Quick Review: Logitech G432 headset

With the advent of full time working from home, I decided to invest in a new headset. I’d been wanting a full over-the-ear gaming headset for a while, so I looked around and found a good deal on the Logitech G432. It arrived the other day and I’ve had it for a couple of days of meetings and video conferences now.

This is a USB headset, and so simply plugging it in gets you up and running really fast. The cord is nice and long, and the overall fit of the earpieces is what I was expecting. It’s a large-ish headset, but the bar along the top is padded for more comfort. I’ve been wearing it for hours at a time and haven’t noticed any discomfort. The only issue is that the ear cups are secure enough to cause my ears to sweat just a little bit after I’m done with a long session.

In terms of audio quality, the sound is really, really good. I’ve listened to music and videos as well as teleconferences, and the quality is really outstanding. I need to do some deeper dives into the different ranges, but for now I can say I’m very pleased with how these sound.

My one disappointment is with the mic audio quality. It’s a bit thin and tinny, and I wish I had access to some type of software equalizer for these. I want to round out the mids and lows more, but there’s no customizable option for that. If these had one failing, it’s the mic quality. Thankfully, for my work calls, it’s not a huge deal, but I know I’ll need something else if I ever start doing podcasting or more video work.

I managed to get these on sale for a good discount, and so that made these a good deal overall, especially considering the really good output quality.

 

Product review: Groove Life rings

My wife and I have wanted to get silicone based rings for a few years now, but just haven’t pulled the trigger. We’re avid outdoors people, and having something other than a band of metal on our fingers is a good option not just for nasty things like avulsion fractures, but general comfort.

We took our time deciding what to do and ended up going with Groove Life rings. The design we chose was their Tidal design, and we were able to get matching his/hers versions. They arrived last week and we’ve been wearing them since. We had been debating between Qalo and Groove Life, and in the end, the patterns we could get on Groove Life is what make us select them.

Now that we’ve had the rings for a few days I can report that they’re very comfortable and easy to wear. They’re lighter than metal, and I notice them less than my traditional ring. My wife went from having a ring with a stone, to just a band, and that’s made a huge difference for her when using her hands.

The rings seem nice and breathable, and they have channels on the inside to help with that. They feel very strong and resilient, despite being rather thin, but of course the real test will be in a year’s time. Sizing feels true, and they even have a little smartphone app you can download to ensure you get the correct size.

Finally, the pattern on the ring is a nice change. I can rotate the ring, or flip it the other direction, and change what I see on top of my hand. That’s a fun feature of having a ring like this that I didn’t expect.

Overall, very satisfied, and am looking forward to many years with this on my finger.

Quick Review: PATH Projects Prospect PX2 Shorts

I’m a big fan of PATH Projects shorts, and as I’ve been running this summer, I’ve realized that I don’t own enough of them. My favorite pair has been the Graves, however, I discovered that they’re in the middle of a fabric change, so I wasn’t able to order them right away. Instead I opt’d to try the new Prospect PX2, 8″ shorts.

img_4918I don’t often run in a longer inseam short like these, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. In reality, it’s not much different from a 6 or 7 inch short, at least not for quick training runs. I always wear a liner that goes down my leg a bit, so at least with a longer inseam I don’t risk showing off my colorful underwear.

One of the things I love about PATH are their thoughtful pocket designs. The Prospect is no exception. There are two pockets in the front, both with zippers, and an additional, smaller, side pocket that is a great size for my wallet. Having everything zipper means that I don’t worry about what I’m carrying in my pockets. I don’t usually run with a lot in my pockets, but having options for post-run hanging out is great. I can treat these shorts just like my street clothes and stuff the pockets with my wallet, keys, and phone, etc., and it’s just like my regular daily wear.

DSC01554.jpgFor running there is also a great rear pocket for your phone, and it’s clear that they’ve expanded the size to accommodate newer, larger phone sizes. For this model, the pocket is offset onto the right hand side, and I assume that’s because it’s larger. Putting a big slab of a phone on your lower back probably isn’t the most comfortable all the time. The rear pocket works well, and I didn’t notice any bounce.

Overall, another great PATH Projects product. If you’re a guy who runs, I encourage you to check them out. They’re some of the best designed shorts I’ve ever used.

 

Nutrition Review: Spring gels

In my history of running, I’ve never been one for gels. I tried them from time to time, but I always ended up with a sore stomach afterwards. They would give me some energy, but it was all lost when the cramping hit my gut. I recently came across a new gel called Spring, and for once in my running life, I have a gel that is finally working for me.

