February 2019 - Gadget Guy MN
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Archive for month: February, 2019

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A workout watch

Product render of Fitbit Versa in 3 quarter alt view in classic black showing default clock

This post was originally published in the Southwest Journal, a Southwest Minneapolis community newspaper.

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My friends at Verizon recently shared a smartwatch with me, the Fitbit Versa. Much like the Fitbit activity bands, this has all of those features of step and calorie counting and more.

The one I had was black with a black band, but it comes in a variety of colors including rose gold and silver, plus there are different band options as well. The watch comes with both small- and large-sized bands so that you do not have to choose in advance which size you need.

Fitbits are generally simple to use, and this is no exception.

Different watch faces can show various information. The watch face that I liked to use displayed heart beats per minute, a step counter and a calorie counter — all available on the face with simple taps to get to more information.

It also displayed the date and time. Plus when emails, calendar reminders, or text messages notifications came through it showed them on the watch screen.

Versa Saddle Stitch Leather

One complaint that I had on the watch was that it did not display when I raised my wrist. It took tapping the watch or activating a button to wake up the watch so that I could see the display. On other smart watches, the screen will illuminate by just raising your wrist towards your eye line.

There is no mistaking it, the Fitbit Versa is a workout watch.

While wearing it and pairing it to the Fitbit app, one can track steps, calories, water intake and more. It can also be used for sleep tracking and even for female health tracking. It gives you reminders to take steps each hour and tracks how many workouts you have done in the last week, congratulating you if you have been consistent in your routine.

While the watch can only show you so much on the screen, the companion app for your smartphone has a plethora of information, including the aforementioned health tracking data.

Built into the watch is a Coach mode that can take you through a few quick exercise routines. You can subscribe to Fitbit Coach Premium to get even more workouts and tailor your routine.

The Coach mode that I tried out was a seven-minute exercise that provided vibration prompts to move onto the next exercise and kept track of time for a countdown while coaching me through the exercises.

Versa Periwinkle

It looks like the prices ranges $150–$200 depending on where you buy it, with $200 being the original retail price.

Paired with Bluetooth earbuds, the Versa can play music straight from the watch from Pandora and Deezer (I had never heard of Deezer before).

Battery life was great. I charged it maybe twice per week, and the charging time was fast so that I was not without my step counter for very long. It is also water resistant up to 50 meters so you can use it in the water without fear of it getting damaged.

The Fitbit Versa also works with Android, iPhones and even Windows phones, so there should not be any compatibility issues. The Versa uses your phone’s GPS to track length of workout, pace and distance and then can share this so that they can be tracked and synced with other devices.

The Fitbit Versa is a solid watch that provides the most benefit when being used as a fitness tracker.


Paul Burnstein is a Tech Handyman. As the founder of Gadget Guy MN, Paul helps personal and business clients optimize their use of technology. He can be found through gadgetguymn.com or via email at paul@gadgetguymn.com.

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A portable photo printer

Photo printer

This post was originally published in the Southwest Journal, a Southwest Minneapolis community newspaper.

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I got to try out a great gift idea from my friends at Verizon, the Lifeprint 2×3 Photo and Video Printer, a photo and video printer that prints on special thermal paper without ink.

How do you print videos with a printer, you ask? Well, by using the free app for both Android and iOS (Apple), one can see an augmented reality video by viewing the photo through the app. Lifeprint calls this Hyperphoto.

So if you wanted to send grandma a photo of yourself, but really wanted her to see a video, you would record the video and let the app do the rest by embedding it in the photo with a small code on the corner. It will print out as a photo, but will be viewable through the app as a video when you hold the app camera over the picture and let it read the code printed on the corner.

I would like to point out that you don’t need the printer to download the app. Only one person needs the printer for embedding the videos in photos, and then any person can view the augmented reality video by using the app to view it through.

Lifeprint with Phone

These are small, portable pictures. The pictures themselves print out at 2 inches by 3 inches and are cute, but understandably not the best possible prints available. However, for their size and purpose, they are great.

The photos also have a peel apart backing so that they can be stuck up anywhere. The photos take about half a minute to print.

When you go to print, the app offers to “Print and Share,” and this allows you to share the photo with any friends you are connected to on the Lifeprint network. They can then see your photo without having to wait for you to print it and send it to them.

The printer itself connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth (again, both Android and iPhone) so there is nothing to physically connect. The wireless printer itself is about the size of a large deck of playing cards, making it very portable.

Lifeprint

By logging into your various social media accounts including Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and more, the app pulls in all of your pictures to make it easy to print them out or pull in from your camera’s own photos and videos.

It took me a few minutes to realize that I had the printer upside down, but that is about the total time it took to set up. Once the app is downloaded and the printer is paired to your smartphone via Blutooth, you are ready to go.

The printer charges via the included micro-USB charging cable. It does not come with a power adapter, but you can easily use the power adapter that came with your phone or plug the USB into a computer to charge. It also says it will hold a charge long enough to print 20–30 photos on a complete charge.

There are a limited number of devices that the company says it is optimized for. You should check here before purchasing: lifeprintphotos.com/pages/compatibility.

It runs $129.99. This would be a fun gift to give to someone that likes physical photos, sticky photos and the ability to share video in unique way.

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Paul Burnstein is a tech handyman. As the founder of Gadget Guy MN, Paul helps personal and business clients optimize their use of technology. He can be found through gadgetguymn.com or via email at paul@gadgetguymn.com.

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