Thursday, March 31, 2011
Look Ma, No Hands! The PodFlexPro Reviewed
Posted by Matthew Shanks in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 07:00 AM
Travelling light is a challenge for many people. Travelling light if you're a technology buff is next to impossible. Between laptops, netbooks, cameras, phones, iPods, iPads, cords and chargers, many travellers now carry a bag filled with just their grown-up toys. Add a toddler into the mix and you have a recipe for carry-on luggage trouble. I found myself in this situation not too long ago travelling on vacation with my wife and daughter on a long flight (just shy of seven hours). I knew keeping an 18 month old toddler amused (not to mention myself) on such a lengthy flight would be a challenge, so I stuffed my gadget bag and off we went.
The newest addition to my gadget bag was the PodFlexPro, from Smart People on Ice. This accessory ($24.95 USD, available from podflexpro.com) is made to accommodate a range of portable media players, from the iPod Touch to iPhones and Android phones. It is a unique product that holds your device in a see-through pocket, and has an integral endoskeleton that can be bent and shaped into a variety of positions to allow hands-free viewing and operation of your device. This allows the PodFlexPro to be molded into a stand for tabletop viewing, hung off a cardio machine at the gym, or hung off the seat-back tray on an airplane.
The PodFlexPro had no issues fitting my fourth generation iPod Touch, although it will be a tighter fit if you leave an iPod case on, as I did. It is much roomier if users take their cases off before using the PodFlexPro. It also has specific openings in the neoprene to allow headphones and charging cables to be inserted into the device during use, although it did not have an opening for my iPod Touch's power button or volume controls. This is a minor quibble though, as most users will insert their device into the PodFlexPro already powered on and operate their volume buttons through the neoprene or with their touchscreen controls.
Image 1: The PodFlexPro, podding and flexing.
The PodFlexPro proved its worth over the long flights, fitting perfectly between the seatback and tray and allowing movies and music to be enjoyed hands-free. It would have been impossible to hold the iPod for such a long time and still manage some semblance of parenting, so the PodFlexPro was a lifesaver. Some users may question the purpose of the see through vinyl window over the device's screen, but it does offer protection to the device within. The protection will be of additional benefit to parents travelling with small children, as it thwarts all attempts to smear the device's screen with messy fingers. Operating my iPod through the vinyl window was easy, although with a heavier touch than normal, and the window didn't show fingerprints much more than my iPod normally does.
With the PodFlexPro, Smart People on Ice have delivered a unique and very useful product for owners of personal media players. I highly recommend it for those looking for a better way to enjoy media on their devices hands-free, especially at the gym or while travelling.
Matthew Shanks is a Professional Engineer and Project Management Professional, based in Calgary, Alberta. His interests include photography, home theater, and gaming. He is happily married and recently welcomed his baby daughter to the family.
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