Tangled earbud wires is a frustration you’ve probably dealt with many times. I was always surprised at how easily small wires would become tangled around other things in my backpack. One of the ways I dealt with this was to store them in an empty prescription bottle. This method worked very well but it did draw the odd question or stare once in a while.
To avoid these relatively minor issues I ordered a couple of Case Star Clamshell Earbud Cases from Amazon, which only cost about $7 each. I don’t have any complaints – they serve their intended functions quite well.
Updated 07/06/2014: There isn’t much to state about these other than the fact that they’ve held up just fine and they’ve also helped preserve the condition of my earbuds.
I didn’t find any Black Friday deals that interested me. We just don’t care to fight the crowds for mediocre sales (or cheap equipment being sold at what I consider to be the most appropriate price). In the end, we didn’t hit up any stores until after 6 pm that Friday.
While going through Wal-Mart I did find one item that I ended up purchasing, though it was in the regular clearance isle. At a reduced price was an (unopened) iPhone 4 PowerMat Wireless Charging System. I’ve been considering the PowerMat system for a while but the prices usually put me off. I wasn’t going to assume it was a deal just because it was marked as a clearance item so I whipped out the iPhone and checked the current price on Amazon. The Amazon price was about $8 higher. The Wal-Mart price was $30, which seemed reasonable so I bought it.
Several weeks ago my wife gave me a $25 gift certificate for ThinkGeek. It took me a while to decide what to buy using the gift certificate. Eventually, I decided to get a Bluetooth Sliding Keyboard Case for iPhone, which cost about $35 before shipping. I’ve never been especially happy with the iPhone on-screen keyboard. It’s not terrible but I thought a physical keyboard might be more useful for writing longer e-mails or notes.
Unfortunately, I haven’t used it since the first week after it arrived. In the end it just isn’t as convenient as I was expecting. It’s lacking two features that I think might have made it useful. First, the keyboard (at least on this version) isn’t backlit so it’s useless in low lighting conditions. The other reason, which might have made it more useful in the dark, is the lack of any kind of bumps or other markers on certain keys that would provide a form of touch-typing. Instead, I spent the entire time looking at the keyboard while typing because all of the keys feel the same.
The product certainly works as expected, but it doesn’t have enough features to make it more convenient to use than the on-screen keyboard. Quite frankly, I would have been more satisfied if I had purchased something else from ThinkGeek.
Updated 11/18/2012: I tried using this product again several months ago but it just isn’t practical.
Updated 12/10/2012: I sold it in a yard sale for a few bucks.
Since my obstructive sleep apnea is severe I must take my CPAP with me any time that I travel. Otherwise, I’ll feel terrible the next morning. Unfortunately, the device came with a soft case that doesn’t provide the device, and more importantly the mask and hose, any protection from being damaged.
This week I decided to purchase a hard shell case that would offer more protection. I didn’t want to have to keep asking others to be careful about putting their luggage on top of the CPAP case. It wouldn’t take much to break the mask or hose (though the device itself would probably fine).
The Short Version: It’s worth exactly what you pay for it. If you really need a reliable, high-capacity battery case that’s worth the inconvenience of carrying a brick then I don’t recommend this case. Mine has sat unused on a shelf for months. I may just charge it up once a month for emergency use at home. It does a good job of maintaining a charge when unused for a long period of time but unfortunately I started having a problem with the case randomly stop charging and then restart, even when it was sitting on a flat surface. I suspect the dock connector is failing, which is similar to problems others have mentioned in product reviews for this device.
My iPhone 4 battery still works well but I have noticed that it doesn’t last quite as long as it used to, especially if I’m using it for power-hungry tasks such as playing a game or browsing the Web. I think I’ve treated the battery well by making it a habit to not leave it on the charger all night and instead only plug it in until it reaches 100%.
This week I started browsing iPhone battery cases. I perused the reviews for several, but I couldn’t make up my mind. The battery performance drop wasn’t enough to justify spending $60-$80.