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Tech Savvy: Time for a review

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Hey there, Tech Savvy fans! This week I wanted to get caught up on a couple things that I’ve been testing out for you the past couple weeks. We are fortunate that we’ve been able to have companies reach out to us and we can get a “sneak peek” at some of the cool things that they are working on. This week we wanted to take a look at two of them: the Eton Corp. BoostTurbine 2000 and the Easy-Dok CR-34.

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Gimme a Boost!

In late October of 2012, the Eton Corporation (www.shopetoncorp.com), already a leader in green-powered consumer products, released two new products in their Boost Line with the BoostTurbine 1000 and the BoostTurbine 2000. Both are essentially recharger packs for cellphones, tablets and so on and we had a chance to look at the 2000 and put it through a series of tests.

In a nutshell the 1000 and 2000 indicate the amount of mAh that the charger holds and will give you an indication of the size and power you can get out of them. Each has a USB port that you can plug any power adapter in, and there is also a micro-USB port that you can in turn charge the BoostTurbine with. All fine and dandy here — we have seen other chargers that operate in the same way. But here’s what makes the BoostTurbine stand out from the others — while other rechargers rely on the ability to plug them into an existing electrical source, the BoostTurbine also has a built in hand-crank generator that allows you to recharge your BoostTurbine even if you can’t plug it in.

Bam, power solution solved. You are no longer tied to your electrical source.

So, how does it work? Basically the turbine generates enough power that for every minute of hard cranking you get about 10 minutes of charge. Because the generator is also your power pack it can store the energy until you need it, meaning you can recharge this over time and only need to use it when you need it.

How did the BoostTurbine 2000 stack up to our tests? Pretty darn good. We tried it on a number of devices including a Motorola Droid 3, iPhone 5, iPhone 4s, HTC Droid DNA and other devices, too. The only phone we had an issue with was the Droid 3, which was unfortunate but it did work flawlessly on all the other devices. The BoostTurbine charged via electrical connection in a couple hours and when used to recharge the devices we saw a range of about a 60-80 percent to total recharge, which is in line with the size of the batteries and the 2000 mAh capabilities of the BoostTurbine.

Recharging the BoostTurbine via the crank, while effective, did prove to be a bit of a workout. It was definitely a case where if I had the option to hand-crank or plug it in, I’d just plug it in.

However, that does bring me to one of my big points. We reached out to Eton about this product because of its abilities away from an electrical source. For all who camp, kayak, canoe, spend time in an ice-fishing house, this is the perfect option to recharge your devices all day. Imagine a kayaking trip; throw your cell phone and the BoostTurbine 2000 in your pack and you can feel at ease that if you need it, you have it. Spending a night on the ice to get the big one? Keep your BoostTurbine 2000 handy to make sure you have enough power to snap a picture of that prize fish.

In addition to the BoostTurbine series, Eton also has a more traditional line of rechargers in their BoostBloc series. These hold varying degrees of charge however they do not have the hand-crank generator.

Bottom line — for any avid traveler, outdoorsman or hobbyist the BoostTurbine 2000 is not only a fun gift idea but a must have for anyone who is regularly away from a socket.

Where’d I Leave my Charger?

In my house there are approximately five devices that need to be charged on a regular basis. Naturally, that means we have chargers laying all over the house. They are next to the toaster, next to the bed, by the couch, on the counter — everywhere you turn there is a charger. It drives me a little bit crazy because not all of them are the same with micro-USB, iPhone, camera, Bluetooth headset, on and on and on.

Thankfully, Easy-Doks (www.easy-doks.com) has a great solution. Actually, they have multiple solutions for just about any home. We were able to take a look at their CR-34 and it is just about the perfect solution for my cable-clutter problem.

The CR-34 is a combination multi-charger and FM Radio/alarm clock. Housed in sleek black, the CR-34 has an adjustable digital clock display that is easily readable across a living room and also includes an IR remote for ease of use. Inside the back of the CR-34 is your power station, a series of 6 USB plugs where you can not only plug in, but conveniently wrap excess cord to keep everything neat and tidy. A very unique feature about the CR-34 and all of the chargers in Easy-Dok’s lines is that they employ a SCD (Smart Current Detection) Technology that Easy-Doks has perfected. What this means is that the CR-34 will automatically detect what the appropriate charge rate your device should get and it will regulate the charge flow. This means that you will not overheat or burnout your device and will still be able to use the CR-34 for multiple devices.

There are three mounts on the CR-34, which amounts to space for either three phones/iPods, or two such devices and one tablet. The CR-34 ships with adapters to ensure that every type of device fits firmly in the rest and will not topple out unexpectedly. The cables can be pulled through a couple of slots for easy access to the mounts and the overall design is seamless.

The alarm can be set to either a buzzer or to an FM station — just like any of the traditional models we are all familiar with — and there are two separate alarms that you can set. For us, we have our weekday alarm and the Sunday alarm for church. This means I don’t have to remember to change the alarm for Sunday and we all get to sleep in a little later.

The FM radio is a digital tuner — it comes with a wire antenna that you can use to enhance your reception and has the ability to store 10 preset stations. Using the radio was a breeze and I easily picked up all of the local radio stations. Conversely, if you’re like me and you use Internet radio, like I use Slacker Premium, or if you just want to listen to the music on your iPhone or tablet there is an auxiliary cable that also comes with the CR-34 that allows you to plug it into the headphone jack of your device and there is a button on the CR-34 and the remote that lets you select that option.

The sound itself is pretty darn good for a desktop device. The sound is clear, no tinny mess. It was right at home on my desk during the day in a low noise atmosphere and also held up great in my kitchen amongst the hustle and bustle of my three kids running wild. OK, so my youngest isn’t running yet but he still makes a good amount of noise.

All in all, I was really impressed with the CR-34 and I see its purpose being a station that would be right at home for the family to use. Aesthetically it looks like it belongs on a counter and is functional enough with the radio and alarm clock that replaces a couple other devices already. I really like the fact that I can charge up to six devices simultaneously with the CR-34. That means I don’t have to constantly plug and unplug chargers for different devices — all my chargers are in one place, all the time.

Bottom line — the CR-34 solves a problem we’ve had in my house for about five years, and I’ll bet you’d be happy to get your cable clutter all cleaned up, too.

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Phil Seibel
I've been in the Brainerd Lakes Area for the last 6 years, currently in Baxter with my wife and two little girls. We really enjoy all the activities and places to see in the Lakes area and particularly enjoy going to the beach and walking out at the Arboretum. I grew up in western MN and went to school at the University of MN, Crookston.
(218) 855-5862
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