Projectors a Good Alternative to buying a Television? Reviewing the Dell Mobile Projector | M115HD

After selling all of our things when we moved from Toronto to Vancouver, we no longer had a television to watch content on. So when we recently signed our first lease in Vancouver, the idea of buying a mobile projector, instead of a regular television, came up.

I had never really thought about it before but it seemed like a really neat idea. Not only could we watch our content at home on a bigger screen but it would also allow us to bring it with us when we traveled.

There are so many portable projectors on the market at the moment, one of which is Dell’s M115HD Mobile Projector. Having just tested out one of their latest laptops, I was curious to try out their smallest projector.

OVERVIEW

With the Dell M115HD Mobile Projector being 104mm x 105.3mm x 36.5mm, it can easily fit in your purse or backpack, making it super easy to carry around. Additionally, it has a 1GB internal flash memory, meaning you can store some movies or videos on it without having to bring the media you want to watch with you. It allows you to watch media in Full HD 720p and is equipped with 450 ANSI lumens, thus making it extremely bright even in ambient-light environments. The projector’s connectivity capability allows you to plug all sorts of devices using their HDMI cable. You can also use the projector not only at home in your living room, on the ceiling in your bedroom but also on the road when you travel, you can get really creative with how you use it.

PROS

  • It comes with equipped with VGA, HDMI and USB inputs making it super easy to connect to your laptop, camera, DVD player, video game console or even mobile device. You can even watch content with a microSD card.
  • This Dell M115HD projector has a long projection life, which can provide up to 30,000 hours of projection.
  • The images are ultra colorful and bright thanks to the DLP® and BrilliantColor™ technology. You can also adjust the sharpness of the image with just the touch of a button.
  • You have the ability to project wirelessly from your laptop or even your phone using a USB dongle (sold separately unfortunately!) or WiFi Doc app (that you can download online!).

CONS:

  • Its built-in 1W speaker isn’t very loud, so we end up having to plug our external speaker to the headphone jack if we want to listen to something in a louder environment.
  • It does not have an internal system like other projectors that allows you to connect directly to sources like YouTube, etc.
  • The projector has already been out on the market for a little while so hopefully Dell will be coming out with a newer and even more powerful version soon!

RECAP

All in all, we’ve been using the projector for over two weeks and are really happy with the fact that we can now watch movies on a much bigger screen than if we would have bought a standard television. The Dell M115HD Mobile Projector can easily put it away and we can also bring it with us on our upcoming travels thanks to its practical travel case. It’s a really great alternative to those wanting to get a “home cinema” without spending all the money in the world.

For more information on the Dell M115HD Mobile Projector, go here.

Discovering the New 2018 Toyota C-HR

I had the pleasure of spending the last couple of weeks adventuring around British Columbia with Toyota‘s brand new car, the 2018 C-HR. It was the perfect vehicle for both city and nature discoveries. Its ultra-sleek and unique design combined with Toyota’s best safety features, made it a reliable and fun car to drive, in all driving conditions.

LOOK

Its two-toned colourful exterior turned heads everywhere I went. This car is without a doubt one of the coolest looking vehicles on the market with its modern design. Toyota did a great job imagining a car that stood out from the pack and pushed the envelop on a design standpoint. The vehicle’s standard 17″ alloy wheels and also diamond-cut lines, make it very pleasing to the eyes.

SAFETY 

Toyota is renown for its top of the line safety standards and features. The Toyota Safety Sense P system includes lane departure alerts, pre-collision system with pedestrian and dynamic radar cruise control, just to name a few. The vehicle also comes equipped with 10 airbags, a monitoring system that alerts you if you have low fuel or washer fluid, an ajar door, etc. Moreover, the vehicle also offers the Toyota Star Safety System that features Brake Assist, Traction Control, Vehicle Stability Control and more! All of these safety features gave me peace of mind while exploring through the city and mountains and allowed for the safest driving conditions.

PERFORMANCE

Performance enthusiasts will be happy to know that the C-HR contains a 144-hp, 2.0L, 4-cyl VALVEMATIC and a continuously variable transmission. You also have the ability to choose Sport mode, which transforms the vehicle in a simulated 7-speed sequential Shiftmatic transmission, making it that much more fun to drive. But with speed comes the need for a reliable breaking system, something that Toyota has not overlooked. The car’s braking system works with front and rear discs and an Anti-lock braking system, braking assist and electronic brake force distribution, which allows you to keep control of the vehicle no matter what situation may arise.

