Updated: Feb 5
Well like most of you, I have a phone and want to protect but unfortunately most phone cases out there are made out of plastic, which I am sure I do not need to tell you is not the best option when trying to live sustainably. Additionally, if you are anything like me you are prone to dropping your phone and want to protect it from the glass cracking, scratches and ultimately the phone breaking. So whilst looking for a new eco-friendly, sustainable phone case for my Huawei P30 Pro I came across Pela, who make a wide range of eco-friendly phone cases and other products. I had seen them in numerous social media posts and across the internet in the past but never thought much of them at the time. However, now I am in need of a phone case, I decided to order one and see. Here I go into Pela, my phone case from them and to see what makes them so eco-friendly.
What they offer?
Pela offer a wide range of phone cases, not just your typical iPhone cases many companies do, as well as a number of accessories, all with a variation of colours and patterns. Recently I looked on their site and was presently surprised they offer cases for a wide range of iPhone models and a large array of android phones. I was also incredibly surprised by the fact they even had one for my phone, the Huawei P30 Pro, which is often sometimes too niche for most companies to make one for. They also make cases for air pods, as well as a wide range of accessory items such as smart watchbands, phone grips, cardholders and liquid screen protectors.
What is it made of?
The case I picked up is made of a material they call flaxstic, which uses plant based bioplastic elastomers and flax straw, which is a bi-product of flax oil seeds. All of which allows it to be compostable and biodegradable, which of course is great for the environment and a must if you are trying to go zero waste. Pela currently note that their cases are completely compostable and free from a number of harmful materials such as lead, cadmium, BPA and phthalates, allowing it to return to nature once you don’t want it any more. They also try to use renewable resources helping to reduce any negative impact. Further to all this, all their packing is completely recycled and recyclable and can be composted too. It is clear that Pela are keen to help reduce waste for our planet, whilst creating a great product many need.
The case itself
Now Pela are known for their cases and as I have one, I thought it is only fitting to delve into the case and what I think of it. Firstly, getting the case on and off is very easy, it is very flexible allowing you to easily bend it over the corners of either side of your phone, making it quick to put on and off. It has a nice soft, almost rubbery feel to it but at the same time being matte and grippy, so you are less likely to drop it. Additionally, in my opinion it is quite thicker than most phone covers and has a lip over the front screen, helping to protect the phone all together and the glass from smashing from any accidental drops. I also think it looks nice and has a natural organic vibe, which is in line with the companies goals.
More on Pela
If you are looking for a way to reduce your waste, specifically plastic waste and need a phone case, then Pela is probably your best option. They also do more than create a great sustainable product they also help with your understanding through helping to detail the difference between biodegradable and compostable plastics. Additionally, looking through their website it appears they are a transparent company, which is another trait of eco-friendly, green companies. Even further to all this, they are also Climate Neutral Certified, Certified B Corporation and a proud member of 1% for the Planet. On top of all that they donates a % of every sale to Ocean Clean-up and Preservation Initiatives. So it is clear by purchasing from them you are supporting a company who are working hard to better the planet.
To conclude the pela case is probably one of the most eco-friendly cases you can get today, who also offer a wide range of case and other accessories with a range of colours and patterns. They are a green company who have created a great green product, which I currently believe deserve your support. Let me know what you think of the pela case if you have one or if you are going to get one. Also, if you have seen any other sustainable/ eco-friendly alternative phone cases that you have been looking at, let me know in the comments below.
Updated: Feb 5
When I saw the Matrix PowerWatch I was initially intrigued by this futuristic device on the crowd-funded website ‘Indiegogo’. I quickly decided to back the product and luckily, this was a contribution that actually paid off, as I received the watch. The MATRIX PowerWatch as they phrase is the “Smartwatch Powered by You”. This is because it never needs to be charged, which makes it sustainable. There are three options of the watch that is available, these is the standard version, Black Ops Special edition and the version I got the ‘X’. The PowerWatch X is the biggest of the watches and meant to be a tougher version with the bonus of being 200m deep water resistant. The main reason I went for the X model was because it is bigger it stated it generates more power, giving some additional features such as synced notifications.
Here is what you get in the box:
Firstly, the box seems well made and has an overall professional look, which actually looks like a product you would pick off the shelf in your high-street, so that is a good start. When you open the box you are greeted with the watch in all its glory with the following contents:
The Watch – Obviously!
Thermal Recharger – To charge it from a wall socket, as opposed to your wrist.
Microfibre – To clean the watch face
User Manual – To get you started!
