iPhone Life magazine

Forgot Father's Day? It's Not Too Late to Get These as Gifts

If you have traveling geeks in your life (or are a geek traveler yourself) and are looking for two very cool tech products released this year, check out the booq Boa squeeze ($129.95) and the FAVI Bluetooth Keyboard ($39.99) (both plenty cool for non-geeks as well).
At first glance, the two products are seemingly unrelated, until you see how perfectly the FAVI keyboard slides into one of the roomy pockets inside the sturdy ballistic nylon Boa. And if you register your new bag with booq, the company even helps recover your precious bag if lost along with anything still in it (presumably, your keypad too)!

 

booq Boa Squeeze

With each new laptop I'm provided on the job, they issue me a new laptop travel backpack. They don't usually last very long.
I throw them around, drag them, kick them, and generally abuse the crap out of them. I have dragged them to the relative wilds of Afghanistan, Iraq, and even the Australian Outback. I need a tougher carrying bag than a casual tech traveler, so I am always on the lookout for a bag like the Boa squeeze. The Boa is not only a stronger grain of nylon (1650 denier), it's also water resistant, lightweight, and comfortable.
The Boa has pockets within pockets, and the interior has lots of space to stuff all of your gear. The somewhat form-rigid outer shell is not only light and comfortable on your back, but provides an amazing amount of room inside. A semi-minor complaint about the interior is that the laptop compartment pockets are not extruded pouches, but are basically sewn onto the lining. If you have a bigger laptop that stretches the interior at all, the pockets will be tight.
My laptop has one of the larger battery packs, so it makes for a pretty tight fit for stuffing anything other than say a CD or DVD into the pockets once the laptop is inside. Of course, the Boa has more external elongated pockets on each side and compartments on the main flap to make it a moot point really. I was able to unload my current backpack gear to the Boa including iPad mini, laptop, power supplies, iPods, mouse, and all the rest of my travel gear with plenty of room to spare!
You can register your new bag with booq, and they guarantee to get it back to you should someone find it and return it. The registration site was a simple email affair, but not particularly secure (I couldn't force an https session). I won't sign up to any online web service or go through any registration process (requiring the sharing of private information), that does not feature Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) security. This is not hard to do, so I strongly suggest the vendor add this basic privacy protection. 
 
Note: Here's a tip to remember when signing up or registering with public websites or services. If you do not see the little lock icon somewhere in your browser when you hit the page with the account or sign-up form, try reloading the page but with an appended "https" at the front as opposed to the non-encrypted "http" to ensure your private data is not sent across the internet in the clear. If you get an error or do not see the lock icon, I suggest not signing up until the service can support better website security. Most sites like this should automatically redirect your browser to the SSL page.
 

FAVI Mini Bluetooth Keyboard

If you are a serious thumb typist or are just looking for a slim line portable keypad that works with iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Android or your PC/Mac, look no further than the FAVI Entertainment Mini Bluetooth Keyboard. Not only does the FAVI have a full-featured keyboard with Function keys, player controls, and shortcuts, but a surprisingly usable (yet somewhat small) mouse pad! Also handy: discrete PowerPoint controls and a laser pointer! 
This is probably one of the coolest (and most versatile) all-in-one input/control options I have found, particularly for an entertainment center PC or as a travel input option. It's smaller than most remotes and gives you total command of your device. My kids grabbed it at Staples for me for Father's Day for less than $40. It has a removable/rechargeable battery and comes with a Bluetooth USB adapter in case your PC doesn't have internal BT! 
The keys on the FAVI are chicklet-like, so if you have large fingers, you may have trouble with them. They also require firm pressing. I won't recommend this keyboard replace your full-sized one at home, but this is perfect for mobile situations (like a slide presentation) , typing up a quick note to someone while on the train, or as a simple keypad for your entertainment center. Pairing/connecting it to my devices required simply turning on the unit, discovering it in your BT manager, then confirming a security code on the keyboard.
The Verdict
If you missed out on any Father's Day gifts this year and are still looking to scratch your geek itch, then I give a firm recommendation to get a Boa squeeze, the FAVI Bluetooth keyboard, or both! The backpack has sufficient space for all your gear (including the FAVI), is lightweight and tough, and the BT keyboard is perfect for any situation where a full-sized keyboard and mouse are impractical. You can grab them at the links above.
 
Boa Pros
Holds most accessory gear
Comfortable and sturdy construction.
 
Cons
Sewn-in pockets
 
FAVI Pros
Slim design;
Fully functional wireless keyboard/pad
 
Cons
Keys a bit hard to press for lengthy typing sessions
 
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Nate Adcock's picture

Nate Adcock is a system and integration engineer with experience managing and administering a variety of computing environments. He has worked extensively with mobile gadgets of all shapes and sizes for many years. He is also a former military weather forecaster. Nate is a regular contributor for the iphonelife.com and smartphonemag.com blogs and helps manage both websites. Read more from Nate at natestera.drupalgardens.com or e-mail him at nate@iphonelife.com.