Last month, I tried to squeeze thousands of displays at CES into just a couple days. That meant a lot of skimming past the same old stuff and stopping, occasionally, for the unique and noteworthy. Usually, it was some flashy thing with lasers that did the trick, but in one instance, it was the genius of simplicity. When I saw Danny and Lazy-Hands, I stopped for a closer look.
The Lazy-Hands Idea
The funny thing is that Lazy-Hands isn’t an entirely new idea. I’ve seen several iPad cases that have a strap of some sort built in, but they were all cases and that was their selling point, the strap. What about the other features of other cases out there like screen protection and bluetooth keyboards? What if I want the strap without the case? What if I don’t have one of the top-selling devices people always make accessories for? Lazy-Hands stepped back from all the over-engineering (and the extra cost that comes with it) and offered up a simple and affordable solution with minimal materials and an easy design. Watch the quick video to see what I mean.
I have an iPad 2 and it’s certainly portable, but you notice the weight after holding it for an hour. I ride in a van-pool to the office five days a week and often use the commute to catch up on my reading. Lazy-Hands Grip for Tablets was made for this. When Danny said he’d send out samples, I was sure this would be a game-changer for me. It is, but only as much as it can be. I love the protection my case provides, so instead of applying the Lazy-Hands velcro swatch to my iPad directly, I applied it to my case. It works great, but it’s still tiresome to hold after a while just because of the weight. To be fair, this is not the fault of Lazy-Hands. It did what it was intended to do, and in my case, that meant increasing the comfort time for holding my iPad from about 15 minutes to a little over an hour.
Like my iPad, I really prefer to keep a case on my iPhone, so I attached the Lazy-Hands Grip for iPhones version to my hard case and tried it on for a week. My first concern was getting my phone in and out of my pocket. Surprisingly, that concern went away as I used it all week and allowed me to focus on the advantages of this product. Although decreasing the drop-factor of my phone was not the most important feature for me, I found that I began to naturally rely on Lazy-Hands to defy gravity for me while I loosely let the phone lean in my hand. What I most wanted from Lazy-Hands was my thumb back. The iPhone 5, in all it’s tall glory, made reaching every inch of the screen with my thumb nearly impossible when holding the phone with the same hand. For the record, my hands aren’t tiny. It takes a little getting used to, but now I can easily navigate every inch of the screen with my thumb while my other hand is free for, say, mocha. This was well received.
Lazy-Hands isn’t a curved TV or coffee pot that tweets it’s status. It’s a product whose allure is a combination of it’s simplicity, usefulness, and low cost to the consumer. The value of it is doubled when you realize that the Grips for iPad comes with two Grips and two adhesive sheets. The Grip for Tables / iPads runs $17.99, while the Grip for iPhones / Smartphones is only $8.99. If you have something in between, they offer the $15.99 Grips for iPad Minis, Kindles, Nooks, and other small tablets and e-readers. The product is worth the price and it works just as expected.
Want One? Here You Go
Well, OK. We can’t give one away to everyone. Luckily, though, our review package came with a bunch of Lazy-Hands product, so there’s extras to use in another giveaway. If you’re a regular reader, you know the drill. For the uninitiated, here’s how it works. Just select one of the entry options below and complete the instructions to earn your entries. You know you’ve done it right when your number of earned entries increases. I’ll let the giveaway’s random number robot magic thing select some winners who will be notified by email.
The Nokia Lumia is designed to attract new fans to the Windows Phone ecosystem, and one of its key targets is gamers.
2011 has been the year when smartphone gamers have been able to pick from a wide selection of large-screened devices to make it easier to play games in greater detail in sharp focus. As a Windows Phone, the Nokia Lumia also has greater integration with Microsoft products; Xbox Live support makes it easier for gamers to pick up a game on their console and then their phone, or to check their status remotely when away from their Xbox.
Two of the most popular games so far for the device are Jet Car Stunts and Burn the Rope.
Jet car Stunts comes with 3D graphics, perfectly utilizing the AMOLED screen with 800 x 480 pixels and the ClearBlack technology reducing reflection glare. With a fast 1.4 GHz processor and 512 MB of memory, the device is more than capable of keeping gameplay speedy.
