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    Pokémon GO Plus: The Good and The Bad

    Pokémon GO Plus

    As soon as I heard about the Pokémon GO Plus, I grabbed every game I could part with and went to GameStop to preorder. Niantic hadn’t released a whole lot of details on how the peripheral device would work, but I knew it was supposed to make playing easier, so I was on board. Like many who was excited to get their hands on the accessory, I was disappointed when I heard they were pushing back their original release date from late July until September. However, I waited patiently, have been using it for a few days now, and have come to my opinions on the currently in low supply device.

    The Good

    • Wearing it: Pokémon GO Plus comes with two options for a person to wear it. You can either clip it on your person, or wear it on a bracelet. I love the options, but I have chosen to wear it as a bracelet. It’s lightweight and more comfortable than most watches I’ve worn in my time. I also think it looks pretty cool, as it looks like a cross between a Pokéball, and a map marker on Google Maps.

     

    • Ease of use: Once paired with the Pokémon GO app, the Pokémon GO Plus makes playing so much easier. The device will vibrate and flash with a green light when a Pokémon is near. Then, all you have to do is push the button on the device for a chance to catch the Pokémon. If the device flashes with different colors, it means you caught the Pokémon. If it flashes red, it means the Pokémon ran away.

     

    • Pokémon GO Plus will vibrate and flash blue if you pass within range of a Pokéstop. Again, pressing the button on the device will count as “spinning” the Pokéstop in game, rewarding you with items. However, if the device flashes red after trying to “spin” the Pokéstop, then it means you have already traveled too far away from the Pokéstop in order for the spin to count.

     

    • Niantic’s peripheral also makes hatching eggs easier. While the device is connected via Bluetooth to the app, it acts as a pedometer. No longer do you have to worry about whether or not the app is “counting” how far you’re traveling due to it’s not always so reliable GPS. The Pokémon GO Plus counts your steps that are then read in the app as distance traveled. If someone were so inclined, they could lie on their couch, shake the device, and hatch all the eggs their heart desires.

     

    • Using other apps: While Pokémon GO is connected to the Pokémon GO Plus via Bluetooth, you can back out of the app and it will run in the background. This means you can use other apps on your phone and still catch all the Pokémon that come into range.

    The Bad

    • Battery Life: Since the app has to be connected via Bluetooth in order for the Pokémon GO Plus to work, it does cause a little more strain on the battery. It’s very easy to keep the app going all day to maximize on the Pokémon extravaganza, however, be prepared to charge your phone more than once a day if you do this.

     

    • Disconnects after a time: I’m sure they put this in as a way to help save on phone battery life, but it can become annoying to keep going back into the app to reconnect the Pokémon GO Plus.

     

    • Running out of Pokeballs: Since it’s so much easier to catch Pokemon with Pokémon GO Plus, be prepared to run out of balls more quickly. I accidentally went through 100 balls in just a little over a day. However, if you’re someone who lives close to a ton of Pokéstops, then Pokémon GO Plus will make it much easier for you to keep up your supply of Pokéballs without having to throw money at microtransactions.

    The Verdict

    8/10 Would buy again.

    Pokémon GO Plus is a freaking godsend and I can’t sing its praises enough. Get your hands on one as soon as you can. It has made Pokémon GO fun for me again. If you’re someone who stopped playing because it became a grind, or because you just didn’t have time for it, Pokémon GO Plus might just be what you need to get back into the game.

    Pokémon GO Plus is available at most retailers that sell games for $34.99.

    Influenster SuperMomVoxBox Unboxing

     

    The Mommy Gamers SuperMomVoxBox Influenster Unboxing
    Mommy Gamer Marcia unboxes the SuperMomVoxBox from Influenster.  Influenster is a community for social media hotshots to share news, products, and reviews.  Influensters usually don’t know which products are in each box so unboxings are always a fun surprise treat!

     

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    A Noir Comic for Kids: Fourth Grade Confidential

    AA Comics’ quirky and cute detective saga is perfect for families

    fourthgradeFirst, a disclaimer: I know Neal Simon, the mastermind behind AA Comics. I think he’s awesome, I think his kids are awesome, and his brilliant wife is one of my closest friends. It doesn’t hurt that my own kid, a.k.a. “Noel the Mole,” has been rendered in black and white glory within the pages of this comic book. I believe this was a wonderful project for a lawyer-by-day, creative-type-by-night to do with his kids, and I hope it inspires more of us to do the same. So I am a bit biased. I make no apologies for this fact.

