Owlet Smart Sock 2

So, here it goes. My first review of a baby product.

What is it?

The Owlet Smart Sock 2 is the second version of a sock that measures a babies heart rate, oxygen levels, and tracks their sleep. I was a little hesitant to put a lot of faith into a device such as this, but I will tell you right off the bat, I can’t imagine not having it.

The Sock

At first, I didn’t think our newborn would care for having a device strapped to his foot all night long. And for all I know, he may not..he still isn’t talking to us at three-weeks-old. Weird.

Photo courtesy of OwletCare.com

But he really doesn’t fight it. It took a few nights to get it strapped on right, but after a couple of times, you get the hang of it.

The sock has a washable-fabric outer layer with a bulge from the heart rate sensor.

Who is it for?

In the box, it comes with three sizes of socks which are very easy to switch out as your baby grows. The socks are made to fit babies from 6 pounds to 25 pounds and up to 18-months in age. Out of the box, in our first week home, we had to go up to the second size. So, if it feels like it is too small for your baby, it probably is.

Base and Battery

Also in the box, is a base station. This is what communicates with the sock through bluetooth. The bluetooth range is up to 100 feet. I could not verify that distance but I think it is safe to say, it is correct.

One downside with the base is the light. The light has a purpose but boy is it annoying. When all is well, the base station lights up green. ALL NIGHT LONG. There is no option to turn this light off. I was wrong. Thanks to a couple of readers, you can dim the light by pressing and holding the base’s button. The reason for the lights is to notify you if there is an issue with heart rate, oxygen level, or disconnection. Along with the light, are the sounds. The sound I completely understand. It is ear-piercing and will wake you out of your sleep. I would really like if you could at least dim the light. Again, I was wrong on this.

The base is also how you charge the sock. In the box, you receive a micro-USB cable. To charge the sock, just plug it in every morning after taking it off of your baby and you’ll never have to worry about a dead battery. Owlet does say that you’ll get 18 hours of battery, which is nice to know.

How it works

Here is where the “smarts” come in. Of course this sock has an app. The Owlet Care app, which works for iOS and Android, is where you will see all of your babies readings. From there, you can see their heart rate, oxygen levels and the sock’s battery.

If the sock detects that your babies oxygen levels drop below 80%, the base and app will notify you. Also, if your babies heart rate rises above 220 beats per minute (BPM) or drops below 60 BPM, it will notify you.

To dismiss any readings, the base has a button on the top that you can press. The only readings we have gotten so far is from a “disconnection”. This is usually when me or my wife are in the process of changing or feeding him in the middle of the night and when he is wiggling like a wild man.

Something Owlet also advertises is sleep tracking. I’m not impressed by it too much. It is nice to see when you put the sock on and roughly when he woke up. But with all of the intermittent “naps” throughout the night, it kind of renders this useless. Maybe once he is waking once or twice a night this will be a handy feature. Three weeks in, it isn’t a selling feature.

Bottom Line

My wife and I can’t imagine not having the Owlet Smart Sock in our lives so far. It allows us to get some sleep when he is sleeping. And we need it. We are still learning this whole parenting thing and this is not a substitute to pay attention to your child’s needs. So please, use common sense.

You can pickup the Owlet Smart Sock 2 for $299.

Disclaimer from Owlet : *The Smart Sock is an information-gathering product intended to assist in tracking the well-being of healthy babies from 6 to 25 pounds and up to 18 months of age. It is not a medical monitor or other medical device and is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, alleviate or prevent any disease or health condition or investigate, replace or modify anatomy or any physiological process. You should always follow pediatrician-recommended safe sleep practices when using the Smart Sock.

Disclaimer – Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will make a commission if you decide to purchase after clicking the link.

The $200 Apple Watch

It’s sad to even write this because I love Fitbit. They have done nothing wrong. Well, except for not being an Apple Watch.

On Tuesday’s event, Apple announced the Series 5 Apple Watch. You can read all about that here.