The 3D graphic accelerator is put to good use as well in Jet Car Stunts. With colourful tracks, which increase in difficulty the more your progress riders jump through hoops, leap over divides and ramps using 3D graphics to enhance gameplay and the experience. The handset is held like a steering wheel so users tips and turn to navigate the tracks. To speed up or slow down there are large buttons on the screen that only needs users to move their thumbs while playing. The game is available at the Windows Phone Marketplace for $2.99
Burn The Rope again utilizes the Lumia’s fast processor to incorporate movement of the device into gameplay. The aim of the game is to set fire to a rope and then twist and turn the phone to guide the flame until the rope has burnt away. The flame has to be directed upwards so while it may sound simple the phone needs to be tilted to make sure the flame is heading the right way, or it will burn out. The path of the flame gets faster and more intricate as users pass through the different levels. The game is available from the Marketplace for $2.99.
The speedy processor and screen resolution, along with the 3D capability means the Lumia 800 has a real potential for the gaming market. The new device marks the first delivered in the new partnership between Nokia and Microsoft, suggesting a desire to make a greater splash in the smartphone market. Whereas the App Store and the Android marketplace have made a big splash in encouraging gamers to turn off their console and instead play on their smartphone, Windows Phone has not had a similar appeal. Some critics blame this on a limited number of apps in the Windows Phone Marketplace but it could be more to do with a focus on the Xbox as one of the main Microsoft gadgets on the market. The interactivity and integration between the Nokia and the Xbox suggests this is definitely a target market for the Windows Phone. Their existing dominance in the gaming market, and the appeal they already garner amongst gaming fans, suggests Apple and Android may well be looking over their shoulder.
Simon writes on behalf of Best Mobile Contracts, the UK’s leading mobile phone comparison website, where you can find the cheapest mobile phone contracts for the new Nokia Lumia.
I have a wallet filled with stuff. It’s packed full with probably 7 cards, some business cards, a ton of receipts, insurance information, a couple coupons, and sometimes actual money – but usually not. Of all these things, I usually only use a couple cards, so having a The Callet seemed like a pretty good idea.
What is The Callet?
The Callet is the love child of a wallet and a phone case. It protects your phone like many phone cases, but it includes a feature that you don’t see in other phone cases. On the back of this case, there are two pockets for credit cards and the like. The idea is to provide the convenience of an iPhone case with features that replace the most basic need of the common wallet. I mentioned above that I don’t usually have cash in my wallet, and I think that may be more and more common in a society where we’re all in the habit of using credit or reaching for our debit card.
The Callet is available in pink, blue, black, and white for most iPhone and Blackberry devices. It’s also cheaper than a lot of iPhone cases I’ve reviewed, coming in at $19.95
My Wallet-Free Week
OK, ok. I actually carried my wallet, too, but I spent a week with this case around my phone and mostly ignored my wallet. In that time, I noticed a few things.
The Callet mostly nailed it with the two primary functions it was created for. It kept my phone protected and it served as a wallet. The unique feature as a wallet was perfect for holding my debit card and driver’s license, one in each card pocket. I did try to squeeze two cards into one of the card pockets and they fit, but it was a really tight fit. When I was out, I adjusted pretty quickly to pulling out my phone rather than my wallet to pay the bill at restaurants we went to. There was no problem at all with the intended features of this case.
While The Callet handled the basics well, it leaves room for at least one thing I’d like to see. Some people carry cash at all times or at least most of the time. The Callet leaves these people to find their own solution for cash. Now, I’m not sure I want my cash visible on the back of my phone every time I make a call in public, but the option might be nice. I would have also liked space for a third card, but this case had to be a little thick for two cards as it is, so perhaps they were right to stop there.
In the end, I switched back to my old case. The Callet is great, but I often have my phone out in a restaurant in case a server goes down and having my ID and debit card in there makes me more nervous about someone swiping it. That may just be me, though. In general, it does what it should and for about 20 bucks, the price is just right. I would pay more for a hard case, though.