Product Reviews – October 2012

Dry Case
Waterproof iPhone Case
Submerging your $300 phone is probably never a good idea, and I am not 100% sure when anyone would need to. That being said, if the beach isn’t quite thrilling enough for you and you need to watch some cat videos on Youtube, this product will be perfect for you. They make cases that fit most smartphones and even one for iPads. The cases aren’t the most aesthetically pleasing—­they look a bit like industrial Ziploc bags. It is, however, a very practical design. You just slide the phone in, seal it up and pump the air out. It even has a waterproof headphone jack. I was pretty cautious when it came to testing (using paper first to make sure it worked), but it worked fine. The touchscreen works perfectly through the plastic, and it keeps water out. My only real criticism is the inability to use the volume or sleep buttons through the plastic. –Cody Hudson

Liberty Bottle Works
The Kids Collection
Liberty Bottle Works make metal bottles from recycled products that are BPA free. In the age of green living, reusable water bottles are a must-have. Liberty Bottle Works recently came out with a kids collection, which features cute drawings on each bottle. With 19 different designs to choose from, your little human is sure to be happy. Not to mention, the kids’ water bottle comes complete with their unique 1/4 turn on/off design, so you know when the top is sealed tightly, as well as the handy flip top that is connected to a straw. In under a second, that mini-you could be sippin’ away on fresh, BPA free water. I did notice, however, that when the bottle was dropped or even slightly tossed, the straw would detach itself, and I had to open it up to reconnect it on the inside. There was also a small dent in the bottom of the bottle after dropping it, while full, onto the sidewalk, which kids are wont to do. For the older child who doesn’t throw things anymore, this bottle could be perfect—but for the 7-and-under, hopefully the bottle is attached to their body somehow, otherwise they might throw a tantrum when they realize their straw isn’t connected anymore, and then the cute monkey gets a dent in his face. Overall, Liberty Bottle Works are perfect for adults, but it might take some time to create a water bottle that a 5-year-old cannot destroy. –Karamea Puriri

Power Practical
PowerPot V
Local engineers at Power Practical have developed an environmentally conscious cooking device/electricity generator, the PowerPot V, which was recently funded through Kickstarter. Essentially, the PowerPot line features thermoelectric generators in the form of a cooking pot with the ability to send an electric current to a USB port that will charge an array of electronic devices. Aside from charging your iPod with the lights off while you cook a bowl of ramen on the stove (I enjoy the simple pleasures, fuck you), the PowerPot V is an excellent accessory for your camping trip, as it is small, lightweight, durable and runs solely off of heat easily procured with a fire. One question I initially had was, “Why would you want to charge an electronic device while you’re camping, away from cities and technology?” As I opened the packaging and pulled out a five-bulb, LED light with a USB connector, it clicked: Think about the minor electronic conveniences that make camping easier—like flashlights—where batteries can often cause a hindrance with their limited capacity to provide power. With a USB light, its relationship to your dark cookout in the desert is symbiotic, and the only resources you realistically have to worry about are dead wood and lighter fluid. Also … what if your GPS device runs out of power? The 5-watt PowerPot V supports most USB devices, and the 10-watt PowerPot X can support technology like iPads. Visit their site for more information and products, and gear up for the holiday season early! –Alexander Ortega