TECHNOLOGY

It’s impossible to talk about the vehicle without noting some of its great tech features such as the backup camera that comes up in the electrochromic rearview mirror, the rear cross traffic alert with blind spot monitor as well as the Smart Key system, allowing you to start the car with just the push of a button. And for avid music fans like myself, the car boasts an impressive sound system and all the jacks you could need to play your favourite playlists or albums while on the road.

RECAP

All in all, my time driving around with the 2018 Toyota C-HR was very pleasant. It allowed me to discover new parts of British Columbia and drive through windy country roads, mountainous areas, the beach as well as the crowded streets of Vancouver. The C-HR is a car that has all the modern features a driver wants, a spacious interior and trunk for longer trips while never compromising safety or comfort for the driver and passengers of the car.

For more info on the 2018 Toyota C-HR, go here.

Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

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After having spent a great week with the Toyota Rav4 Hybrid this winter, I was thrilled to have the possibility to try out the new Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro for the very first time on my recent travels to Oregon.

The Toyota Tacoma is one of the most coveted trucks on the market, especially out in British Columbia, as this has become the go-to truck for outdoor enthusiasts in the area. With 4×2 and 4×4 models to choose from plus the option of choosing your own engine and transmission combinations, cab and bed sizes, there’s definitely a model for everyone!

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What I was immediately surprised by is the vehicle’s ability to handle the road as well as its interior comfort. Not only do you have an incredible view point from the driver’s seat but you also have access to a wide variety of accessories, that makes your drive the most pleasant. Things like the Cruise Control, Navigation, 7″ Display Screen, Bluetooth Capability, AM/FM CD with MP3/WMA Player, Audio Auxiliary Input Jack, USB Audio Input, 6 Speakers and Advanced Voice Recognition, allow you to relax while enjoying the road. They’ve also added a GoPro mount right at the top of the windshield, thus being the first to include that in the market.

The Toyota Tacoma‘s versatility is also a key feature. All 2017 Tacoma models include an independent front suspension of double-wishbone design with stabilizer bars and multi-leaf spring rear suspension. TRD SPORT models feature sport-tuned suspensions, while TRD OFF-ROAD models are equipped with Bilstein shock absorbers, so that whichever terrain you wish to venture out on, you can have full confidence that the truck will be able to handle it.

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The Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro edition comes equipped with a 3.5 Litre, 6 Cylinder Engine, 6-Speed, Automatic transmission, Super Electronically Controlled Transmission (Super ECT) and Lock Up Torque Converter. For those more mechanically inclined, the truck also features Active Traction Control (A-TRAC), 4-Wheel Crawl Control, Multi-Terrain Select, Hill-start Assist Control (HAC), Trailer Sway Control, One-Touch 4WD, Vehicle Stability Control, thus making it the ideal vehicle if you want to pull an RV or trailer for your expeditions.

Toyota is also renown for its top of the line safety features. The truck provides a total of 8 Airbags, Seatbelt Anchor Height Adjusters, Front Seatbelt Pre-Tensioners and Force Limiters, Assist Grip, Front Tow Hook, Active Front Headrests with Whiplash Protection just to name a few significant items.

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The truck’s roomy and cozy interior as well as its bold and stylish exterior, will make truck enthusiasts and new passengers enviable.

In summary, the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro was the ideal companion for my adventures out in Oregon. Below is a short recap video of my adventures with the truck! For more info on the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro, go here.

5 Questions With: Craig Slagel of RunGo App

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I love combining technology with running. Over the past two years, running apps have been key in documenting my progress as a runner and also keeping tabs on the runs that I have done when I travel. I recently heard of the running app RunGo, which was developed by Vacouverite Craig Slagel. Since I’ve been spending time running around Vancouver, I thought it would be interesting to find out more about this local startup.

1) What is the inspiration behind the RunGo app?

RunGo was inspired by Dynasty, my retired guide dog who I adopted in 2012 just after starting the company. As a runner and frequent traveler, I often had the issue not knowing where to run or getting lost when I tried to explore. When I adopted Dynasty, my friends joked I should use her to guide me and that sparked the idea of RunGo.

2) What separates this app from other running apps currently on the market?

RunGo works like other running apps but also offers voice guided turn-by-turn directions for your runs. With a library of over 50,000 routes worldwide, including running tours and runs curated by local running communities, RunGo is great for traveling and allows you to re-discover your own cities by trying different routes. RunGo also provides all the usual statistics such as distance, pace, calories burned and provides a logbook to store your results. The app navigates you offline, and only requires data or wifi when you add runs to your library. After that, you can use RunGo to guide you, without any data or wifi.

