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Zagg, OtterBox, Earbud Yo-Yo, Logitech— Good Gadget Accessories (Part 3)

We have a few more products to close out our chat about gadget accessories…

The Good

Zagg Z.buds

While there were a multitude of headsets, ear phones, and mobile holders at this year’s CES, a few stood out above the others. Zagg’s new Z.buds ($79.99) are great for listening to music or making calls with your portable device. In addition to a nice sound that integrates passive noise cancellation, the thing I liked about the Z.buds is the diverse ways to wear them. I find that the optimal way to wear earbuds varies depending on whether I am sitting, walking, running, or driving a car. Finding the right way to attach them to your clothes without tangling can be a chore with conventional earbuds. Z.buds combines a sleek design, a durable nylon cord, and several wearable options— around the neck while sitting at your desk; or perhaps around the back of the neck and over the ear to keep them in place while running. The positioning of the on-cord volume management and call buttons and the microphone are also flexible. The Z.buds, which for some reason only ship in red and black, come with a variety of interchangeable foam, silicone and triple-flange tips.

Watch Z.Bud Demo

The other accessory product from Zagg that received a lot of attention at CES is their invisibleSHIELD film for protecting your device’s screen from scratches. invisibleSHIELD, which Zagg claims has sold over one million units, has 2,500 precision pre-cut designs for pretty much every device on the market. Their demo at CES, in which they scraped various sharp edges across their invisibleSHIELD film with no effect, was really quite impressive.

Earbud Yo-Yo

And while we are talking about your tangled-up earbud cords, did you ever wonder why there seemed to be no easy solution for this? So did Julie Johnson Barkley, the inventor of a new device by Covington Creations. Like most of us, when she got her first iPod she loved the device but it came with a new frustration— having to untangled the earbuds each time she wanted to use it. So she invented the Earbud Yo-Yo, which was launched at last month’s CES. The Earbud Yo-Yo is a cable organizing device that allows you to easily wind, store, and unwind your earbuds with ease. Like a yo-yo, you can wind it to the desired length, so you also eliminate how much of your earbud cords are left dangling. The Earbud Yo-Yo comes in several stylish (and also some garish) colors and patterns. The product is worth checking out if only to learn about this enterprising entrepreneur who saw a problem, saw the solution, went for it, and is now profiting from her idea.


If you are looking for a complete solution as an alternative to invisibleSHIELD with both a protective film and stylish protective case, then the cutely named OtterBox might be for you. The OtterBox Defender Series for BlackBerry Storm case was designed to provide full access to all buttons, ports and functions including the camera and charging port (it includes a ratcheting belt clip). When I first got my BlackBerry Storm, I was surprised to find few case options for protecting it or carrying it on my belt. I would have gotten the OtterBox if I had known about it. Instead I bought a generic BlackBerry belt clip holder in an airport shop that doesn’t quite fit and requires me to take it out for recharging, a risky “shields down” venture with small kids in the house.

Harmony 1100

To close out our coverage of “good” accessories, we take a look at Logitech’s latest Harmony 1100 universal remote. At $500 it is not cheap at all, but if you are intent on having just one remote to control everything in your house, then this might be the device for you. While Logitech does have cheaper universal remotes for your TV and AV peripherals such as the Harmony® 510 ($99), nothing else combines the breadth and range of controls with a 3.5-inch color screen. Since Logitech owns the world’s largest A/V control database, supporting more than 225,000 devices from 5,000 brands, Harmony will work out of the box with just about every device you already have. It combines traditional infrared control and also uses RF wireless to control your hidden devices (via an additional RF Extender). The user interface is also completely customizable and intuitive— you can choose which icons and controls you want to see and which ones to hide. While most reviewers claimed to have replaced the typical 7 or 8 remotes you might have in your house, Harmony can support up to 15.

Watch Harmony CES video.

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