Published on March 20th, 2012 | by Greg0
Shoot, Save, Charge, Talk, Watch, Listen: VEHO Offers Something For Everyone
When we’re preparing our coverage, we work several weeks in advance (at least). And we will often try to assemble a group of features- on audio gear for example, or kitchen appliances- and occasionally focus on a given product across multiple companies. But today’s set crosses multiple product categories, and comes courtesy of a single company. Further, every single item here is impressive- not perfect, but extremely good value, solidly built, well-designed, and overall leading us to strongly hope to see much more from this firm. You might not have heard of them- they aren’t as widely distributed as some competitors- but with any luck you’ll be finding them all over the place soon.
VEHO sent us a wonderful box of gear last year, at about the same time, and it included their cute Atom camera and the capacious Pebble Portable Battery Pack, which we still use on a regular basis. They’ve upgraded the battery into the Pebble Pro XT, and taken it from a pretty large 5000 mAh to an enormous 13200 mAh! We rarely see anything larger than 10000 except for laptops, making this the largest backup battery we have tried that isn’t aimed solely at laptop users. You’ll be able to get many hours of power out of this for your tablet, a couple for your laptop, but up to 10 complete recharges for your iPhone! Plus it comes with every tip you’ll probably need- ten different ones for notebooks and laptops, and an extra four for smartphones (including the iPhone and Blackberry). Dual ports allow you to charge your phone and laptop at the same time (though not easily two mobile devices). Also, it does not include adapters for any Macbook. With a weight of under a pound, it’s an amazing unit that now is required equipment for our longer trips or times when power might be an issue. Sleek, easy to use, and with a nice carrying case included, this is a no-brainer: the best high-capacity portable battery on the market right now, and available for under $100.
Those with lesser power needs or looking for something ultra-portable should take a careful look at the Pebble Smartstick line. Available in purple, pink, silver, and black, they offer 220 mAh of emergency power for all of your fairly low-power gadgets. Smartphones will get one full charge, more or less, but tablets draw a bit too much for this one to handle. Again, there’s no need to buy extra tips- included are ones for iPhone, Sony Ericsson, Nokia, and mini/micro-USB. List price was $45, which seemed a bit too high, but online we did find them for $20- a great price, since these have nice, solid casings.
Onto audio! We’ve been testing out the SAEM Bluetooth car kit, and there are a bit more compromises on this one. We’ve seen plenty of hands free speakerphones, and this model is pretty good for it’s class but can’t compete with more advanced models. To be fair, at $60 or so, it is still excellent for the pricetag. Audio was good, though not great- noise cancellation was a bit lacking, voices sounded a bit flat and distorted, and we weren’t impressed with music performance. But mounting was easy on the sun visor- some clips don’t work well, but this one did. Multi-point pairing worked simply as well, up to eight can be saved; devices connected quickly and would reconnect when in range, even two at a time. Controls are simple, though no voice controls are built-in. But the real feature of note here is battery life- as you may suspect, VEHO does solid work with power management, and it’s on display here. 32 hours of talk time hold up against competition of any price, and the two years (!) of stated standby time couldn’t be realistically tested but we would not be surprised. The motion sensor seemed to work well, saving battery life and powering the unit on and off as needed, provided the unit was mounted on the visor. Solid, and great for those in need of a fairly basic speakerphone that rarely needs charging.
On a more personal level, the VEHO Z-1 Earbuds (available in black and white or black and orange) would rate as average but for a couple of features that elevate them above many of the other headphones and earbuds that we’ve tried. The overall aesthetics aren’t exciting, but few are. The packaging- cute tubes- looks great even if it is a little annoying to get them out. The sound quality is so-so: fairly flat on most music, with mediocre bass and some distortion on the higher ends especially at louder volume. Separation isn’t great. Three sizes of buds were included, which is decent, even if they are basic tips. They did alright isolating, but lack a remote of any kind. So what’s the big deal: the $13 cost and the anti-tangle flat cable made us pretty happy. These won’t rock your world, but are pretty great in a pinch.
Finally, the superstar: the VEHO Muvi HD10+ was sent to us with an amazing assortment of mounting gear. We confess that we didn’t even get a chance to try it all out- there were simply too many options- but we still came away impressed. By default, you’ll get a helmet mounting bracket, but other options include everything from a headband mount to a harness, a monopod and tripod mounting kit, a suction mount, and even a universal pole/bar mount. In other words, you’ll be able to put this camera just about anywhere and capture almost any sort of action. Sports cameras are a category that we’ve seen quite a bit of activity in (pun intended), and VEHO’s products have always offered solid if unexceptional video quality in a tiny package. Unlike the Looxcie, this one won’t be connecting to any apps or offering a live feed, and it certainly doesn’t offer a built-in projector like the recently reviewed 3M camcorder. But it does match the resolution and frame rate (1080p at 30 fps or 720 with 60 fps), not to mention versatility, of the Drift HD170 Stealth at a fraction of the cost.
Plus, this one includes a handy remote! It’s not quite as easy to use as some (especially if you’re wearing gloves) but all things considered we can’t complain. And the battery life is impressive- again, this device lives up to the theme, offering three or more hours of recording time thanks to a solid rechargeable battery. Memory is handled via microSD, and a 4GB card is included handily. Like most others, there isn’t an optical zoom, and we recommend avoiding the 3x digital zoom if at all possible. Unlike GoPro models and some others, the Muvi HD10 includes a screen and though it’s hard to use in bright daylight, it’s certainly handy to quickly review your footage. One interesting feature that we didn’t use much was the voice control- it seemed to work well in quieter environments, but we preferred the remote. Onboard controls are a bit touchy, and certainly it’s easy to end up with shaky video and certainly photos were often blurry, but that’s true of almost any ultra-lightweight camera in this segment. Another solid hitter, especially for those who don’t want to risk their expensive smartphones while taking video on boards, skates, skis, or in the water (waterproof casing is available, and reasonably priced). Available now, under $200.