Product Reviews 4/13

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Arnette Sunglasses
Dropout/Witch Doctor
I bumped into a friend who complimented me on my new sunglasses, a pair of aqua Arnette Dropouts with grey lenses, which sparked a conversation in which we agreed on the following personal eyewear rules: 1) We can’t wear $5 sunglasses from the gas station. 2) Seeing the world through high-quality, UV protected lenses is important to us. 3) “Expensive” sunglasses are worth every penny. 4) High-quality eyewear doesn’t get lost as often as cheap eyewear. Arnette sunglasses meet these standards, and are not tawdry whatsoever. The next day, I decided to try out another style from Arnette’s new eyewear line, the Witch Doctor. These shades have more of a square shape, as opposed to the square-yet-rounded edges of the Dropouts. Both designs are available in several flashy colors, and I love my Dropouts in bright aqua with a cracked pattern on top. A girl needs variety to accommodate her wardrobe, though, and I was happy to have the Witch Doctors in basic black with a high-gloss coating and grey lenses. These witchy shades look high-fashion when paired with red lipstick and hair pulled back. This is why I love the new line of sunglasses coming out of Arnette: They’re high-quality, fashionable sunglasses that I can wear on the street or the mountain. Arnette’s pride in craftsmanship and design shows, as each pair is made in Italy. The Dropout and the Witch Doctor include a set of interchangeable temples, in case I want to switch up the look of my sunnies or trade temples with a friend while drunk at the bar. –Augusta Adams

Braven 650
The Braven 650 instantly became my new favorite way to listen to music. Although the Braven doesn’t have as much bass as I was hoping for, it provides a clear, crisp sound at any volume level. However, the Braven is not just a speaker: It also charges your phone and can be daisy-chained with another speaker to up your listening pleasure—I even used it as a mini amp to prepare for my first DJ night a few weeks ago. The button features make listening a breeze. You can hold down the volume buttons to skip a song, and press the phone button to pause/play songs. You can also press the phone button (and utilize the built-in noise-canceling microphone) to answer incoming calls. The slim design and carrying bag make it easy to take on the go. I took my new little friend on a recent road trip, and it was the perfect sound system to have in the hotel room. The 20-hour battery life is amazing. I listened to music for almost two weeks before I had to charge it again. Did I mention Braven is a local company, based out of Provo? I heart local! Braven offers five different styles of speakers, including a waterproof, outdoor speaker. With a price range of $120 to $190, depending on the features you prefer, the Braven is fairly priced compared to similar wireless speakers, and definitely worth it. –Karamea Puriri

Goal Zero
Guide 10 Plus Adventure Kit
Never before has the power of the sun been so easy to harness. This compact solar panel and battery charger enables adventurers of all types to capture the sun’s energy to power electronic devices and save the planet. Bluffdale, Utah–based Goal Zero has a mission to provide the outdoor world with simple, efficient devices to keep people off the grid. The kit includes the renowned Nomad 7 foldable solar panel, Guide 10 battery charger with four AAA batteries, and multiple accessory cables for different applications. The adventure kit enables users to charge small devices like smart phones in one hour. It can also boost your tablet, GPS or camera battery life. The Guide 10 even has a small LED that will run for 150 hours on a single charge. A backup USB cable is included to charge the battery pack when the clouds are too thick. Traveling with the compact kit is great since it only takes up about as much room as a notebook. The zippered mesh pocket on the back holds all accessories and has enough room for a few other items. It has saved my electronics in a pinch and makes me feel good that I am using alternative energy. Goal Zero also has strong initiatives in developing countries to proliferate sustainable power and spearhead humanitarian efforts during disaster relief situations. –Sean Zimmerman-Wall

Kaptur 270
Of all the glorified hunks of plastic in this world, the Kaptur 270, made by Salt Lake company Xotovo, is the one you won’t realize you needed until you watch two hours worth of “Harlem Shake” videos on YouTube. When I ripped this baby out of its package, it was merely to provide a stand for my iPhone so I could do some hands-free Skype sessions with the fam, but now it’s opened me up to a whole new level of digital prostitution. After popping your iPhone out of its case, just slide it into one side of the Kaptur 270, move it along its 270-degree axis to get the angle you want, press record, and start your sex-cam session! The Kaptur 270 even has a thread so you can attach it to a tripod, for those aspiring to enter the “homemade” category on PornHub. I will warn you, however, that when I say “hunk of plastic,” I mean it. I broke the kickstand off almost immediately from pushing it out too far, and if this were left on the floor, even a bare foot would smash it to pieces. The $40 they want for this is pretty ridiculous—I wouldn’t spend more than $10, and that’s just because a roll of tape and a used book are around $5, and I’d be saving $5 worth of time. So, if you can find it somewhere cheap, the Kaptur 270 will bring a new “steadiness” to iPhone creations, but if you don’t have Kim Kardashian’s ass, it’s probably not worth it. –Esther Meroño

Smart Touch Running Gloves
I must have been a chain smoker when I was a toddler and blacked it out, because, even well into spring, the circulation in my hands is awful, as they are always cold and on the precipice of pain in comparison to the rest of my body—that is, up until I got my Zensah Smart Touch Running Gloves. Like my Polarmax base layers, these gloves provide a second layer of insulated skin for my hands, but with the added bonus of being able to operate my iPhone: The tips of the thumb, index and bird fingers are made of a silvery, smooth fabric that emulates the fleshy contact of real fingers, which came in handy when I was at a light on my bicycle in the snow and wanted to switch to All Pigs Must Die from Off With Their Heads when the slow song came around, to keep my momentum. One criticism I have is that the glove fits fine on my fingers, but the thumb portion is too long for my thumb, which would be fine, except it limits the efficiency of smart-phone use. This, however, might be because I have carny hands (I don’t think I smell like cabbage, though). Another great feature that these gloves have are the suede-like backs of the thumbs, which serve as great pre-snot wipers. I clip these bad boys together with their buckles so they don’t get lost in my abysmal backpack, and the grip on the palms is great for gripping my handlebars or stacking SLUG Mags. –Alexander Ortega