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Forget the Smart Home Hub, Brilliant is a Smart Switch that Controls It All, Brilliantly – Review

In Consumer Electronics, Gadgets, General, Hardware, Review, Technology by Michael SheehanLeave a Comment

With the age of the Smart Home upon us, I’m going to guess that you have at least a couple of home automation devices already active in your home. And, probably, you decided to follow one particular vendor for most of the integrations, perhaps using a smart hub of some sort. Or, if you are like me, you have a chaotic mixture of smart devices and hubs scattered throughout your home. When I talk about smart devices, I thinking about things like locks, lights, speakers, thermostats, and digital assistants. The thing is, it’s often hard to find a place to have a smart hub or to integrate and control everything together. And that is exactly what Brilliant (smart switch) is trying to solve. Forget the hub, the Brilliant smart switch has it all baked inside. And to use an overused phrase for these guys… “it’s brilliant!” (*Disclosure below.)

HighTechDad Brilliant Smart Switch Review - personal photo on switch

I recently came across Brilliant at a holiday technology showcase for media. And they were the first company that I spent a long amount of time with at the show. And, I ended up giving them my “Best of Show” award for many good reasons. It’s been about a month since the PepCom show, and I now have two Brilliant switches installed and up and running in my home, one in the kitchen and one in the bathroom. And it now controls or hooks into five of my already existing smart home devices.

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Meural Review: Interact with Artwork from around the Globe on a Digital Canvas in Your Home

In Consumer Electronics, Gadgets, General, Hardware, Review, Technology by Michael SheehanLeave a Comment

Something very rare happened to me a few months ago. My wife, who is not a huge fan of technology despite my best efforts, texted me a photo of a device, instructing me that I HAD to review it. That stopped me in my tracks. She NEVER tells me to get more tech. So, I became very curious about learning more about the gadget that she was suddenly so passionate about. It turns out, it was the Meural. What’s the Meural? Well, it’s sort of a digital picture frame. Yawn, you might say – another digital frame, nothing new here. But when I dove into the details behind this frame and the service it provides, I suddenly knew why my wife was so excited about it. (*Disclosure below.)

HighTechDad Meural Canvas Review - Meural Canvas

So, yes, Meural is indeed a digital frame. But it is a whole lot more. When coupled with the Annual Membership (which I will go into shortly), it suddenly becomes a famous museum or gallery on your wall. And it is interactive and educational in the process.

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Creative Stage Air Review – Inexpensive Yet Solid Sound Delivery for a Battery-Powered Soundbar Speaker

In Audio, Consumer Electronics, Gadgets, General, Hardware, Review, Technology by Michael SheehanLeave a Comment

If you are looking for an inexpensive Bluetooth and USB speaker that provides decent sound quality and looks great on your desk, look no further. The Creative Stage Air is a Bluetooth soundbar that is designed to sit unobtrusively under your desktop monitor. It is made to fulfill most computer speaker needs, plus it is portable, meaning you don’t need to only use with your computer. You can pair it with a smartphone via Bluetooth or even plug in a USB thumb drive with music on it for simple playback. (*Disclosure below.)

HighTechDad Creative Stage Air review - soundbar

While the Creative Stage Air is billed as a desktop device, the fact that it is battery-powered and very light weight makes it a great little speaker to have around the home. It’s portable and only weighs 2 pounds. It looks like an expensive soundbar that you might find under a high-end HD TV, but at a fraction of the price. Measuring only 2.75” high by 3″ deep and 16″ long, the design, however, makes it ideal for placement right below a monitor on your desk.

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9 Things I Love about the Swissgear 5358 USB ScanSmart Backpack – Review

In General, Hardware, Review by Michael SheehanLeave a Comment

I have to admit – I have a bit of a backpack obsession. Every year or so, I swap out my backpack (that I use every workday on my commute), with the next best one. I have pretty high standards when it comes to choosing a backpacks, particularly around durability, features, and comfort. And while backpack construction and features have definitely improved since I was in school, there are still plenty of sub-par packs out there in my opinion. For the past month or so, I have been using the Swissgear 5358 USB ScanSmart Backpack, and honestly, it has checked off a ton of things that I look for in a quality backpack. (*Disclosure below.)

HighTechDad Swissgear 5358 USB ScanSmart Backpack Review - wearing

To be honest, while I had seen a lot of Swissgear backpacks in the wild, I had never considered actually getting one, mainly because the packs that I had were “doing ok.” But that all changed when my buddy showed me one that he had picked up and all of the pockets and solid construction on a trip to the mountains. And, as we were geeking out on the Swissgear pack (not the 5358 model but a different one), we actually had to go to Twitter to ask Swissgear what some straps were for.

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The HighTechDad 2018 Holiday Tech Gift Guide of 25+ Reviewed Products

In Apple, Audio, Consumer Electronics, Gadgets, General, Hardware, iOS, Review, Tech News, Technology by Michael SheehanLeave a Comment

It’s that time of year when we open our wallets to get our loved ones some gifts for the holidays. While I’m sure you have specific items in mind, there are probably some of you who don’t have a clue as to the type of technology or gadget gifts to give this holiday season. Well, have no fear! Over the past year (well, over the past decade for that matter), I have been reviewing gadgets, consumer electronics, and other items on HighTechDad.com. It’s always better to learn more about a particular product before you give it as a gift. So, I present you with the HighTechDad 2018 Holiday Tech Gift Guide of 25+ Reviewed Products. (*Disclosure below.)

The HighTechDad 2018 Holiday Tech Gift Guide of 25+ Reviewed Products

What you will find in this HighTechDad Holiday Tech Gift Guide are short descriptions of a variety of products that I have reviewed over 2018 and links to the more comprehensive reviews on my site. Do note, I have done other Holiday Gift Guides for previous years and there are a LOT of great gadgets and tech gifts out there for the high tech dad, mom, son, daughter, grandparent, friend, coworker, or anyone. Here are a few of my past Gift Guides (remember, older tech is probably quite good still and could be more discounted in price):Read More