But what I’m here to tell you about is the drop in price of the Apple Watch Series 3. Yes, this watch is now two years old but it is also only $199. For everything that the Apple Watch does, $199 is an amazing deal.

Fitbit just released their Fitbit Versa 2 smart watch. It starts at $199 as well but when comparing features and quality of materials, the Apple Watch is the winner.

Some of the benefits that the Fitbit has is the amazing battery life, the newly-updated app, and the sharing with friends. Just like Apple keeps us in their eco-system, Fitbit has been around for so long that there are and always will be the Fitbit faithful.

With all that said, the Apple Watch gives you a top-notch build and features that go beyond just your normal step-tracker. And yes, it does that too.

My wife, mom, and sister all have the Series 3 and they dont have signs of slowing down. For $199, the Apple Watch Series 3 gets you a great smartwatch, an extremely accurate fitness device and a potential life-saver.

Go pick up the Apple Watch Series 3!

Disclaimer – Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will make a commission if you decide to purchase after clicking the link.

iPhone 11, 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max

Another September and another slew of iPhones were announced. For the second year in a row, Apple graced us with three new iPhones. Rumored for months, the new names of the iPhones are the iPhone 11, the iPhone 11 Pro and the iPhone 11 Pro Max.

Courtesy of Apple.com

iPhone 11

Last year’s iPhone XR was a hit amongst consumers. The naming scheme made it seem like an afterthought though. Last year, we also had the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max as the “premium” models. With the iPhone XR thrown in there, at a lower-cost, this was automatically seen as a budget iPhone. When in reality, it was a top-notch device.

This year’s naming line-up gives more credit to the “lower-cost” iPhone, the iPhone 11. With a new name, the iPhone 11 just seems like part of the family as it deserves.

The iPhone 11 is the upgrade from the iPhone XR. It has the same 6.1-inch LCD screen. So what’s new with the iPhone 11? A lot.

Per usual, the iPhone 11 gets the new A13 Bionic processor making it one of the fastest smartphones on the market. Also, it gets a second camera. Last year’s XR only had one camera, which was kind of a disappointment. The second camera on the iPhone 11 is an ultra-wide lens that allows you to fit more into the frame when taking the picture. To put it simply, you aren’t going to take a bad picture. Pretty much taken from the Google Pixel, the iPhone 11 gets Night Shot. This allows you to get those shots where there is little light. The difference that was shown off was amazing. Take a look below:

Courtesy of Apple.com
Courtesy of Apple.com

Another upgrade in the camera department is that you can finally take portrait photos of your pets with the iPhone 11. This was a lacking feature in last year’s XR. I am not sure if this is something people are into, but now you can take slow-motion video on the front camera…or as Apple called it…”Slow-fies”.

According to Apple, the iPhone 11 will get 17-hours of video playback on its battery. This is one hour longer than last year’s model Surprisingly though, it no longer has the best battery in an iPhone. We will talk about that later on.

The iPhone 11 has a water resistance of up to 2 meters for 30 minutes.

The price of the iPhone 11 is the biggest selling-point, in my opinion. Yes, it has lower quality components and materials than the other models discussed later, but starting at $699 is amazing in a world of $1,000 smartphones.

Here are your pricing and storage options:

64 GB – $699

128 GB – $749

256 GB – $849

Along with those storage options, the new colors are white, black, green, yellow, purple and red.

Courtesy of Apple.com

The iPhone 11 will be available for pre-order at 5am PDT or 8am EST on Friday, September 9/13 with a release date of September 20th.

iPhone 11 Pro

As with last year’s iPhone XS, the iPhone Pro is the new premium iPhone. For simple clarification, the iPhone 11 Pro is the direct upgrade from the iPhone XS. Along with the 5.8-inch sized iPhone 11 Pro, Apple also made sure big-phone lovers were served. Similar to the XS Max from 2018, the iPhone 11 Pro Max is now the big 6.5-inch iPhone.

Courtesy of Apple.com

Like the iPhone 11, the Pro gets the A13 Bionic chip, Night Shot camera feature but also has a lot different with it.

