I've gotten a lot of reader questions about chargers recently. Some of these products will be highlighted in upcoming columns, but let's start with a cool device for people who love bicycles and cycling.
In a car, we have access to charging power through either the traditional power socket or a USB port, which most new cars have these days. But what about when we embrace a greener, more-active lifestyle and use a bicycle to commute, tour or get around in general? We could charge several power banks and keep them with us, but that is not an ideal approach, especially for extended rides and bicycling tours.
The Siva Cycle Atom offers a solution. The weatherproof Atom attaches to your bicycle and converts your momentum into energy that can be used to charge your devices via a USB connection or a removable battery pack (which is included). It also can be used to charge lights and other devices; using it to power a phone while using the phone's GPS function is a popular application for many cyclists.
The Siva Atom lists for $129. You can get 10 percent off and free shipping by using the code TAKE10 at www.sivacycle.com. It's also available at amazon.com.
Q: I saved your November 2014 article about the SJCAM SJ5000 action camera and decided to check it out. I read reviews that said there are some software bugs. Can you provide any input? I would love to get one.
A: The camera I reviewed and recommended was the SJCAM SJ4000. I have not tested the SJ5000, but it does not appear to be much different from the SJ4000, which is one of my favorite budget products of all time and a perfect way to get your feet wet with an action camera.
The SJCAM SJ4000 is a small camera that has a built-in LCD screen and looks like a clone of a GoPro Hero camera. The mounting system is the same (though the housings are different), so you can use GoPro mounts with it. It includes multiple mounts and a waterproof housing, and it sells for $79 or less.
The SJCAM SJ4000 produces absolutely beautiful 1080p video footage, far in excess of what you would expect for the price and fully competitive with anything on the market. The downside is the maximum frame rate is 30 frames per second. Higher frame rates make smoother motion and provide better slow motion capabilities, but at the end of the day, the SJCAM SJ4000's footage looks amazing, and that is good enough for me and my $79.
The SJCAM SJ4000 has been so successful that it has spawned imitations also being sold as the "SJ4000" on eBay and Amazon.com. Make sure you get a genuine SJCAM SJ4000. I recommend bhphotovideo.com to ensure you get the real thing.
Send questions to Don Lindich at firstname.lastname@example.org. Get recommendations and read past columns at www.soundadviceblog.com.