Guide for the Thermal Recharger
The main reason I got this watch is because you never have to charge it making it sustainable. This is for two aspect, one it saves energy and two batteries are still incredibly poor and this is more so in smartwatches, which solves this problem. The ability to have your smartwatch on your wrist all the time without having to take it off and continues to work is great. The watch generates power through the temperature difference between your body heat and the heat of the watches case, which generates a charge to keep the watch powered. This essentially means you will not have to charge it, saving energy and the pollution that often comes with it. Additionally to this, it is 200m water resistant, which I haven’t tested that but it does work after going through the shower a few times and a quick swim. Finally, the watch has several modes for a number of function, these include:
Time, day and date mode
Daily activity –Details distant travelled and calories burned
Running – Tracks your time and distance
How does it looks:
As for the look this is usually rather personal to whoever will be wearing it. For that reason I have added a number of pictures. However, in my opinion it a solid metal design that looks hard wearing and rugged. The face clearly depicts the time, day and date, which is very useful. The watch feels snug on the wrist due to the rubber strap, which I assume will help with obtaining the heat difference on your wrist. The watch is clearly notifiable on the wrist, due to it slightly large size, which to some could be uncomfortable and difficult with long sleeved shirts. To me this is the main issue with the watch, its bulkiness. It almost seems bigger than what it looks like in the picture and is almost too big for most people’s wrists. Having said that I know chunky watches suite some people taste and like me the added benefit of a more powerful watch made it worth it.
Does it work?
Simply Yes, I have owned it for several months now and not had a problem with the battery life of the watch at all, so its main feature of being powered by you seems to be true. Additionally, it is easy to read the time, day, date and all other information on all the different modes. It also tracks your activity and gives you notifications when you achieve your activity goals. Further to this, the watch buzzes and gives a notification that clearly shows you have received a message and who it is from, which is a useful function. However, it lacks the ability to read the message or reply via the watch but for me meant that I did not have to pick my phone up, as often if I could see the message was not important to me.
The software seems simple enough and I didn’t have any troubles navigating it at first. However, I did have some trouble when it needed to be updated. If I had not used it for say a week and it needed an update, it struggled to do this and had several problems connecting the watch to the software (app) on my phone. Eventually, I had to remove the watch connection with my phone, delete the app and reinstall it all to get it working. I am hoping this is a small technical problem that the Matrix Company will be fixing shortly.
Now, I am not the biggest fitness fanatic but I do try to keep myself reasonably fit. Usually, for me this is a light weight workout, the occasional walk and I bike to my local train station. However, the Matrix Smart Watch fitness tracking only extends to a running mode. This times and tells you the distance of your run, which seems to be fairly accurate (in my test). This is then recorded on the app and can be compared to your friends and your past runs to track improvements. Unfortunately, this is quite limited and I hope they have improved this in the PowerWatch 2.
I love the concept of this watch but I still believe there are a number of issues that still needs a lot of work. Namely, the software, the amount of functions the watch has and the bulkiness of it. Smartwatches are often used for their fitness and health tracking, which is limited with the lack of sensors on the PowerWatch. Additionally, the watch is defiantly large on the wrist and in my opinion a bit too bulky, almost making it uncomfortable, so this is something to consider. Having said this the watch achieves its goal of not needing to be charged from a plug socket, it is water resistant and meets the requirements of a watch by telling you the time and has the added benefit of alerting you when you get a message.
Warning: I paid for this on Indiegogo about a year in advance, as they did not meet their deadline for delivery. Additionally, I had it for approximately 7 months and they have brought out the next generation. Now, although I am glad they have (I assume) improved the watch with enhanced features, better performance and arguably better looking but to me it is not fair on those who just purchased the previous version to make it outdated in such a short amount of time. For someone who likes technology and wants to have the latest and greatest it is rather disheartening when you support a brand for over a year and then be outdated within months.
Despite this being a 3rd edition of the watch and I was hoping most the kinks would had been ironed out I feel it still needs more work. Mainly due to its bulkiness, technical glitches with the software and lack of function (heart rate monitor, etc.), so for the PowerWatch X I would not recommend getting this version or any of the first generations. Having said this, I believe that the PowerWatch by Matrix are the only real smartwatch that has a unique sustainable element to it. Additionally, they have quickly produced their second line of the watches with the ‘PowerWatch 2’, which I have higher hopes for and fingers crossed will improve the issues with the first line, so don’t rule them out just yet.
Finally, I would not advise getting the watch or anything through Indiegogo, as you could be waiting a long time like I had to and potential not receive it at all. Although, I did receive my perk from Matrix in the end, on another (completely unrelated product) I did not and there was no way of getting my money back, so just be aware of that and the risks you take.