2-in-1 wireless charger that can also support an Apple Watch. Considering that the latest Watch Series 4 is the most popular smartwatch in the world, we think it’s safe to assume that having a wireless charger that can fill up your iPhone and your smartwatch’s battery at the same time will be quite useful.
Price: $39.99
Purchase it from Amazon

#7 3-in-1 Wireless Charger

 3-in-1 Wireless Charger for iPhones

If you are a loyal Apple fan and you own more than one Apple devices, then this 3-in-1 wireless charger might be just what you need. As you can see in the picture featured above, this wireless charger can simultaneously fill up the battery for an iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods. You can forget about having three different cables next to your desk after getting this wireless charger. Also, worth noting is that this accessory uses “charge forward” technology which features and advanced chipset and double coil design that takes the charging speed to the next level.
Price: $35.59
Purchase it from Amazon

#8 Chuanghuike

Chuanghuike iPhone wireless charger

Some people like standard designs, while others like something more flashy. If you fall in the latter category, then the wireless charger made by Chuanghuike is the perfect fit for you. This wireless charger looks amazing and it uses 7.5 Watts fast charging technology that features QC2.0 and QC3.0 adapter. On the downside of things, the fast charging technology makes this accessory compatible with only the following iPhones: XS, XS Max, XR, X, 8 and 8 Plus.
Price: $23.99
Purchase it from Amazon

#9 Amir

Amir iPhone wireless charger

This is another affordable wireless charger that doesn’t focus on offering an incredible design and it relies on its fast charging abilities instead. The Amir wireless charger comes with a fast charging mode that can take any Qi-enabled device’s battery from 0% to 100% in no time. A neat feature that this wireless charger offers is an intelligent LED indicator that shines blue when it’s in standby mode and green when charging.
Price: $16.99
Purchase it from Amazon

#10 Lolypot

Lolypot iPhone wireless charger

Just like the Chuanghuike wireless charger, the one made by Lolypot is for Apple fans who like a flashy design. The cool thing about this wireless charger is not only that it supports multiple Apple devices, but that it comes with a power lamp that can be dimmed. The light is available in multiple colors and it provides 2700K warm white light. The brightness level can be adjusted by sliding the fingers up an down the plastic arm of the wireless charger.
Price: $29.99
Purchase it from Amazon

If there’s something that Apple fans need, then that is a powerful charger. Apple doesn’t pack its iPhones with large batteries, but luckily, here is where wireless chargers come in and save the day. Having a wireless charger placed next to your office will make it seem like your iPhone’s battery will never run out. No matter how much you use the device.