Amazon Echo Dot

Getting Alexa into your home’s never been easier, even for the frugal. Amazon’s Echo Dot is a puck-shaped device that’s small enough to install in any one of a variety of places — and hell, it’s cheap enough to basically leave one in every room you spend significant amounts of time in. Seven far-frield microphones let the nearest Echo Dot hear you from across the room, even over music or ambient noise, so that Alexa can answer your question, order a pizza, control your home’s smart devices like lights or blinds, hail an Uber, fire up Spotify, and we’re only scratching the surface. Owning one of Amazon’s previous full-sized Echo devices is not necessary and if you buy six they’ll give you one for free, further simplifying the outfitting of larger homes.

Grab one at Amazon – $50

GET IT: $50


Gate Smart Lock

A handful of products are already vying to replace your home’s doorbell and traditional key lock. The Gate Smart Lock instead consolidates all the features your home’s entryway needs in one compact device that simply takes the place of your deadbolt. Gate connects to your home’s WiFi network and pings you when somebody presses its call button — or, if you wish, even when simple motion is detected at your front door. A camera and two-way microphone lets you see and converse with said person, and the door can even be unlocked remotely, or scheduled to unlock at specific times for deliveries and the like. If your phone’s not on you a keypad lets you get in, and if you forgot that (or it’s 4-month rechargeable battery is for some reason dead) it’s even got physical key access as a last resort backup.

Find it at Indiegogo – $250+

GET IT: $250+


Razer Blade Pro Gaming Laptop

Gaming on a laptop? You’d better believe it. Razer’s Blade Pro handily outdoes all portable computers before it. This notebook is decked out with a quad-core Intel Core i7, two identical SSDs in RAID 0 (from 256GB each to 1TB each), and 32GB of DDR4 RAM, for starters. Importantly, Razer managed to squeeze in a desktop-class Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 GPU, which supplies ample graphics power to play the latest titles on ultra-high and at 4K resolution on an external display or on its own IGZO LED-backlit 17.3-inch multitouch display which, at 3840×2160, is just a few horizontal pixels short of being labeled 4K itself. It also boasts plenty of other braggart-worthy features, including a tactile low-profile backlit mechanical keyboard that feels as satisfyingly clicky as desktop-sized ones, a spacious glass trackpad with a scroll wheel up top, and a 0.88-inch thin CNC aluminum unibody chassis that somehow contains all of the above. Even its power adapter is fairly slim, especially considering it’s 250W.

Learn more at Razer – $3,700+

GET IT: $3,700+


Nintendo Switch

Nintendo’s next generation console — the Nintendo Switch — is trying its hand at besting two markets: gaming handhelds and the dedicated console. As a result the core device is more tablet than set top box and comes apart from a dock that’s fit for your television stand, with two detachable Joy-Con controllers than slide on to attach, one per side. It’ll play games on your TV or on its built-in display by running on battery pretty much anywhere. It sets up like a game pad with controllers attached but also plays with the two controllers combined as one (with a Joy-Con Grip accessory) or even with multiple players using one half. It’s also powered by Nvidia Tegra hardware, is compatible with a more traditional Switch Pro controller (also wirelessly, like the smaller Joy-Cons) and has a pop-out kickstand to prop it up if you’re gaming on the go using controllers.

Touching down next March. Learn more at Nintendo – $TBA



Review: Dyson V6 Car + Boat Vacuum

Cars are meant to be used. That means you’ll find crumbs in every crevice, dirt on every fabric surface, and all sorts of other garbage just about everywhere else. Short of getting your car near an outlet (easy if you have a house, trickier in an apartment without parking) and bringing down a full-sized canister vac — which doesn’t address hard-to-reach places due to bulkiness — Dyson’s V6 Car + Boat Vacuum aims to make a name for itself with powerful suction, a boatload of accessories, and a battery good for 20 minutes of cordless use. Yachts probably get dirty too but sadly we don’t have access to one on which to test. We’ve also frankly never owned a Dyson (unless Jake Dyson’s CSYS Task Light counts?) so we used it to clean a couple of cars, not to mention around the house a whole lot, to see what sort of performance this cool looking handheld vac could muster. Read on for our take.


GET IT: $240


HP Envy All-In-One 27

There’s no back-breakingly heavy box powering the HP Envy All-In-One 27. The full computer is instead contained within a sleek dark grey box. Aside from its massive 27-inch 2560×1440 angle-adjustable touchscreen display, this elegant computer boasts a 6th gen Intel Core i5/i7 processor, four Bang & Olufsen speakers (with a touch control volume dial on the right), optional dual hard drivers including one 256GB SSD for speed and a conventional drive for up to 2TB of additional storage, and the option for an NVIDIA GTX 950M graphics card for more power-intensive tasks. It’s even got an HD camera that tucks away in the display’s frame, guaranteeing your privacy when not in use.

