Product Reviews – October 2010

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R2-D2 Flash Drive
It’s about time that rad customs make it back into our everyday technological lives. This is not a puff piece—the Mimobot crew has done it true. Yeah, it’s just an ordinary everyday thing that we use for transferring files and such, but the fact that you can pick and choose the proper item for your style is amazing. “Awesome this product is,” as Yoda would say. Speaking of Yoda, he was just added to the Star Wars series of flash drives, along with Dr. Knowledgeus in another product line and Hello Kitty in yet another. It’s a party in the digital world, and now you can flaunt your digital friends as you use them for music sharing, work files and anything else. –Adam Dorobiala

RockBoom Keychain Speaker Ball
We tech-heads love our gadgetry. What runs deeper than our love of gadgetry is our love for accessories for said gadgets. The Rockboom is an amplification accessory intended for cell phones, mp3 players and any item that may require an audio boost. The device‘s primary intention is to serve as a small speaker, although it should be noted that this mini brightly colored speaker ball may also be used as a keychain. Any item whose secondary purpose is as bogus as a keychain is subconsciously sending the consumer the wrong message. The control of the device is minimal—no volume, no speaker setting, nothing except for a temperamental on-and-off button and a power-charging USB cord. When the Rockboom is played next to the speaker on my iPhone 4, it dwarfs in tonal range. I have more control and amplification over sound with my smartphone and laptop stock speakers, both of which are way more convenient than dragging around this device. Overall, it seems that technology surpassed this product a long, long time ago, and this is just another accessory I don’t need. –Trixie Novva

Specialist Headset
I was pretty excited when these headphones showed up on my desk. I figured reviewing them would be at least more fun than listening to the glut of mediocre-to-crappy promo CDs that I usually encounter, but alas, I was wrong. These headphones aren’t super flashy, featuring a simple black and silver design with some comfortably padded material around the earpieces and on top of the headband. A microphone can be deployed from the left headphone, and a dial on the right headphone allows you to control volume. Pretty cool so far, right? Well, not really. Nox didn’t include the cable that allows the user to connect these to a video game console, which isn’t a huge deal, but since they’re marketing them as gaming headphones, it seems like a dumb oversight. If the headphones sounded good and worked properly, maybe I would’ve splurged and bought the $20 adapter, but the sound quality is nothing special, and the cable on these motherfuckers broke after one day of use.  If you’re gonna spend $80 on something that only lasts for a day, I can think of many things more deserving of your cash than these headphones.  –Ricky Vigil

Keen Whisper
These shoes arrived a few days before I was set to go on a river trip on the San Juan. The trip was a first for me, as were the shoes. In the past, my idea of “water shoes” was a pair of beat up Vans or Converse. Needless to say, these Keens blew me away with their functionality and versatility. The first day on the river, one of our group members broke a flip-flop and ended up duct-taping the thing to his foot. Someone else smashed their toes against a rock when their shoe slid out. My toes stayed in tact, and due to the quick-draw elastic cord lace, I never felt like I was in danger of losing a shoe to the river gods. They worked great out of water, too. On the second day of our river expedition, we hiked up some fairly slick red rocks. These Keens did a great job of gripping the rocks so I never felt like I was in danger of eating shit down the side of the canyon. They’ve also been a lifesaver on days spent floating down the Weber River, where lost shoes are too common an occurrence. If you’re still rocking flops or beat-up canvas shoes for your river outings like I was, it’s time to make an upgrade. These are a great place to start. –Jeanette D. Moses

Pedal Juice
Pedal Juice is a rechargeable 9v power supply that can be used to power guitar/effects pedals, drum machines, multi-FX units and even recording devices.  This thing is seriously cool!  It has two outputs, can be recharged multiple times and can power a single low-draw pedal (like an overdrive) for up to 50 hours.  You can also chain multiple pedals together and run a mini-amp at the same time, although the more things you run at once, the less time you get per charge. Still, there is enough juice in here to jam for at least 3 hours while running 6 pedals, an amp and even record at the same time.  I’ve been playing with this thing off and on for the past month or so, and I still haven’t had to re-charge it.  Can you say “Goblin Valley road trip?” –Ryan Fedor

Mimobots Sanyo Pedal Juice Nox Specialist Headset