Tech

Tech

DJI Spark Drone

By far the smallest drone coming out of the Shenzhen-based company’s factories, DJI’s Spark Drone is both simpler and smarter than its larger brethren. For one, it can be deployed on the fly without the need for a remote, launching from the palm of your hand to be controlled using nothing but hand gestures to position it just right and snap photos (namely selfies). Then, it lands back in your palm. These smart features extend to make Spark aware of its surroundings as well, avoiding obstacles and landing itself using a slew of sensors that include GPS, 3D sensors, a vision positioning system, and even its primary camera. Despite its beer can-sized body it’s still equipped with a 2-axis mechanical gimbal, four powerful motors with enough propulsion to brave strong winds and hit speeds of 31 mph, and a battery good for 16 minutes of flight time. Of course it’s also got more long range control options as well, including your smartphone (for a range of about 330 feet) and 1.2 miles with DJI’s optional HD WiFi dedicated remote, which also makes use of your smartphone as a display.

Find it at DJI – $500

GET IT: $500

Tech

Biki Underwater Fish Drone

If it doesn’t look anything like your typical drone, that’s because it isn’t. First and foremost, the Biki Underwater Fish Drone explores seas, not skies, and does so while foregoing propellers for a more natural-looking caudal tail fin that propels the drone to 1.12 mph while remaining rather silent. It’ll dive to a maximum depth of nearly 200 feet, with dual 114 lumen spotlights to illuminate its path and a stabilized 4K UHD video camera and wide-angle lens to see. Biki operates in shallow waters using a smartphone or tablet with real-time video streaming, and with a handheld sonic remote for deeper dives. About 90-120 minutes of battery life means it lasts way longer than flying drones, though if said battery runs low (or if remote communication is lost) it’ll surface, with a built-in GPS guiding it back to the launch zone for recoup.

Find it at Kickstarter – $550+ [via]

GET IT: $550+

Home

Canary Flex Weatherproof Security Camera

Weatherproof, versatile, and even wireless (if need be), the Canary Flex Security Camera can keep an eye on your home without needing much in terms of installation. The included 360-degree magnetic swivel base lets you precisely point the 1080p mic- and night-vision-equipped camera while an assortment of accessories, including the flexible Twist Mount (shown), Stake Mount (which is exactly what it sounds like), and locking Secure Mount make it even more suitable to a range of applications. Otherwise it also connects directly to your WiFi network so there’s no need for hubs, features computer vision-enhanced motion detection to set and send alerts and such, and boasts a built-in 6,700 mAh battery to run for several days without being plugged.

Find it at Amazon – $175

GET IT

Gadgets

Spyslide Webcam Cover

Industrial engineers didn’t painstakingly design your laptop computer just so you could spoil its looks with a sticker or, worse, a piece of tape, over the camera. The stainless steel Spyslide Webcam Cover is both subtler and a far more elegant solution. It’s ultra-thin at 0.023 inches (0.6mm) as to not interfere with screen closing, sports a small bump to facilitate sliding open or closed, and is completely self-contained so there are no loose parts to lose. Works with laptops, desktops, and tablets, and comes in either matte black or metallic silver to suit them all.

Find it at Kickstarter – roughly $10

GET IT: ~$10

Tech

Bragi Dash Pro

Bragi’s Dash Pro wireless earphones are self-proclaimed intelligent. And with freedom from both wires and language barriers, we’d tend to agree. The two independently wireless earphones connect to your device using Bluetooth, though 4GB of on-board memory means you can use them as a stand-alone music player as well. Like the AirPods the case doubles as a backup battery and charger to give the earphones, which have a 5 hour runtime on their own, a total life of 30 hours by stashing enough juice to recharge them fivefold. The big difference in terms of sound quality is that these boast Knowles’ Balanced Armature drivers in each earphone for clarity and dynamism that you won’t find in your run-of-the-mill cans, not to mention passive noise isolation by way of FitTips foam and FitSleeves silicone tips. Most uniquely though the Dash Pro also automatically tracks your activity (and all the metrics that come with it) whether you run, swim, or cycle, and integrates iTranslate to translate conversations and communicate in real time and in over 40 languages, so a person can speak a foreign language into your phone’s microphone and Bragi’s app will automatically relay speech in your language to the headphone (and vice versa, as the headphones pick up your speech and output a translation on your phone’s speaker).

Learn more at Bragi – $330

GET IT: $330

Photography

DJI Ronin 2 DSLR Gimbal

Stabilizing a flying camera isn’t easy. DJI’s been doing it for awhile on their drones, and they’ve transposed this know-how into handheld gimbals as well. And the DJI Ronin 2 Gimbal is by far the most capable of the latter so far. Equipped with an enlarged camera cage and high torque motors, this gimbal can handle a variety of rigs — including some by RED and Black Magic — up to 30 pounds in weight, stabilizing them in high winds and even at speeds of up to 75 mph such as when mounted to a car. Ease of use is crucial so an integrated touchscreen accelerates setup and controls, while the intuitive Gimbal Assistant app lets you plan out timelapses and panorama shots easier than ever. The Ronin 2 also has dual hot-swappable batteries (that also run in temperatures as low as -4°F) for uninterrupted shooting, a carbon fiber build for low weight and high strength, and integrated GPS that’s necessary for maintaining the camera’s positioning and angle while moving at high speeds. Good thing, too, considering it’s highly mountable, attaching to cable cams, Steadicams, drones, vehicles, and cranes, amongst others.

