26 February 2016

Anker PowerLine USB-C to USB 2.0: A Safe, Well-Built USB A-to-C Cable

Last month, I had the opportunity to try out Anker's PowerLine+ Micro-USB cable, and I was very impressed by its quality, design, and thoughtful carrying pouch. It wasn't much good, however, for working with my USB-C-equipped Nexus 6P.

I was thrilled, then, when Anker offered me the opportunity to try out one of their USB A-to-C cables. (Yes, I was provided this cable for free in exchange for my fair and honest review. No, I didn't let that affect my impression of the product.) Anker does not yet sell a braided PowerLinePlus USB-C cable, but the Anker PowerLine USB-C to USB 2.0 Cable does incorporate many of the same design features like Kevlar fiber reinforcement.

13 February 2016

KuGi Tempered Glass Screen Protector for Huawei Watch

I received this KuGi Tempered Glass screen protector as a Christmas present, and quickly rushed to replace the tacky Skinomi film I had installed a few days prior. That film protector left a noticeable gap around the edge of the screen that looked silly but, even worse, felt silly when swiping my finger in from the edge of the screen.

This tempered glass protector is so much better. Installation was a breeze. It took maybe three minutes to install - and that's including the time to remove the plastic protector, clean the screen with the included cloth, peel the backing off the new glass protector, and gently lower it into place. The sloped edges of the Huawei Watch's bezel made it easy to center on the display.

If you're being really picky, you can see that there is a very very very slight gap around the edge of the protector once installed. I seriously didn't notice it at all until I started reading other reviews pointing it out - so I'm sorry that you can't un-see it now! In real-world use, though, it's hardly an issue. The glass sits pretty close to flush against the slope of the watch's bezel, so finger-swipes across that edge feel pretty much like they always did - no more awkward bump! And, being glass, it feels very much like the surface of the sapphire display. It even seems to do a better job of discouraging fingerprints than the bare display alone!

Now, I don't really know that the Huawei Watch really needs a protector - the sapphire display should be pretty difficult to scratch on its own. The screen also sits recessed a bit below the bezel, further shielding it from any dangers. If you feel the need to protect your screen, though, do yourself a favor and get this one

Skinomi® TechSkin for Huawei Watch

What can I say? I'm a sucker for carbon fiber - or, in this case, things which look like carbon fiber. So when I saw that Skinomi offered a carbon fiber-looking skin for my Huawei Watch I knew I had to try it out.  

The kit includes 8 precision-cut textured film pieces that mimic the look and feel of carbon fiber as well as a round screen protector film. The carbon fiber films pieces go on dry, but a liquid solution is provided for applying the clear film to the screen.

+ Installation was easy - much easier than the skins I've applied to phones in the past. A little bit of heat from a hair dryer helps make sure the skin adhered to the curved surfaces of the watch.

+ I love having this skin on the back of the watch - no more sticking to my arm! The slight texture feels great. These two pieces are cut to perfectly fit around both the glass window for the heart rate sensor and the charging pins. Honestly, covering up the back of the watch alone makes this worth installing in my opinion.

+ I think it looks pretty sharp, too - particularly on a black watch. If your Huawei Watch is of the polished stainless or rose gold variety, the gaps between the film pieces will probably look rather silly.

03 February 2016

YESOO Milanese Loop Mesh Band for Huawei Watch

When Huawei first started to show off their fantastic Android Wear smartwatch, they did so with a dizzying variety of finish and band combinations. I liked many of these different configurations, but one stood out to me as the one to have: the black stainless watch with black stainless mesh band. 

Of course, when the Huawei Watch finally went on sale months later, that particular combination was nowhere to be found. A few months after that, Huawei started listing bands for sale on their online store - but again, the black mesh was absent. (They do, however, now offer a shiny stainless mesh band - for $129.)

Now I like my black Huawei Watch with black links just fine. I think it's a great-looking combo, and the link band is really well made. I do find, however, that the band frequently feels either too loose or too tight no matter how many links I remove or add back in. There's not a happy medium for my wrist, and that is exacerbated as my arm may swell slightly throughout the day. And I still sometimes get my arm hair (or what’s left of it) pinched and pulled between the links. It’s a great-looking band, but not really a particularly comfortable band. 

I experimented first with a mesh band I found on eBay. I had some issues with getting the right pins to fit the Huawei Watch's 18mm lugs, but I was relatively pleased with the band once I got that sorted. It was easy to adjust for an appropriate fit throughout the day, but having to slide the thick mesh through the clasp made it a real chore to don and doff the watch. The buckle mechanism also added a little bit of thickness to the underside of the band which sometimes caused a little bit of discomfort. Oh, also I somehow managed to break the band into pieces while attempting to swap in the correct pins. While the China-based seller helpfully offered an exchange if I would return the broken band, I wasn't sure it would actually be worth the cost of return shipping. I swapped back to the stock steel links and kept looking.

I recently stumbled across this post from +W Ram showing off his new magnetic clasp Milanese Loop mesh band, and I knew I had to have one. YESOO offers three versions of their Loop band for the Huawei Watch: BlackSilver, and Rose Gold. I ordered the Black one (to match my watch) for $23.99 with free shipping, and it was delivered about a week later - much quicker than the original delivery estimate.