Stay smart and charged up year-round with new gear for the New Year
Never again have that empty feeling when you run out of your favorite snack, with Weplenish ($39.99, Amazon). This amazing smart endless snack dispenser takes count of your snacks and automatically re-orders them when the container is running low. Weplenish also holds your favorite k-cup brands like Starbucks, Green Mountain, Nespresso, Dunkin Donut etc., and is compatible with a variety of snacks like KIND Bars, RXBARs, GoMacro Bars, Quaker Chewy Granola Bars, and Keebler’s Cookie Variety Pack.
Smells like millennial spirit
Add some atmosphere to your living or work space with Moodo, the first smart aroma diffuser. This room-freshening device sends scents into air with the touch of a button, using an app on your phone, or on the device itself. You can even link it to Alexa or Google Home and control the fragrance with voice commands. Starter packs ($189, with special sale pricing up to 40 percent off) include one aroma diffuser and three scent families. Refill capsule collections are priced at $17.94 to $29.90.
If you love to be plugged in, but you hate the tangle of cables on your desk or nightstand, you will love the Cable Wrangler ($19.99). Created by Austin-cool Silk, makers of a variety of unique smartphone cases, wallets and accessories, this upholstered magnetic mound will hold her cables with a satisfying “click.” For non-metal cables, the holder features tiny metal collars to place around the necks of those pesky errant cables.
Get your headset in the game
Get into the game with the Audio Technica ATH-PG1 ($129), a headset for serious gamers with immersive audio that makes you feel inside the action. The 44 mm drivers provide powerful, lively sound specially tuned to accentuate all the sonic detail of the gaming environment. The closed-back, lightweight headset stays on snuggly with complete comfort, allowing extended play. The ATH-PG1 also comes equipped with a flexible, 6″ boom microphone for live-sounding in-game voice communication with other gamers, or you can use the headset for everyday media listening, and even for calls and controlling audio and video on smartphones and other portable devices. Compatible with PS4, iPad, iPhone, laptops, PCs, and other gaming devices with standard 3.5mm TRRS connector.
If the new era of tech has got you thinking, then The Fourth Age (Atria Books, $23.25 in hardcover, Amazon), Byron Reese’s thoughtful new book about smart robots, conscious computers and the future of humanity will give you some virtually real intelligence to ponder. Reese, the CEO and publisher of the technology research company Gigaom, offers this essential reading for anyone who enjoys probing the deeper questions about how tech has revolutionized our society and our very selves. The Fourth Age will make you wonder, and it will make you smarter for your next dinner party convo, or online chat.
Hit the Hi-Fi Bottle
Remember the boom boxes of yesteryore, balanced on a shoulder and pumping out tunes people could hear a block away? The go-anywhere compact bottle-sized BoomBottle MM ($129.99) has captured that grand, satisfying surround-sound acoustics of the famed traveling stereo with its two 12W speakers and two 45mm passive radiators, providing a full-range of crisp highs and deep bass tones, all situated in an IP67 rated dust and waterproof enclosure. This rugged, waterproof wireless speaker can travel anywhere, and it even has a MagicMount magnetic base to keep it stuck to metal surfaces. Available at Costco and other retailers.
What’s old is new again
Kids of all ages will enjoy a trip in the way-back machine via Bandai Namco Flashback Blast ($18.88, Walmart). This collection of old-school classics, such as Pac-Man, Dig Dug, Galaga, Galaxian, Mappy, Sky Kid The Tower of Druaga and Xevious, will take you back to when video games were simple and pixelated. The game set includes a wireless controller and HDMI dongle that easily connects wirelessly to your HD TV, for hours of timeless fun.
Do You Hear What I Hear?
Listen to your favorite carols on A-Audio Legacy Headphones, with the first-ever three-stage listening technology, which allows for selection between base enhancer, active noise cancellation and audio modes – putting listeners in the driver’s seat to choose the sound that best suits them in the moment. Comes with a detachable phone cord with remote and mic for connecting to mobile devices and dual jacks for sharing music with friends. $299.
