Gadgets

Two gadgets in one

By
From the August 2014 issue of Columbus CEO

Asus PadFone X
Asus.com
$199 (with AT&T contract) 

Hard to believe, but it has only been a little over four years that we’ve been toting around tablets. Apple released the first iPad in April 2010, which got the world started down the road of iOS, Android, Windows and now Tizen tablet computers.

These days most of us are in the legion who own a laptop (make that an ultra-portable laptop), a tablet and a smartphone. Some of us have been known to carry one, usually two or all three, depending on the occasion, despite our only having two hands.

AT&T plans to ride to the rescue with the Asus PadFone X (available for $199 with a two-year contract)—an Android tablet/smartphone combination that can be carried as a single device. This is actually Asus’s second attempt at a convergent phone/tablet device. Early in 2012, they released a PadFone that was more of a netbook variety.

The PadFone X features a 5-inch HD LTE, 5.3-ounce smartphone that functions as a standalone cell phone or can be docked into a 9-inch HD screen to power a tablet which uses the smartphone as its brain. The combo tips the scales at nearly a pound and a half.

This gadget offers several benefits. One AT&T data plan powers both the smartphone and the tablet. Also, the battery in the tablet dock charges the smartphone to extend its battery life. At $199, the price is very cheap for both a phone and tablet, but keep in mind, the tablet is really nothing more than a blank screen without the smartphone in its dock.

Whether used as a tablet or a smartphone, the onboard camera boasts 13-megapixels (there is also a 2-megapixel front camera) and boosts light sensitivity up to 400 percent for night photos. At the heart of the product is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800, 2.3GHz, quad-core processor.

If the convenience of the Asus PadFone X makes sense to you, this is a well-priced package.

Prong PWR
iPhone 5/5s Case
$65 (preorder); $80
prong.com

If you decide to stick with your iPhone and iPad rather than going the combo route, an inventive company offers a new battery case for your iPhone that basically insures you won’t run out of juice. Prong’s PWR Case for the iPhone 5 and 5s has a two-prong retractable plug built into an iPhone case. Plug it into the wall and get a super-fast charge of the case in minutes. Then, slide in your phone for an additional power source while on the go. This gadget comes in black, white and a pair of two-tone colors.

Hear Doggy!
quakerpetgroup.com

I have had dogs all of my life. These dogs have always had cloth chew toys. For decades I’ve judged these toys by the few hours it took my pooches to rip them into little more than plastic squeakers and shredded threads. That is, until the Quaker Pet Group introduced Hear Doggy! toys.

Hear Doggy! toys have a squeak only your dog can hear. Humans hear sounds that are 0-20KHz, while dogs can hear sounds at higher frequencies up to 45KHz. Hear Doggy! squeakers are tuned to 24-28 KHz.

I can’t really attest to whether their self-proclaimed “chew guard technology” extended the life of the green Martian toy I recently bought, but the squeaker inside was quite a surprise. I love this dog toy as much as my Corgi, Chip. The mess is still the same, but the dog’s fun is much quieter these days.