The hurricane season is upon us now, in the northern hemisphere, until the end of November. Being prepared for all encompassing storms and natural disasters can be a time of confusion and panic. Have that peace of mind and get prepared now with helpful tech products and tools for when the next big one hits.
Disclaimer: I have been provided the hardware and software mentioned in this post at no cost for review. I have not been compensated for this review roundup. I am a Netgear Ambassador. All thoughts and opinions are mine. Photos are courtesy of each brand.
Eton FRX5 Unboxing
Eton FRX5 Weather Radio
Knowing that a hurricane is going to make landfall or if other intense storms are headed your way is paramount in order to avoid them. That is where the FRX5 at $129.99 from the Eton Corporation excels. It receives NOAA Weather band and alerts with specific area message encoding technology. S.A.M.E. allows the local weather service to send out alert signals to only the specific areas affected by extreme weather. The quad-power all purpose smartphone and tablet charging FRX5 can deliver emergency power to your smartphone or tablet if the electrical grid near you shuts down. Its 2.1A USB port delivers a high rate of power to drained gadgets. A hand crank, solar panel, internal rechargeable lithium backup battery or three AA batteries will keep this rugged device powered up.
SpareOne Plus Emergency Mobile Phone Unboxing
SpareOne Emergency GSM Phone
Communications with the authorities and family can be extremely difficult when a smartphone runs low on power or is damaged. SpareOne has you covered with a GSM 850/1900 MHz compatible phone from Amazon at $57.95 that powers up on one AA battery. It does not require a SIM card to dial emergency services. It comes in a watertight bag and can operate in extreme hot and cold temperatures. The battery that comes with it is rated at 15 years, but since that is beyond the scope of testing, the battery included has power enough to make a call nearly two years after receiving one.
IsatPhone 2 Satellite Phone Kit Unboxing
IsatPhone 2 Satellite Phone
Making emergency calls when the entire electrical grid is down and the cell sites have failed for days to weeks can happen in extreme situations. Inmarsat, known for their satellite communications hardware and network, has introduced their IsatPhone 2 satellite phone kit that is dust, splash and shock resistant with IP65 and IK04 ratings. I have utilized it in remote locations such as Red Rock Las Vegas, Valley of Fire in Nevada and in various random desert locations with no cellular signal. The calls are relatively clear, you are pinging space after all, and dialing is simple. Need help but cannot dial out? There is an emergency beacon button at the top of the phone. Time can be purchased on loadable SIM cards and used whenever they are needed. Caveats to the IsatPhone 2 are that the kit is somewhat expensive and so are calls to the satellite phone. Otherwise, it is a lifesaver when in need of help, nearly anywhere in the world.
Voltaic Systems’ 9-watt solar panel with a V44 12,000 mAh dual USB port kit is a winning combination. Like with the Eton FRX5 weather radio, having an alternative way of powering up devices and tablets sans an electrical grid, is extremely helpful in order to keep in contact with family and the authorities. The V44 battery has 12,000 mAh of power that can charge a new iPad nearly up to full. It has two USB ports, one is 1A and the other is 2.1A. The battery can be charged through a normal wall outlet adapter or via a 9-watt high efficiency solar panel. It worked well to keep my smartphone, tablet and satellite phone charged up during several weeks of adventures through the desert in Nevada and California for $170
Hyper’s Hyperjuice 1.5 150Wh 41,000 mAh Battery Unboxing
Hyperjuice 1.5 41k mAh Backup Battery
Hyperjuice 1.5 150Wh Retina MacBook Battery with 41,000 mAh of power and two 12 watt USB ports at the ready. Hyper’s Hyperjuice 1.5 can simultaneously charge a MacBook with a Retina screen and two iPads. A MagicBox power adapter at $149.95 for a pre-modified kit and a MagSafe to MagSafe 2 adapter, sold separately, are required to power a MacBook via a cigarette lighter adapter. For $349.95 from Hypershop.
Netgear Around Town 4G LTE Hotspot Unboxing
Around Town 4G LTE Pre-paid Hotspot From Netgear
Netgear Around Town 4G LTE Prepaid Hotspot. While most modern smartphones have a hotspot capability, it’s nice to have one as a backup. An external WiFi hotspot will save precious smartphone battery charge in emergencies. Connect up to ten WiFi devices to it at once. It comes with a secure guest mode to share WiFi separate from the secure internal network. The Netgear Around Town hotspot secures its WiFi signal via WPA2. A fully charged battery will last about ten hours depending on how many gadgets are connected and signal strength. It provides 1GB of 4G LTE data speed via the Sprint network right out of the box. It is one of the easiest to setup I have used. I sent a text message with the activation code to a special number and within five minutes, it was activated. It is capable of switching down to 3G data if the 4G LTE signal is not strong enough. For $189.99 on Amazon.