3) You had the opportunity to present your app on Dragon’s Den, why are shows like that and Shark Tank important for startups?

Apps can be very hard to market, especially since there are some really big players in the market who have very big budgets. As a startup we have limited resources and are constantly looking for creative ways to expose ourselves. Dragons’ Den has over 1 million views so being on the show can be a great way to promote your startup as long as you have a good idea and don’t embarrass yourself. It was also great for us as a company – as we prepped our pitch, we really went back to make sure we understood our business, brand, and numbers. It was a great experience and you can see our pitch on February 15th on CBC.

4) Where is your favourite place to run in the world and why?

That’s a tough one – I’ve run in so many amazing places around the world! I love trail running and we are lucky to have amazing trails in Vancouver, BC. But if I had to pick, I think my favourite place would be Marin headlands in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is where I started running so it feels like my running home. The Headlands Run that took you from Crissy Field, over the Golden Gate bridge and up into the Headlands onto a peak with a panoramic view (on a clear day) was probably my most memorable run when I lived in the city.

5) What would you like to accomplish with the app in the next five years?

There is so much I’d love to accomplish in the next five years on top of being one of the leading running apps by then. It’s often said that the best way to explore a city is by foot and our ultimate goal is to give as many runners worldwide as possible, the freedom and confidence to discover all the amazing running routes around them. I was in Dublin just over a year ago and was able to explore the city by running a different route every day. The feeling of completely immersing myself in the city was amazing as I explored routes created by a local running store. It was a completely different experience from when I used to travel for business years ago and was usually recommended to run up and down the river bank by the hotel.

For more information on the RunGo app, go here.

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

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If you are on the hunt for the perfect vehicle for living in British Columbia and also want to help out the environment, then you may want to consider giving the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid a test drive. This compact crossover is the ideal car for all of your BC lifestyle needs. Whether you’re an adventurous couple, a traveling single or a young family looking to explore all that BC has to offer, the RAV4 Hybrid should be your number one pick.

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With fuel prices continuing to soar, the sale of Hybrid vehicles across Canada has increased 45.2% since 2015, thus allowing consumers to save money and also help out the environment at the same time. Hybrid drivers use about 30% less fuel than regular cars, thus reducing their carbon footprint.  The switch to Hybrid is a no-brainer because it does not affect or change one’s lifestyle or habits, other than allowing them to frequent the gas station less often.

The RAV4 Hybrid is an incredibly versatile car that features some of the best innovative technology, comfort and safety features currently on the market. Some of my favourite features that come with the car are the Toyota Safety Sense P – including the Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, which are very helpful for driving around busy downtown Vancouver. The Dynamic Radar Cruise Control also allows for maximum safety when going on some longer trips. The heated front seats and heated steering wheel also allows for utmost comfort while traveling in the winter time.

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The RAV4 Hybrid also has a ton of room for passengers both in the front and the back and with up to 73 cubic feet of cargo capacity, you can comfortably take your friends with you on your next sporting expedition out of the city.

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The RAV4 Hybrid offers 194 net system horsepower Hybrid Synergy Drive, built around a 2.5L four-cylinder, Atkinson Cycle engine. Some additional standout characteristics are the Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control System (TRAC), Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) and the All Wheel Drive with Intelligence (AWD-i), which is essential when driving on wintery Canadian roads.

Moreover, you know your friends and family are safe when traveling in the RAV4 Hybrid thanks to Toyota’s excellent safety standard, which include eight airbags, a back-up camera, Blind Spot Monitoring with Rear Cross Traffic Alert and the Vehicle Proximity Notification System, just to name a few.

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The RAV4 Hybrid‘s vibrant Electric Storm Blue colour, 18″ Aluminum Alloy Wheels, sleek black interior and sporty features allows you to ride in style all around British Columbia and wherever your adventures take you.

For more information on the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, visit https://www.toyota.ca.

Winter Getaway at Big White

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One of my favorite things about winter is being able to head to the mountain and go riding. Since this is my first winter in British Columbia, I thought what better way to get to know the area than to book a winter getaway to visit some of the best ski resorts in the area! My first destination: Big White!

So I booked my travels via the Hotels.com mobile app (you can too! check out how here!), took with me Samsung‘s latest gear – the Galaxy S7 phone plus the Gear 360 camera and hit the mountain. 