The premise behind Spring gels is that they are all natural, based on real food, that is minimally processed. What this means is that Spring gels are not quite like what you’ve had before if you’re used to things like Hammer of Gu. The texture of Spring is almost yogurt quality. It’s smooth and creamy vs. the thicker consistency of traditional gels. It also has some texture to it from the ingredients, but I don’t find it off-putting in any way.

They have a full range of gels, some with caffeine that I need to avoid, and some with more or less calories than others. I’ve tried a few of them now, and my personal favorite is the CanaBERRY. It’s fruity and tart, and tastes really fun. I also like the POWERRUSH flavor, which I find to be a bit more earthy in flavor. Which makes sense, since it’s made with beets. I still have a couple more to sample, but so far I like what I’ve found.

The most important part of all of this is that my stomach issues are non-existent with these gels. I down the gel and get back to running, and I’m not clutching my gut 15 minutes later. That’s a massive change from my previous experience with gels, and it’s incredibly refreshing. I’ve stuck to things like energy waffles, but after a while you want something different. Spring gels give me a whole new thing to keep in my toolbox on long training days and race day. I’m incredibly excited to make them a part of my regular routine.

If you’re like me, and you’ve had issues with gels in the past, give Spring a try. It certainly might not work for everyone, but it works for me.

Review: ZAGG Rugged Messenger iPad Keyboard case

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I’ve been reconsidering my ecosystem. At the same time, I noticed a great sale on the basic iPad ($250) at most major retailers. I decided to make the plunge and pick up the basic iPad, along with a rugged keyboard case. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve tried to make this device my primary mobile computing device, and I’ll talk more about that transition, but this review is strictly about the keyboard case that I chose.

The requirements I had going in to selecting a case were that it needed to be Bluetooth so that it could work with the basic iPad I got (no keyboard connector), and it had to have some protection on it, since I was planning to use this device when camping. As luck would have it, I’m currently writing this review in my pop-up trailer, at a State Park in the middle of the woods. Needless to say, the case I selected is getting put through it’s paces, since in the weeks since I bought it I’ve taken it biking and camping, multiple times.

Because of the limited audience for the basic iPad, there’s not a ton of options out there for keyboards. I spent a bit of time reading reviews of various cases before selecting the ZAGG, and when I decided to pull the trigger I was mulling over 2 different cases. One was the ‘book’ style case where the iPad and keyboard form a laptop-style clamshell enclosure. The other one was the Messenger folio that is similar to the Apple Smart Keyboard style, with a folding kickstand back to it. After spending a lot of time reading reviews, I opt’d for the Messenger style case. Many of the reviews of the book style hinted that the hinge didn’t hold after a lot of use, and additionally, the folio style still allows for the iPad to be used independently, without a bulkier case than necessary.

I’ve been using the case for a few weeks now, and I have to say, this is a really nice keyboard. The key travel is smooth, and the spacing is just right for my size hands. Some people might find it cramped, but I don’t know that you can get a 9.7″ device with a keyboard that is any bigger than this. I haven’t had any issues typing on it, and many of my blog entries over the past couple of weeks have been typed on this device.

One of the features that sold me on this device was the backlit keyboard. If I’m out in the middle of the woods, or typing in a darkened room, having backlit keys is a must. As a bonus, you can select different colors of backlighting, which gives the case a sense of personal style. There are also multiple intensity settings that you can use to make the backlight dimmer and brighter, depending on your need.

Overall the device feels rugged and protective. I haven’t tested this yet, and hopefully never will, but the iPad has now been on multiple bike rides, bouncing around in my pannier bags, as well as general use around the house and campsite. There are two parts to the case, the keyboard folio part, and the case that goes around the iPad itself. The case around the iPad feels sturdy and I think it should protect it just fine. The folio is slightly bigger and so in a fall, I assume the folio portion will take a lot of the brunt.

There as a few different function keys that are specific to the iPad, and you can actually pair this keyboard with multiple devices, though I haven’t tried that, and I’m not sure I’d have a need for that. The case around the iPad does come with a spot for the Apple Pencil, with is a nice touch.

I’ve been very please with the ZAGG Rugged Messenger, and if you’re looking for a protective keyboard case for an iPad, I think this is a great way to go. I’m finding myself enjoying using it, and even reaching for my iPad instead of my computer. Of course, the iPad is a story for another time.