HooToo Tripmate Sith 10k mAh Backup Battery WiFi Router Unboxing
HooToo Tripmate Sith Battery and Hotspot
HooToo Tripmate Sith for $59.99 includes a full sized USB port, an Ethernet port, WiFi hardware and a 10k mAh power bank. The wired Ethernet port can be used to share a WAN (wide area network) connection via its WiFi hardware and the 10k mAh battery can power itself plus a small USB hub. This allows the Tripmate Sith to share multiple USB devices, including USB thumb drives and a USB hard drive simultaneously. It can be handy in situations where you are in a hotel that only has an Ethernet Internet connection. Sharing of a USB hard drive can be good to stream music, movies and photos with multiple people on trips. Find HooToo’s Tripmate Sith on Amazon.
Canary Home Monitoring System Unboxing
Canary Home Cloud Connected Video System
A Canary Home monitoring system is nice to have setup before leaving home everyday or before an emergency. Find out how your home is doing up to the second by watching a live feed. It even streams motion-detected video clips to their server so you can watch them later. As long as the Internet is working at the residence, the live feed will continue to stream from the Canary. It provides clear surveillance video, even in pitch darkness. The free iOS app that comes with the system is easy to use and can setup the video recorder in less than five minutes. Its renter friendly has an alarm and comes with no monthly fee. Find it for $249 from Canary direct.
Switching from hardware to software can give you a mobile look at what the weather will be like up to the minute and where ever you happen to be.
Radarscope Pro iOS App With Lightning Data Upgrade
Looking for HD weather data, live lightning strike information and live radar sweeps that is usually only available to local weather persons? RadarScope for iOS at $9.99 plus an optional $9.99 for one year of live lightning strike data is well worth it for the sheer amount of raw visual data that it can display on a smartphone or iPad screen. Nearly all of the weather apps for iOS smooth the visual radar, this does not. Need an iOS weather app without all of the bells and whistles? The Weather Radio https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/weather-radio-by-wdt/id413511993?mt=8 app at $4.99 is for you. I used it for years before finding out about RadarScope from a local Las Vegas weatherman. Screen shots that I have sent of severe conditions to friends who are into weather have all been impressed by RadarScope’s ability to show where lightning is striking live. I used RadarScope recently to see that a monsoonal storm was headed my way and to get inside while it was still safe. The title graphic for this review post is a screenshot of that storm.
Accuweather Platinum Weather Android App
Want to see what the next several hours will bring for rain or other weather near you at a glance? Try AccuWeather’s Platinum app at $2.99 for Android Google Play devices. It offers the industry leading Accuweather MinuteCast minute-by-minute precipitation forecasts for the next two hours hyper-localized to your street address or GPS location. It displays the precipitation type and intensity, and start and end times for precipitation. Available for the contiguous United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Japan, France, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Spain, Netherlands, Luxembourg, and a growing list of global locations.
GeniusPack’s 22″ Carry On With Suiter Unboxing
GeniusPack’s 22″ Carry On With Integrated Suiter
Packing everything up that one would need to leave the house for a few days is easier with GeniusPack’s 22” carry on with integrated suiter, available direct for $218. It has a quick view check list, a compressible and removable laundry pouch, a spot for a water bottle, a compartment for power chargers and small clothing items, an area for a GeniusPack portable backup battery, a micro umbrella compartment, an external magazine pouch and a jacket wrap. I have used the 22” carry on during numerous trips and I like how easily the wheel glide. It fits best in standard sized jet overhead bins. The 2,200 mAh power bank, available separately at $28 direct, fits into an upper compartment and can charge nearly any smartphone between flights or on a long trip. Keep the smartphone in airplane mode to reduce charging time. Look into other GeniusPack bags and their new luxury collection for more ideas on how to travel in style. My unboxing video makes a cameo on their order page.
Stay safe and be prepared for wild weather, crazy storms, hurricanes and tornadoes with the best survival hardware and software. Know hours before and be well prepared for extreme conditions and mobile adventures with these handy tools.