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Located just 45 minutes from downtown Kelowna, Big White is a stunning resort that spans 7,355 acres and its summit reaches 2,319m in altitude. Big White is also western Canada’s largest night skiing area with 38 acres of night skiing trails. There are 15 lifts on the mountain and 118 designated trails. The longest run spans 7.2 km.  They also have a state of the art boarder/skier-cross course, the TELUS Park as well as 25 km of nordic and wilderness trails for cross country skiing and snowshoeing.

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Big White also offers all the amenities and services you can imagine needing when going on a winter getaway to the mountain. The resort has 3 hotels, 25 condo/town home complexes, over 200 vacation home and luxury cabin rentals as well as a youth hostel. There are also plenty of shops and restaurants, their latest addition, the Clocktower Coffee Co serves up delicious baked goods for breakfast and hearty sandwiches at lunch.

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You can also find a ski and board school, a daycare service for the little ones as well as a multitude of other activities for the entire family such as ice climbing, a tube park, snowmobile tours, ice skating, snowshoeing, dog sledding and the list goes on. Oh yea and did I mention, free wifi throughout the resort?

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Since we were only in the area for 2 days, we wanted to maximize our time on the slopes so we stuck with snowboarding. Though a bit cold, the bluebird skies and fresh powder made for pristine riding conditions. Our super convenient electronic lift passes made it easy for us to access all of the lifts and shred through the fresh snow. The snow-covered evergreen trees and stunning views of the Okanagan Valley made for the most beautiful backdrop. A great plus was also the fact that the resort wasn’t overcrowded, which allowed for a relaxing snowboarding session.

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I highly recommend making the trek to Big White, for some epic riding! If you’re staying in Kelowna, check out the Manteo Resort, which is right on the waterfront of the Okanagan Lake.

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For more information on Big White, go here. To find accommodations in the area, go to Hotels.com or download their mobile app. Photos shot with the Samsung Galaxy S7, 360 video shot with the Samsung Gear 360.

Book your Winter Getaway with the Hotels.com App

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This winter, book your skiing and snowboarding getaway in minutes with the Hotels.com app.

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The mobile app, which is available for Android and Apple smartphones allows you to book your dream après-ski hotel fast and securely, using in-depth sort and filter options. With the app, you can book not only in advance but also last minute while having access to some exclusive “Deals for tonight“, so you can prolong the fun on the slopes. You also have the option to securely store your payment details for even faster bookings in the future.

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With this being the first winter I am spending in British Columbia, I wanted to explore some of the province’s best winter resorts and some of the area’s top skiing and snowboarding destinations. Using the Hotels.com app allowed me to find a great range of hotels in the different areas I wanted to explore. On my list of must-visit destinations for this winter: Big White in Kelowna, Sun Peaks in Kamloops and Whistler Blackcomb. I found some exciting lodging options with all the amenities I wanted (hot tub, free wifi, free parking, etc.!) in order to relax after a long day at the mountain.

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One of the reasons why I picked the Hotels.com mobile app for my bookings is because of their great loyalty program, which allows you to obtain 1 free night after 10 nights booked. They also offer “Secret Prices” that allow you to save up to 50 per cent on your stay. Their rewards program offers adherents a greater selection of competitive hotel deals as well as thousands of specially negotiated rates and subscriber-only offers on hotels located in some of the most popular areas around the world.

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With two-thirds of Canadians admitting their mobile phone is their favourite travel accessory and nearly 30 per cent of Canadians choosing to book their hotel stays via a mobile device (according to the Hotels.com Mobile Tracker), it’s no doubt the Hotels.com mobile app will be the ideal companion for your upcoming winter getaway.

See you all on the slopes this winter!

This post was written in collaboration with Hotels.com but all opinions are my own.

CaseApp

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I recently purchased a brand new laptop for all of the editing and freelance work I’ve been doing as of late and with a new laptop comes the need to get a new cover to protect it. I immediately thought of CaseApp, a super user friendly website that allows you to create your very own custom computer skins and phone cases.

They have skins available for iPads, MacBooks, iPhones, Samsungs, etc. and also hard cases for a variety of smartphones. You can either choose from a pre-made selection of prints, marble, tiling, etc. that you can modify or build yours from scratch very easily.

I decided to both make a personalized iPhone case and laptop skin, using some of my recent travel photography. I love personalization because not only is it unique, it’s also a great conversation starter and can even be a form of inspiration. For my laptop case, I chose a photo of one of my favorite surf spots in Southern California and for my iPhone case I picked a sunset photo of Kauai that I took on my trip last month. Both are great reminders of the things and places that make me happy and that evoke tranquility.

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If you also want to make your own custom CaseApp skin or case, make sure you use the code MELSAYS20 at check-out to obtain 20% off your purchase!