tech lab plus

Quick-change lens is an iOpener

Olloclip quick-change lens for Apple iPhone 4 and 4S by Olloclip

Olloclipquick-change lens for Apple iPhone 4and 4S by Olloclip


Remember when cellphone cameras were lousy? These days, even pros can fall back on the very nice camera in the Apple Inc. iPhone. But its built-in lens has its limits.

Enter Olloclip, with a clever little attachment that’s three lenses in one: wide-angle, fisheye, and a macro lens that will focus on tiny objects just a few centimeters away.

An attractive gadget that snaps onto a corner of the iPhone 4 or 4S, the Olloclip fits perfectly over the existing lens. Too bad it also fits over the iPhone’s LED flash. That means you can use the Olloclip only where there is plenty of ambient light.


The Olloclip is a two-sided device. Two of its three lenses, macro and wide-angle, are on one side. You unscrew the wide-angle attachment to use the macro, or flip the Olloclip to get at the fisheye.

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All three lenses take photos that deliver the usual clarity and balanced color of the iPhone 4 camera, but with new perspectives that the standard lens could never provide. The Olloclip is a first-class iPhone add-on for serious photo buffs.

Beats by Dr. Dre Beatbox Bluetoothspeaker by Monster Cable Products Inc.

$449.95 at

I’m no fan of the musical stylings of Dr. Dre, but he puts together a mighty nice speaker. The hip-hop impresario has teamed up with audio equipment maker Monster Cable to create the best Bluetooth speaker I’ve tested so far. And yes, I said the same thing last week about the Geneva XS. But I can’t help it if Monster and the good Dr. have raised the bar once more.

At $450, the Beatbox is for well-heeled music buffs only, but they’ll get a lot for their money. It features a dock for hooking up Apple audio products like the iPhone and iPod. There’s a remote control unit for changing tracks and albums at a distance. You can plug in six D batteries and run the Beatbox anywhere, or just plug it into the wall.

And of course there’s the joy of Bluetooth listening. As with other wireless speakers I’ve tested, setup was a snap. My Android phone instantly identified the Beatbox and locked on, and within about a minute I was dancing - well, hobbling - to Michael Jackson’s “PYT.’’ The sound was excellent, particularly the fine, resonant bass.


I’ve never bought a Dr. Dre album and probably never will. But I’m going to hate to part with this exceptional speaker.

The Feinger cellphone holder

$15.95 at

Worried about dropping that costly smartphone? Here’s a quirky solution from a small Indiana company that has found a way to attach your phone to your finger.

It’s simple, really. The Feinger kit comes with an alcohol swab and a plastic device with an adhesive backing. Use the swab to thoroughly clean the back of your phone, then permanently attach the plastic object. Also in the kit is a soft rubber sleeve that slides over one of your fingers. Slip it onto the hand that usually carries the phone. Poking out from the tube is a round piece of plastic that snaps onto the plastic device now glued to your phone. Click them together, and the phone is attached to your hand. Even if you release your grip, it stays put.

I can’t bring myself to glue something onto my phone, and I’d inevitably misplace the finger sleeve. Still, the Feinger certainly seems like it will get the job done. The company also offers lanyards that attach to the phone in the same way, so you can carry it around your neck, or a device that you can use to mount it in your car.

It’s not my cup of tea, but if you find it hard to hang onto your phone, maybe the Feinger can do it for you.

Hiawatha Bray can be reached at