Learn more at HP – $1,250+

GET IT: $1,250+


Mag-Lev Audio Levitating Turntable

Playing a vinyl is debatably as much a tactile and visual experience as it is an auditory one. The Mag-Lev Audio Levitating Turntable heightens all three by being the first player to spin a disk that hovers above the platform using electromagnetic levitation, with a glowing ring of light added underneath for good measure. Mag-Lev’s drive system uses software and sensors to keep the spin rate and position of the floating platter consistent and precise, attaining a high quality of sound thanks to its Pro-Ject 8.6 tonearm and Ortofon OM 5E cartridge. The semi-automatic system switches between 33.3 and 45 rpm records at the turn of a selector — which also doubles as its power button — and the platter actually remains elevated when the turntable is turned off thanks to four platter feet that rise up to support it (and then retract again when flipped back on). It’s even got a built-in uninterruptible power supply to take care of your record and Mag-Lev’s tonearm in the event of a power failure.

Learn more at Kickstarter – $840+

GET IT: $840+


Float Shelf For iMac & Apple Display

Your Apple computer may be the epitome of minimalism, but the gathering of accessories hanging haphazardly around your desk doesn’t play into the overall vision very well. The Float Shelf helps address the mess by adding a shelf to the back of your iMac or Apple Display to stash things out of sight. It’s machined of a single sheet of extruded aircraft-grade aluminum and grips the stand on which it’s placed using gravity and geometry alone — no mounting brackets or clips necessary. A soft polymer lining keeps from leaving any scratches and once installed the shelf easily supports 10 pounds of stuff, whether it’s tech accessories or a handful of mementos.

Learn more at Kickstarter – $75+

GET IT: $75+


LVL Hydration Monitor

Just about every smart device and fitness tracker can estimate calories burnt or steps taken. The LVL Hydration Monitor instead takes a stab at measuring hydration, which is easier said than done. Using NIRS red light technology validated by numerous studies and used in various medical settings, LVL safely shines light into your skin and analyses your level of hydration, stratifying your current state across several levels — and reminding you to drink not only when you’re thirsty but also when your body needs it, especially during and following strenuous exercise. The wristband also precisely measures heart rate and tracks activity, including steps taken, distance covered, floors climbed, and calories expended, also transmitting all data gathered to your smartphone for further analysis.

Find it at Kickstarter – $130+

GET IT: $130+


Betterspot VPN Router

Internet has essentially become, at this point, a human right. A safe connection is especially crucial and while setting up a VPN works well to bypass restrictions and provide anonymity it’s a bit of a hassle to get it going on all your smart devices. Enter Betternet’s Betterspot VPN Router. This compact device makes securing any network a breeze, connecting to it — for instance, in a public place — and automatically establishing a VPN connection for your devices as you browse. Settings are set using a straightforward smartphone app, letting you switch between VPN or an anonymous Tor network, or even use it in direct mode when you’re using a connection you trust. It also lets you choose your location to bypass geo-restricted content while travelling like Netflix and the like and outputs its own 2.4Ghz WiFi network, though it’s equipped with both ethernet in and out ports should you prefer a wired connection.

Find it at Kickstarter – roughly $87

GET IT: ~$87


Olloclip iPhone 7 Lens Set

All it takes is a smartphone redesign to make all your previous accessories incompatible. And while its form factor hasn’t changed much, the cameras on the iPhone 7 and especially the 7 Plus, are quite different than those on their predecessors. Luckily the Olloclip iPhone 7 Lens Set is already good to go on the new phones, slipping over both rear and front cameras and even over thick screen protectors (though not over standard cases, but Olloclip does make compatible ones) to enhance your shots and selfies. All three new models feature Olloclip’s Connect Lens system, letting you swap the lenses on either side with others in the series to mix and match the pair to your liking, and boast a hinged base that lets the camera move to work with the 7 as well as either of the 7 Plus’ cameras. Lenses include fisheye, 120° super-wide, 2x telephoto, 155° ultra wide, and several macro lenses up to 21x, paired up across the current three sets: Core, Active, and Macro Pro.

Learn more at Olloclip – $80+

GET IT: $110+


Ding Smart Doorbell

The age-old doorbell is a one-way notification that somebody’s knocking. More modern takes often sometimes include a video camera to catch a glimpse of who’s at the door, and a two-way mic and speaker system to have a conversation. The Ding Smart Doorbell sits somewhere in between. The simple system consists of a minimal-looking doorbell panel with a single button and a fabric-covered chime that’s to be wall-mounted or simply placed somewhere prominent. When somebody rings the doorbell the speaker emits a chime — so far as usual — but a push notification is also sent to your smartphone, which lets you answer and talk to the person, making it impossible to miss them whether you’re rocking out to too-loud music or are halfway across the world.

Find it at Kickstarter – $130

GET IT: $130


Radius v4 For iPhone 7 & 7 Plus

They’re solid phones, sure, but nobody ever bought an iPhone for its ruggedness. Mod-3’s Radius v4 protects Apple’s latest iteration without hiding its good looks. Four precision-milled T6061 aluminum bumpers are bolted to and held together by the case’s X frame, shielding your device’s most vulnerable parts from bumps and bruises. It’s lightweight, adds minimal bulk, and even protects your screen should your phone be placed down on its face. Cellular reception is left unaffected, too, a claim most metal cases can’t make.

Available in Polish (silver) and Slate (black) at BiteMyApple – $100

GET IT: $100