Welcome to our new, continuously-updated First Looks - a collection of previews showing brand new iPod, iPhone and iPad accessories that we’re currently in the process of testing. Here’s what’s hot right now:
Company: Pear Sports
Model: Training Intelligence
Compatible: iPhone 4S/5/5c/5s, iPod touch 5G
While the bundle looks an awful lot like a rebranded Wahoo sensor with a pair of sports earphones, Pear Sports' new Training Intelligence ($100) is designed as a turnkey workout solution for iOS users. In addition to a chest-mounted Bluetooth 4 heart rate monitor and a pair of sports earphones with a microphone, one-button remote, and ear stabilizers, the Training Intelligence set includes a Pear Training app that provides real-time coaching for weight loss, strength, running, biking, and other activities, using the heart rate information to guide users through the hundreds of integrated workouts it includes. Three sets of ear stabilizers and a carrying case for all of the parts are included in the bundle.
Company: Power Practical
Model: Practical Meter
Compatible: All iPads, iPhones, iPods
While we won't be running a full review, we did want to feature Power Practical's Practical Meter ($25), a USB power meter that lets you know how much energy your device is drawing from a power source. The stubby plastic accessory is made to sit in-between a USB port and plug; you insert its plug into the appropriate USB port, and then your cable into the output. Five lights glow to indicate the power being drawn, with each representing 1 Watt. Five bars represents 5W, or full-speed charging for iPhones and iPods. If the first light is blinking, it indicates "high power mode," showing up to 10W being drawn, which makes it useful for iPads as well. A USB cable with Dock Connector, mini-USB, and micro-USB heads is included.
It's nothing too fancy, but Skech's ArmBand for iPhone 5/5c/5s ($30) seems to be a fine enough option for strapping an iPhone to your arm. Available in black, with pink or grey accents, the soft material extends out into a band, that wraps back in and through a plastic clip, before using Velcro to attach to itself. The phone fits in a pocket with a clear plastic sheet over the front, and there's a headphone port cutout. There's also a slot for a key.
Compatible: All iPhones, iPods
Vorson calls its Bookmark "the world’s thinnest battery backup," and while we hear this kind of hyperbole on a daily basis, we're inclined to believe that even if this one isn't the very thinnest, it's darn close. The colorful plastic body tapers down from about a centimeter to only 4.7mm at the other end; it's just bit taller than an iPhone 5 or 5s, and a little bit wider. There's a 2500mAh cell inside, but the output is only 1A, so it's best suited for iPhones and iPods. The battery indicator lights next to the micro-USB and USB ports are touch activated, and a charging cable is included.
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