Upload the Photos Click Click Click
If the unthinkable happens and you lose your smartphone or it crashes beyond recovery, all those great shots of holiday parties, kids opening the presents and other holiday pics could be lost forever. Back it up quickly and easily with the SanDisk Ultra Dual USB Drive. The thumb-drive-sized device lets you offload your content from your micro-USB enabled device onto the drive memory, and then connect to a compatible device or USB 2.0-enabled device to transfer and back up that content. Available at retailers worldwide and on www.sandisk.com in 16GB to 64GB capacities, $19.99 to $49.99.
I’ll Have a Blue-tooth Christmas without Wires
Fill the house with Christmas music, streamed on the beautifully designed Vers Q aptX Bluetooth sound system, with each Q speaker housed in a cabinet carved from a unique solid block of sustainably harvested natural wood that resonates as only real wood can. Its amazing design aside, the 1Q system ($129) delivers incredible 6.5W stereo sound powered by Bluetooth® v4.0, aptX technology that connects with almost any mobile device (smart phones, tablets, laptops) with a range of 30 feet and nine hours of battery life. Also available in a 2Q system ($199) featuring 13W stereo. Available at www.versaudio.com and Apple Online Store and select Apple Retail Stores.
Jingle Ball Rocks
Kids will gather round the Sphero 2.0 ($99) for hours of play as the remote controlled programmable round robot, Bluetooth operated with iOS, Android and Windows mobile devices, rolls at speeds of up to seven feet per second (4.5 mph) and carries out orders from more than 50 feet away. With over 30 apps, this smart sphere can run circles around a room, dodge through obstacle courses, act as a controller for games like Exile and Nyan Cat Space Party, and be the center of attention for tabletop games like Colorgrab and Pass the Sphero. Charges cordlessly through induction. Recommended for ages 8 and up. Available at Radio Shack.
Grandma Got Emojis of a Reindeer
Now there’s no excuse for grandma and gramps to not get digital. AARP has designed a powerful yet accessible tablet for the ages with RealPad, an out-of-the-box ready-to-go tablet with all the bells and whistles made easy enough for those more mature folks who might be intimated by a little too much tech. It’s preloaded with all the apps a basic user needs, ready to connect to Wi-Fi for browsing online, getting email, video chatting, sharing photos and playing games. For those who need a bit of help getting up and running, there are how-to videos and 24/7 tech support on call. Available at aarp.org for $189.
We Won’t Go Until We Get In
Whether your holiday houseguests arrive early or the nanny or handyman needs to get in the house, now you can let them in with a swipe on your smartphone, from wherever you are, using Kwikset’s Kevo Bluetooth-enabled smart deadbolt. The Kevo mobile app turns a smartphone into an electronic key to control the deadbolt remotely, and the app tracks activity for 30 days, so you know when the deadbolt was locked and unlocked. Users can give unlimited guest eKeys to allow authorized guests to enter — for a 24-hour period or on a schedule – such as residents might need for dogwalkers and maids — instead of the old-fashioned and risky “key-under-the-mat” arrangement. Kevo is compatible with Bluetooth Smart Ready/Bluetooth 4.0 supported smartphones, including iPhone 4S, 5, 5c and 5s, 6 and 6 Plus.
Focus Upon a Midnight Clear
Love the convenience of a camera built into your smartphone or tablet but wish the quality was better? Now you can have the best of both worlds and capture clear, crisp, wide-angle and up-close photos and 1080p HD video on your mobile device in a snap, with the Kodak PIXPRO SL10 Smart Lens Camera ($199), with a 1SMP BSi CMOS senor and 10x optical zoom. Using a free app, you can use your device’s screen as a viewfinder to zoom in and out. Then save images or video on a microSD card or transfer then to your device for instant sharing. Available at RadioShack.
Let There Be Peace En Route
While heading to grandma’s for the holidays keep the kids content (and quiet) on the trip with the Vivitar Camelio tablet, featuring Android 4.1 (JellyBean) and a 7” screen, perfect for children to play games, listen to music and watch videos on long rides on planes, trains and automobiles. Up to five users can create their own profiles on the tablet and customize their account with Camelio “Personality Packs” with cool wallpaper, widgets, and a themed bumper case with characters like Hello Kitty, Monster High, Barbie, My Little Pony, WFF and Hot Wheels. Features included wi-fi, camera, HD video and preloaded apps ideal for kids. $99 at Walmart.com, Amazon.com, Target.com.