    Fourth Grade Confidential is one of those perfect family-friendly entertainment mixes – fun for kids, yet smart enough for adults. It features great, silly, cheesy one-liners that kids will appreciate, and references that they won’t. As a writer, I always tend to notice dialogue first, and here it’s both enlightened and funny – in the dry, Simon-esque way I’ve come to know. Some examples:  “My words fell harder than a kid on a defective Slip ‘n Slide.” “I’d accuse him of Napoleonic complex, if he could understand it or I could spell it.”

    4thconfidOr this exchange between Adin and Noel the Mole: Adin says, “I’ll tell the other kids you like ‘My Little Pony.'” Noel’s response is, “It’s 2015. Gender stereotypes are lame. Plus, these days it’s socially acceptable to be a brony.” Basically, the author takes a bunch of noir cliches and pop culture references and makes fun of them in a way that’s totally acceptable for everyone in the family.

    The black-and-white quality of the art lends it drama, as with real noir, and Simon’s bold, often stylistically simple drawings fit the style well. I can confirm that his characters, based on real people, are fairly accurate representations. Many of the settings are real too, and it’s fun for me as a resident of the northern Chicago suburbs to see how he’s transformed them into comic art.

    The story is fairly straightforward: Ayla, Adin’s little sister, loses her stuffed bunny. Adin, being the good big brother he is, takes on the case. He consults informants, who send him along the path towards solving the crime. He encounters kids who are clearly bad news. He even gets help from some new allies – a friend and cousin show up late in the story to help (this part feels the most obligatory, but I get it – these awesome girls had to be included).  The story is well-told and understandable, though there’s nothing new or especially polished about the plot’s actual execution. The strength of this mystery is in the humor and personality that permeates throughout.

    The comic book also includes parody ads, geeky references, and additional art clearly inspired and spearheaded by the kids involved. It’s obvious this project was a labor of love, and I look forward to the proposed (as in, I proposed it, just now, are you listening, Neal?) sequel, “Sixth Grade Confidential,” which hopefully will feature a new member of the Simon family and the return of its sassy-yet-sweet cast of young characters – including Noel the Mole (hint, hint).

    Fourth Grade Confidential can be purchased at DriveThruComics.com and on ComiXology for $4.99. There’s a Facebook page, and even a card game. You can find AA Comics at www.aa-comics.com.

     

     

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    Aftershokz Gamez Headset Review and Giveaway

    Wireless bone conduction headset

    Aftershokz-Gamez-Headset-1

    I don’t know about you, but I’m not a huge fan of sticking things in my ears. Sure, earbuds do their job, but after a while they make my ears really itchy. Not to mention it blocks out your surroundings and make it difficult to hear coworkers approaching your cubicle, on coming traffic and other important environment processing information.

    Luckily, there are options for ear bud hating people like me. Wireless options even! The Aftershokz Gamez headset is “a wireless bone conduction headset for safe gaming on PC, Mac and mobile devices. The lightweight, open ear design keeps gamers connected to the game and their surroundings while PremiumPitch+™ audio creates an immersive stereo environment for gaming at home or on the go.”

    What is bone conduction? According to Wikipedia “Bone conduction is the conduction of sound to the inner ear through the bones of the skull. Bone conduction transmission can be used with individuals with normal or impaired hearing.” I’m intrigued!

    Aftershokz-Gamez-Headset-2

    Features:

    • Bone conduction technology delivers music through your cheekbones, ensuring ears remain completely open to hear surroundings
    • OpenFit™ design ensures maximum awareness and comfort during long-term wear
    • PremiumPitch+™ guarantees a premium audio experience, including wide dynamic range and rich bass
    • LeakSlayer™ technology significantly reduces natural sound leakage
    • Precisely placed dual noise canceling microphones exclude surrounding noise, and enhance speech, ideal for clear communication with other gamers during play
    • Enjoy six hours of continuous play on a single charge
    • EQ presets boost bass and reduce vibration
    • IP55 certified to repel sweat, dust and moisture
    • Audrey Says™ voice prompts guide users through power, pair, play and talk
    • Hassle-free 2-year warranty

    If you’re not used to wearing a headset that goes around the back of your head, sporting the Aftershokz Gamez might take a little getting used to. My teenage son complained they were uncomfortable immediately after putting them on. I, however, forgot I was wearing them after 15 minutes and liked how easy they were to hide under my hair.

