Gadgets: Noise-isolating ear buds have cord control
The white rubber ear buds come with the ever-important "Works With iPhone" and "Made for iPod" certification but are not limited to them.
What makes the headphones stand out is Scosche's integrated tapLINE control technology. I found this to be a great feature for with my iPod, allowing me to pause or play any selection using cord control and not having to access the device.
Other functions accessible on the cord include volume adjustment, scrolling playlists and even a microphone to answer calls remotely when using an iPhone.
The headphones are also compatible with the new iPhone 3GS' Voice Control Technology. This allows users to say a phone number or contact name and have the device place the call hands-free.
When listening to music, voice tracks can also be spoken out to play a specific tune.
While the new earphones are loaded with features, probably one of the most important aspects is that they sound great. You're not getting a product that sounds like a live concert in your ear or features noise cancelling technology to block out the world.
This is a reasonable priced set of headphones packed with features and crystal-clear sound.
A cosmetic feature allows the earphones to have the appearance customized with six interchangeable color caps. While these have no effect on the performance, they do give it a different look based on what color is chosen for instant personalization.
Details: scosche.com, $49.
Speaking of the iPod family, they are pretty much useless when out of power.
The new Charging Dock with Mini Battery Pack for iPhone and iPod from Kensington is a great choice for an all-in-one solution to keep the devices running.
Charging can be done via a computers USB port or from my preference -- a standard wall outlet.
The device has several functions since it can recharge the iPhone or iPod itself, but also includes a Mini Battery Pack, which can be charged and stored on dock.
This gives the portable players a battery backup when you are away from a charging station. With the extra battery users can expect extra hours of play time on both music video and talk time when using the iPhone. This can vary from user to user depending on the device and how old it is.
Either the iPhone or iPod along with the extra battery can be charged at the same time since the dock has charging ports for both. A detachable USB cable for charging and syncing is included.
Details: kensington.com, $69.99
Logitech's new Anywhere Mouse MX solves a never-ending problem of having it work well on a variety of different desktop surfaces.
The new mouse has worked flawlessly for me many types of surfaces including glass, where up to this point I never found a mouse that worked right.
What makes it work so well is the Logitech Darkfield Laser Tracking, which gives the user outstanding control on any surface at least 4 mm thick.
Having a naturally comfortable grip helps a great deal. To get it going there is no software needed; just plug the leave-in Logitech Unifying receiver into a USB adapter on the computers USB port and mouse away.
The receiver is so small that you can just leave it there if you don't need the USB port for something else.
When it is removed from the computer just remove the bottom cover of the mouse itself and you'll find a nicely place slot to store it. I found this to be a great feature not only for storage but to prevent the tiny item from getting lost.
Other built-in functions include a scrolling wheel, a separate middle click/app switcher button along with back and forward thumb buttons.
Users of both Mac and PC systems can operate the unit, which are powered by two AA batteries.
Details: logitech.com, $79.99
(c) 2009, Gregg Ellman.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.