May 2015 Product Reviews

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The Reservoir Dual USB Battery

Torch Gloves
The majority of touch screen gloves on the market are good in theory but poor in execution. You either have great sensitivity but no warmth (defeating the purpose of a glove), or complete insulation with little-to-no touch. 180s has produced several gloves in the past couple years, looking to find a balance between both. The “Torch” line of gloves is a simplistic black/ gray design that fits wonderfully and keeps the hands perfectly warm in even the most bitter of temperatures. However, the touch screen capabilities are hit-and-miss. There are times where a simple poke with my index finger will get me to where I want to go, but then there are moments where it won’t recognize a swipe several times in a row, or you need to throw a little force behind the tap. The bonus is the LED lights built into both gloves above the index fingers, which make for decent flashlights at short-range or blinking signal lights from afar. Ultimately, they’re a great pair of gloves, but test the pair you’re looking at before you purchase. –Gavin Sheehan

Dark Energy
The Reservoir Dual USB Battery
Entering the marketplace of rechargeable battery packs, Dark Energy offers a small line of designs starting with this sleek creation called The Reservoir. The case has a smooth but hard outer shell to protect from drops, along with a triple blue light system to indicate how charged it is. The bonus to this design is that you can charge a phone and a tablet both at the same time—provided both of them use USB 2.0 connections—and still be hooked into the wall charging the pack itself. The awkward side to the pack is that it’s designed to look, feel and weigh the same as most smart phones—which is a great design if you’re used to carrying around a secondary phone with the one you normally have. If not, there’s definitely going to be moments where you’re thrown off mentally. Overall, it is a fantastic design that will charge a phone 3-times over, with a charge that will last just over a year—a must have! –Gavin Sheehan

Ultimate Ears 5 Pro
Ultimate Ears have become one of the best in-ear reference monitor companies, offering custom-molded earpieces to anyone needing all the audio and none of the background. The “5 Pro” series was created with a dual-frequency design, specifically created with an emphasis on vocals in mind. Whether producing or creating, this pair focuses on singing/ speaking tracks and highlights them beyond any musical or other effects happening behind them. The upside: You’re going to hear everything a person speaks or sings in crystal-clear quality, to where you can pick out the key they’re singing in. The downside: You’re going to hear very clearly how your favorite shows and songs are produced. In one particular podcast, I could hear every time they adjusted someone’s level just by the white noise in the background. That’s beyond awesome quality for any earbud, but the result may drive some audiophiles away from their favorite shows. Aside from getting a mold created at an ear doctor, the price tag for a pair is around $600. The cost may spook some people away, but considering how well this kind of product can help singers, as well as anyone who does audio recordings or performances for a living, it is well worth the cost. –Gavin Sheehan

New Metro Design
VIV Pocket Bottle
Well, wouldn’t it be swell if there were some vessel that could capture up fresh, clean water from taps right here in ’Murica and allow you to carry it with you from place to place? New Metro Design’s Pocket Bottle is just this—and it’s soft and squishy and comes in bold neon colors, too. On the technical side, it’s made with FDA approved, BPA-free silicon, which allows you to roll the bottle up to a size that’ll fit in your pocket—hence the name. The Pocket Bottle holds water terrifically, but doesn’t have any crazy features—it’s a water bottle, plain and simple. When I took the sleek, squishy thing for a hike up Millcreek Canyon, the silicon picked up some dirt, but, being silicon, I knew that it wouldn’t ever shatter like my yuppie friends’ Mason jars. It also was clear of any trace of the super-staining carrot-beet-ginger juice concoction that I submitted it to after only a quick wash. If you’re still drinking water out of disposable plastic bottles, make a commitment to reusable, environmentally-friendly bottles such as the Pocket Bottle. –Christian Schultz