    The Gamez headset is wireless and connects to your PC, Mac, and mobile devices via bluetooth technology. The ability to make phone calls, chat in game and listen to game audio without being deaf to your environment is it’s biggest selling point. I was hoping that the sound wouldn’t bleed out, but the truth is those near by will be able to hear what you’re listening to, as is the case with most other headsets/earbuds.

    I don’t know if it was intentional, but the metallic green color makes me immediately think Master Chief, which I’m sure some of you will appreciate.

    The headset itself comes with a USB charger, an adjustable tension band, reflector stickers and an AfterShokz branded pouch to store it all. (Retail price: $99.95)

    To purchase, visit: AfterShokz.com or enter using the widget below to win yourself a pair.

    Aftershokz-Gamez-Headset-3

    AfterShokz Gamez Wireless Headset

    [box type=”info”]I was gifted an AfterShokz Gamez headset and supplied another to give away. You can read more about our official disclosure policy here. Headsets provided by AfterShockz.[/box]

    Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus

    Liquid magic in a bottle

    downy-wrinkle-releaser-YT

    I don’t iron. It’s crazy, I know. I can’t say I’ve never ironed — I do own an iron and a large ironing board — but the number of times I’ve ironed in the last five years is like… less than one.

    I remember seeing the first anti wrinkle releaser commercial and it looked magical. That might have been the reason why I never purchased any: I just assumed it didn’t work. Could it really be that easy?

    downy-wrinkle-releaser-plus

    When I was contacted by Downy I jumped at the chance to try this stuff. No, seriously. You should have seen the dance I did when my big blue box arrived. The package contained:

    • (1) 33.8 oz bottle of Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus (Light Fresh Scent)
    • (2) 16.9 oz bottles of Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus (Clean Linen Scent exclusively at Target)
    • (3) 3 oz bottles of Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus (Light Fresh Scent)
    • An “I <3 not ironing” shirt

    I-heart-not-ironing

    Ideally, my husband and I share the chore of laundry. He washes, I fold and put away. At least that’s how it’s supposed to go. Usually, what happens is: He washes and then clean laundry sits in the basket (I work a full time job and help run this site. Don’t judge me). Deciding what to wear consists of a daily dig through the basket; our clothes, wrinkled and no longer smelling fresh.

    If your laundry habits sound anything like ours then rejoice in knowing Downy Wrinkle Releaser will effectively kill two birds with one stone! Both the Light Fresh Scent and the Clean Linen Scent smell great. Most exciting of all is having a travel-sized, TSA-compliant option available. What better time to freshen up and un-wrinkle your laundry then after it’s been sitting in a suit case?

    If you’re still not sold, be sure to check out my demo video below. It really IS that simple and effective. I’ve been telling all my gal pals about Downy Wrinkle Releaser, as well as anyone else willing to listen. Why should we do more work than we have to? I don’t know about you, but let’s be real, I <3 not ironing.

    [box type=”info”]You can read more about our official disclosure policy here. A sample box of Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus was provided to The Mommy Gamers by Downy for review.[/box]

    Lays Flavored Chips: Southern Biscuits and Gravy + West Coast Truffle Fries

    Do us a flavor and vote for your favorite

    Lays Flavored Chips

    If you haven’t heard yet, Lays potato chips does this crazy thing called “Do Us a Flavor” where they ask people to come up with outrageous flavors which are later voted on by the community. In podcast Episode 98: One Armed Ninja we briefly discuss some of these peculiar flavors. In an effort to take things one step further (and gross Marcia out at the same time), John and I decided to make a tasting video of the two flavors we purchased. Said video is featured below. The review itself is about 4 minutes long and the rest is… well, you’ll see. Enjoy!

    V-MODA Crossfade M-100 Review

    Photo Credit: V-MODA

    Photo Credit: V-MODA

    A New Contender Has Arrived

    When searching for the ideal gaming headset, there are a few things I look for: good aesthetic design, comfort, excellent microphone quality, and a decent price range. I had yet to venture outside of the $100-175 range, but V-MODA just changed that for me.

    I was pretty excited when the mail man delivered my package. The review kit I received included:

    V-MODA Crossfade M-100 ($310):

    • Exoskeleton hard case
    • Crossfade M-100 headset over-ear/noise isolating headset
    • 1-button speak easy mic cable
    • SharePlay audio cable
    • 1/4″ 24k gold pro adapter

    V-MODA BoomPro ($30)

    • BoomPro mic
    • 3.5mm Y-adapter

    My husband was kind enough to record an unboxing video for us (I was being camera shy that day), you can check that out below.