Let’s take a look at the camera first. This is the first iPhone with a third camera on the back. What does this third camera get you? It adds that ultra-wide viewing angle that the iPhone 11 gave us but also keep the telephoto lens so that you can zoom in 2x.

With up to five-more hours than the XS Max, you get the longest-lasting iPhone battery available, with the iPhone 11 Pro Max. The smaller 11 Pro also gets a nice battery upgrade gaining four-more hours than last year’s XS.

Another difference in the Pro models is that they get better water resistance with being protected up to 4 meters for 30 minutes. Also, for the first time, Apple is supplying an 18-watt charging brick in the box. Finally, we are getting a faster charger right out the gate. For the price, it is about time.

Here are your pricing and storage options for the 11 Pro/Pro Max:

64 GB – $999/$1099

256 GB – $1149/1249

512 GB – $1349/1449

With new models, come new colors. There are now four colors: midnight green, silver, space gray and gold Along with new colors, the back of the 11 Pros will be a matte-glass material.

The iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max will be available for pre-order at 5am PDT or 8am EST on Friday, September 9/13 with a release date of September 20th.

I will follow this up with my thoughts after I let this sink in a little. But for now, here is all the basic information you need for today’s iPhone announcement.

Are you planning on getting any of the new iPhones? Let me know on twitter and Instagram!

Do You Need the New iPhone?

In less than 24 hours, Apple will be announcing their new lineup of iPhones. Every year, without a doubt, I plan on getting Apple’s latest and greatest. This year? Not so much.

Over the last two years, I really started wondering if I needed to upgrade each time Apple released something new. I don’t have that problem with my iPad. I am still using my 2014 iPad Air 2. It still gets the job done.

When I upgraded from my iPhone 7 Plus to the iPhone X, it was a huge upgrade. And I loved it. Do I regret it? No, I really don’t. But that was the year that got me thinking, “What more does the new iPhone get me”? 2018 comes around and the XS came out. Guess what? I upgraded again. So I have spent the last 10 months or so really contemplating whether or not I need to upgrade in 2019.

I have a buddy that has been using an iPhone 6 as his daily phone and he said he is going to run it until it dies. I just wish I could have that outlook on technology. I have been using an iPhone SE over the last two and a half years for my work device and it does dang-near everything I need it to do. Does it have the greatest camera? No. Is it as snappy as my iPhone XS? Sure isn’t. But I can do just about every task with that as I can with my phone that is almost four times the cost. With a baby coming shortly, I want my wife and I to have great phones for photo-taking purposes. Looking at the pictures my iPhone XS takes, there is really no reason to upgrade. The camera is fantastic.

This is also a money thing. Some people, like myself, can use the excuse that they are on the iPhone Upgrade Program. This is where you can upgrade your iPhone every year for pretty much the same monthly cost. Fantastic deal, right? It really is. Especially for those who upgrade every year, anyway. But what if we held onto that phone one extra year? After that, the phone is paid off and you have some equity in it. At that point, when the next round of iPhones come through, you can trade-in your phone and get some money off that brand-spankin’ new device.

Maybe upgrading our phones less is better for the environment? I am not smart enough to talk about the impacts smartphones have on the environment, so I won’t even try. But it is something to think about.

But this is also my thing. Tech has always been a very expensive hobby. Some people are into clothes, some people spend their money going to concerts, and some spend crazy amounts traveling. However you spend your money is up to you, but technology is my thing. Although, just because you have the money to spend, does that mean you should? That is a decision we all have to make ourselves.

I’m not saying that I won’t upgrade my iPhone this fall, but as of right now, that is the plan. I would love to have a paid-off phone going into next years 2020 iPhone.

Are you upgrading your phone this year? What device are you upgrading from? Let me know on twitter and Instagram!

Apple Card

When I started this blog I never thought I would be writing about an Apple credit card. But, here we are. I have been using the newly-released Apple Card over the last week and a half all without using a physical card.

If you need an explainer of what the Apple Card is, check out this article here.

With that being said, I love the software part of this “card”. I haven’t even activated the physical titanium card yet. I have solely been using my phone via Apple Pay when using the Apple Card.

