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One hot headset

WHEN shopping for a Bluetooth headset, the amount of choices makes you wonder if there's a difference. I can tell you firsthand, there is a difference.

While the cosmetics are important to many, that shouldn't be the only feature. Sound and battery life are the most important features to me. Having a great-looking device without being able to hear your caller is useless.

The Voyager Edge from Plantronics has all the features you need in a Bluetooth (4.0) device, along with NFC pairing with NFC-enabled devices.

Like any other similar device, you pair it with your smartphone and you're ready to go.

The Edge was described as "Intelligent" by a company representative before I tried it out, and after using it, I was impressed with how smart it is.

When I put the headset on, my phone instantly detected it and was ready to answer calls. Your voice command of "ignore or answer" will tell the device what to do next.

Noise-cancelling technology enables you to hear incoming calls crystal clear, and three built-in noise-canceling mics allow your caller to hear you just as well.

The lightweight and water-resistant Voyager Edge, unlike many of its competitors, is a complete kit. You get several sized silicone ear-tips for the right fit, and clip-on ear-loops.

What makes it a complete kit is the car charger and charging case to give you extra power on the go. The extra battery will give you up to 10 more hours of talk time on top of the headset's battery for six hours. A USB cable is included to give them both a charge.

Details: US$129; available in black, white or grey; www.plantronics.com

Form your own forecast

THE Oregon Scientific Weather@Home is one of those gadgets you don't think you need until you need it.

With this device, you no longer have to troll your TV stations, websites or apps to get weather reports. Instead, you can become your own household's weather forecaster with the Bluetooth-enabled weather station you keep inside and a temperature and humidity sensor you keep outside.

The sensor is powered by a single AA battery (not included). With Bluetooth, you can read the results on your smartphone with the device's free app (Android and iOS) up to 50 metres away. Temperatures are also taken inside, along with daily highs and lows, humidity and forecasts.

I compared the device with the weather anchor on a local TV station. They were both correct, and they were both accurate as the week went on.

The Weather@Home is powered by three AA batteries (not included) and has other alerts for storm warnings, wind, frost, fog and the percentage of moon phase. It also features an auto-setting clock.

Details: US$53.64; www.OregonScientific.com/us

Docking station durable

HENGE Docks Vertical Docking Station is a space saver for the MacBook Pro (15 or 13-inch with Retina display).

Just dock your laptop into the slick-looking device and it connects to an external monitor, USB, audio (3.5mm) and Thunderbolt connections through built-in cables.

It's constructed from a durable metal alloy and a finish to match your laptop's look, which is an important aspect to many Apple users.

Once docked, rubber inserts keep your laptop scratch-free, a built-in cable organizer keeps your cables in place, and side vents are great for keeping the laptop cool.

To keep your laptop running while docked, since the cover is closed, you'll have to keep it connected to AC power. If you plan on using the dock often, it might be a good idea to pick up an extra power cord.

This is one of those gadgets where there's not a lot to it. It does exactly what it's supposed to do, and it does it very well.

Details: US$119; hengedocks.com

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 3, 2014 ??65521

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