    Thoughtful Packaging

    First things first. It’s obvious a lot of thought went into the packaging. The box is sturdy and has a suede handle and button clasp. There was also a small red ribbon that needed to be cut before the box could be opened. “This is something like grand that’s about to happen here” John notes. I share his excitement.

    The headset’s CliqFold metal hinge allows it to be neatly stored within it’s own clam shell case. At first I tried putting them back into the case after each use, but I use them frequently and it got old fairly quick. However, I do see the value of having a travel case and anyone that travels with their headset will certainly appreciate it. The wires are neatly wrapped inside with reusable Velcro ties and are held in place with elastic bands at each end of the clam shell. This is a great example of the care and thought that went into the packaging. It even has a carabiner clip so that the case can be easily hung from backpacks, etc.

    Clam Shell Travel Case

    Clam Shell Travel Case

    Impressive Sound Quality

    While the sound quality of music and video games was great, the headset made it painfully obvious how shitty cell/VoIP calls really sound. This is also the part where I tell you it has a ‘unique sound signature characterized by its addictive deep yet clean bass, vibrant mids, and clear highs’ but I won’t bullshit you. I’m not an audiophile. I’ll just do you the favor of linking to some other reviews, at the end of this post, that can describe the exceptional sound quality in detail. What I can tell you is that it was voted 2013 and 2014 “Best DJ Headphone” by DJ Mag. I’m pretty sure that’s a big deal.

    The BoomPro is a professional-grade boom mic for gaming, Skype, broadcast/podcast. It’s compatible with all headphones that have a 3.5mm port and has a SteelFlex adjustable boom arm. Besides gaming and streaming with it, I did get a chance to record a couple of voice overs and I was really impressed with the quality. I normally use my Blue Yeti to record The Mommy Gamers podcast but I’m considering a switch to the Crossfade M-100 since it sounded THAT good and I wear a headset anyway. One thing to note is that the mic does not come with a windsock. I positioned it the way I would have with my previous headset but I found myself popping P’s. Adjusting the mic to be a bit further away from my mouth seemed to curb the problem. However, if you feel strongly about having a windsock, you can purchase one for under $2 on Amazon.

    V-MODA Crossfade M-100 vs. Competitor

    V-MODA Crossfade M-100 vs. Competitor

    Comfort and Durability

    The Crossfade M-100 over-the-ear headset is fairly lightweight (280g) and incredibly comfortable. They have an adjustable ergonomic steelflex headband and fit perfectly over my ears. I don’t think that was the case for John, so he and those with larger ears will be happy to know that they offer XL Memory Cushions for $20. The cables included are Kevlar reinforced (great news for me since I have a kitten that likes nibbling on wires) and able to withstand 1+ million cable bends. The headband will survive 10+ flat bends.

    V-MODA Crossfade M-100

    V-MODA Crossfade M-100

    The BoomPro wires are also Kevlar reinforced. It has a mute switch and rotary volume control which seemed a little sensitive. I found myself unintentionally lowering the volume while shifting in my seat. Clipping it to my shirt eliminated the problem. The mic itself can be attached to the left or the right side of the headset and since it’s removable there’s no longer a need for gamers to have separate headsets for music and gaming.

    V-MODA BoomPro

    V-MODA BoomPro

    Although not included in my kit, V-MODA also offers the CoilPro ($30) which extends listening reach by 12 feet for DJ booths, electronic music instruments or productions studios.

    Stylish Design

    The headset itself is available in Matte Black, White Silver and Shadow. The shields come in a variety of colors and can be customized with laser engraving for FREE with purchase of the Crossfade M-100s on the V-MODA website ($45 value). While the look of the shields didn’t originally appeal to me, seeing images of them customized started to seduce me. There are currently 19 different colors available with Dark Purple and Electric Pink (YES!) among them.

    Overall the V-MODA Crossfade M-100s are a stylish, comfortable, durable and great sounding headset worth the $310 price point. I will definitely be buying a set for my husband and we’ve already been discussing how we’ll customize them.

    Big thanks to V-MODA for the review kit and for making an impressive first impression.

    Where To Purchase

    You can purchase your own Crossfade M-100s (with Free laser engraving – $45 value) and BoomPro directly from V-MODA or alternatively you can order from Amazon. They are also available at Best Buy, Ralph Lauren at Macy’s, Brookstone and Microsoft Stores.

    [box type=”info”]This post contains an affiliate link. You can read more about our official disclosure policy here. Crossfade M-100 and BoomPro Review kit provided by V-MODA.[/box]

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