The layout within the Wallet app on the iPhone is very cool. It breaks down where you have been spending money and also changes the color of the virtual card based on your spending habits. To no one’s surprise, my entire card is an orangish color because it is all mainly food…anyways…when you pay off the card it will go back to its crisp white color within your Wallet app.

Apple’s goal with the Apple Card is to make the user more aware of how credit cards work. Now, during the introduction, Apple said there would be no fees associated with the card, which is great. But that doesn’t mean you are free from interest rates. Depending on your credit, Apple will attach an appropriate interest rate to your card.

The reason everyone should be okay with using this card is because of the privacy that this card offers. I can take pictures all day and no one would know my card number. Only the user of the card can access the card number within their Wallet app on their iPhone. Even then, if you want a new card number, you can simply request a new one. As a reminder, when you use Apple Pay, your cards are protected even if the merchant has been compromised. I can confidently say that the Apple Card is the most secure credit card you can find.

Now, some disclaimers:

  • Do you have credit card debt? If so, do not apply for this card.
  • Do you keep a balance on your credit cards and pay interest? If so, do not apply for this card.
  • Are you an impulse shopper? If so, do not apply for this card. Especially for how easy it is to have a new credit line at your fingertips in minutes.
  • Do you already have a credit card that gives you points or cash back? Compare the points and see how you can manipulate each card for the most cash back and see if it is worth it to you.
  • Do you pay your balance on your credit card every month and love Apple? Do it! You will get 3% back on all Apple purchases through Apple. This also includes apps and your Apple Music subscription.

Bottom Line

Alright folks, this is a credit card. Nothing more. Of course I love Apple and knew I was applying for this as soon as Apple announced it. This is not my primary card but I will only be using it for my Apple and Apple Pay purchases to maximize my cash back. I have another credit card that gives me similar or better cash back depending on the type of purchase.

Just be responsible. One day I will publish my draft talking bout debts and credit cards that has been sitting there since May. Until then, be smart about your credit and debts. To put it simply, if you can’t afford it, don’t buy.

Are you applying for the Apple Card? Let me know on twitter and Instagram!

Must Read : Beneath a Scarlet Sky

My goal for the year is to read 27 books. As of the end of July, I am at 16. If I keep at my current pace, I will hit my goal.

Very few books jump out at me that I can absolutely say, “Go read”!

Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan is one of them. The war, the love, the hope and the tragedy makes the 515 pages fly by. Go check it out.

From Amazon:

Based on the true story of a forgotten hero, the USA Today and #1 Amazon Charts bestseller Beneath a Scarlet Sky is the triumphant, epic tale of one young man’s incredible courage and resilience during one of history’s darkest hours.

Pino Lella wants nothing to do with the war or the Nazis. He’s a normal Italian teenager—obsessed with music, food, and girls—but his days of innocence are numbered. When his family home in Milan is destroyed by Allied bombs, Pino joins an underground railroad helping Jews escape over the Alps, and falls for Anna, a beautiful widow six years his senior.

In an attempt to protect him, Pino’s parents force him to enlist as a German soldier—a move they think will keep him out of combat. But after Pino is injured, he is recruited at the tender age of eighteen to become the personal driver for Adolf Hitler’s left hand in Italy, General Hans Leyers, one of the Third Reich’s most mysterious and powerful commanders.

Now, with the opportunity to spy for the Allies inside the German High Command, Pino endures the horrors of the war and the Nazi occupation by fighting in secret, his courage bolstered by his love for Anna and for the life he dreams they will one day share.”

Best Buy and Apple team up for repairs

When I lived in Montana, I was about six hours away from an Apple Store. Still, today, I am an hour away from one.

How close is the nearest Best Buy? 10 minutes.

That’s why I love this news.

Best Buy can now perform Apple-certified repairs. This includes same-day iPhone repairs. Being a certified repair is a big deal because it will keep your warranty in-tact.

Repairs can be requested at support.apple.com/repair.

Apple’s press release is here.