Holiday Cheer Check
Had one too many egg nogs? Check your alcohol level before you hit the road with the BACtrack Mobile Breathalyzer, ($99) a smartphone breathalyzer that uses police-grade sensors to track your BAC level so you know, for sure, the impact alcohol consumption has on your body and brain. Make sure you are unimpaired and safe to drive so that the only flashing lights you see this holiday season are on the Christmas tree.
Yule Logs Should Crackle, Not Your Smartphone Screen
Snowflake patterns look beautiful on a window pane but not the screen of your smartphone. Wrap your phone in the protective armor of a NuguardKX Kenetic Energy X-Orbing case ($29) for iPhone 5/5S, 4/4S and Galaxy 4. The KX case is constructed of US-made X-Orbing gel that has been military drop tested – which apparently means dropped from incredible heights just as if soldiers put them to the test. The cases have access to all ports and buttons and are easy to install. Enhanced with th4e KX NuGuard ($14.99) hammer-resistant screen protector, your smartphone will be nearly indestructible. Both products carry a lifetime warranty. Available at AT&T Stores and other retailers listed at www.newertech.com/kx
The Mouse (Pad) King
Son of a nutcracker, who would have thought a mouse pad could have such style! The computer user on your gift list who has everything probably does not have a NuPad Leather Mouse Pad, made of luxurious Brazilian leather, handcrafted in the US. The closed-cell sponge rubber underside keeps the pad from slipping, and the fine leather surface makes for accurate tracking for optical, laser or rollerball mice. Available starting at $19.99 from newertech.com.
Four Devices a Powering …
There may be 12 days of Christmas, but who wants to wait that long to charge up all the new tech gadgets you get under the tree? With the Power2U – AC/USB Wall Outlet ($29.99) you can charge multiple devices at once conveniently and energy-efficiently. The in-wall outlet eliminates cable clutter, and it uses smart technology to determine if a device is a phone, tablet or other devices and provides the appropriate power. When a device is fully charged it cuts off power to avoid overcharging your battery and wasting power. Compatible with all models of Apple iPads, iPhones, USB chargeable iPod models, Android tablets and phones, gaming systems and other devices that charge via standard USB plug. Designed for standard 15A circuits in homes and can be installed in 20 minutes. Find a local retailer at Newertech.com.
Tags: Kodak ProPix, Sphero 2.0, tech gifts,
Volume-limiting headphones keep sound pressure down to safe levels for young ears
You’re sitting in a restaurant with fidgety little ones, and the appetizers haven’t even been served. You give them your iPhone or tablet, but along with all those kids games you loaded just for this situation are complete with plenty of bells, whistles and other random sound effects.
Before your neighbors at the next table give you the evil eye, plug in Griffin Crayola myPhones so that you and everyone around you can get some peace and quiet, and you get peace of mind knowing that your kids won’t blow their ears out. These super cute earbuds and headphones are sized for little ears – and they have built in technology to keep the volume to a safe listening level. Compared to normal conversation at 60 dB, myPhones play at 85 dB, lower than an MP3 player at maximum volume, or by comparison, an ambulance at 120 dB.
The earbuds are shaped like the tip and end of a Crayola crayon, so kids love the illusion of wearing a crayon through their head, though the pointed tip might be a bit confusion when they are first trying to figure out which end goes into their ear! The earbuds come with three sizes of silicone ear cushions in a carrying case shaped like a Crayola. For more than one child, you can get different colors so they can tell their own earphones apart from their siblings and friends. The sets comes in Purple Pizazz, Cotton Candy, Caribbean Green and Blue Berry.
The over-the-head style headphones are also sized for children, featuring soft padding for comfort. Kids can decorate the headphones using a variety or cool patterned stickers designed to fit on the headband or ear cups, or they can customize them using the included plain stickers and three Crayola color markers.
The sets are available in pink/purple and blue/green color combinations. Earbuds are priced at $14.95, and headphones are $24.95 at www.GriffinTechnology.com.