All we’re missing is the price. Learn more at DJI – $TBA

GET IT: $TBA

Tech

Native Union Cosmos Cables

Native Union makes plenty of fancy charging accessories, notably the ten foot long weighted Night Cable that we use daily. The Native Union Cosmos Cable Collection isn’t just a re-skin of their existing cables, though it’s certainly that, too, with a dark, Terrazzo-inspired color pattern made of interwoven tones of grey and white. Perhaps more importantly though the cables boast DuPont Kevlar fiber underneath the tough nylon braided exterior as well as an O-Flex strain-relieving design at the connector joint, all-in-all making them several-fold more durable than traditional charge cables that tend to eventually fray with heavy use. Models include a Cosmos Night Cable (shown, right), a keychain-sized Key Cable (center), a portable Belt Cable (left) with a small leather belt to keep it tidy in your bag, and a Belt Cable XL which wraps up like the smaller one but is ten feet long.

Learn more at Native Union – $25 to $40 each

GET IT: $25+

Tech

Light Phone

Perhaps your relationship with your phone is getting out of hand. Or maybe it’s the daily recharges and pocket dedicated entirely to your phablet-sized device. Regardless, the Light Phone solves these issues perhaps a little too well. With the profile of a credit card and a weight of just over an ounce, this is a phone that you’ll end up using as little as possible, primarily because it can’t really do much other than make and receive calls — so it’s best set up as a secondary phone with call forwarding from your primary when you want to cut the cord at a total cost of $5 per month for the extra SIM card. Touch-sensitive buttons, which number twelve total, include the ten numbers necessary to dial, as well as one for calling and one for deleting, though it’s also got a power button up top and a lock slider on the left. So forget about texting. You can either start memorizing numbers or load up to 9 as speed dial using your computer, each dialled by a long press of the corresponding number. It’s also small enough to fit in normal wallets so it’ll slip both out of sight and out of mind.

Learn more at The Light Phone – $150

GET IT: $150

Tech

Amazon Echo Show

First Alexa had ears. Then she had eyes. Now Amazon’s latest personal assistant, the Amazon Echo Show, also has a medium with which to show you things: a 7-inch touchscreen. As with previous devices the Echo Show’s looks are understated but are backed with serious technological wizardry including far-field voice recognition, noise cancellation, and eight microphones to hear you from any direction even while it’s playing your music, so you can ask Alexa various things completely hands-free. The screen further expands its capabilities to let you make video calls using the 5-megapixel front-facing camera, watch movies or video clips, see who’s at the door (provided a smart doorbell or security camera), pull up a recipe, and much more. All in a package, to reiterate, that looks particularly pedestrian, which contrasts significantly with what it can do (and perhaps convinces us to let these things into our homes).

Learn more at Amazon – $230

GET IT: $230

Tech

PowerUp USB-C Power Adapter & Hub

Your MacBook or MacBook Pro has nothing but USB-C ports. Too bad the rest of your accessories are slow to follow suit. The PowerUp USB-C Power Adapter & Hub should cover you until the USB-C standard is more mainstream. It’s not much bigger than the power adapter that came with your computer nor does it cost more, though it still outputs 60W AC — enough even for smaller MacBook Pros, and bigger, 15-inch Pros that aren’t being pushed to full capacity (worst case if they are temporarily they’ll just drain their batteries a bit). It also doubles as a hub to sync and charge three USB-A-reliant devices, or in which to plug a standard thumb drive, making it a better choice for carrying around instead of a standard adapter and a bag-full of dongles.

Find it at Indiegogo – $80

GET IT: $80

Tech

Logitech Slim Folio

Apple would have you believe that an iPad is a suitable laptop replacement. We think it really depends what you’re doing, but for taking notes, writing, and surfing or reading, it’ll probably do just fine when given a physical keyboard. The Logitech Slim Folio is the case, keyboard, and stand your tablet needs to contend with more seriously productive devices (i.e. laptops), with mechanical scissor keys that travel a more-than-adequate 1.5 mm to give tactile feedback while typing. The top row of shortcut keys also puts a variety of functions at the tip of your fingers, like adjusting volume, activating dictation, skipping tracks, and changing language, and the stand works as well on your lap as it does on a desk or table. Closing the screen cover powers off both your tablet and the keyboard, holding shut thanks to a magnetic clasp. Otherwise it connects to your iPad using Bluetooth and lasts for an impressive four years on a set of coin cell batteries, at least assuming you use it for around two hours a day.

Learn more at Logitech – $100

GET IT: $100

Tech

Fender Mustang GT Guitar Amplifier

It’s been one of the best selling amp lines in Fender’s history, and now the Fender Mustang GT Guitar Amplifier is going high tech. On top of enhanced signal processing for better fidelity, the new line features both Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity, and though while you’ll still need to plug your guitar in with a cable the amp links to your smartphone running Fender’s Tone app to give you real-time control over tones and effects without having to physically spin knobs on the amp. You can also browse a list of presets created by renowned artists and guitarists and save your own for quickly pulling them up later. An optional 4-button footswitch rounds out its feature set for hands-free controls of effects and the looper. Available in three sizes from the home-appropriate Mustang GT 40 to the big stage-ready GT 200.

Check out the full lineup at Fender – $250+

GET IT: $250+

Gaming

STOA Replay Arcade Cabinets

In this day and age where gaming is a literal profession for some, nearly as much attention is given to video game systems of old as it is to newer games. Case in point: the sold-out Nintendo NES Classic Edition, the Analogue NT, and now STOA’s Replay Arcade Cabinets. These retro gaming cabinets are premium and bespoke, above all else, and feature seamless designs, high quality paint jobs, and a laser-cut LED-backlit logo. It’ll look at home in any self-respecting man cave and boasts the same big colorful buttons and precise joysticks that you used to abuse in the arcade back in the day, though it ditches the cathode ray tube monitors for modern LCD monitors with a scanline generator to fill every other line on the monitor with a black line, so it looks just like it should.

Learn more at STOA – $5,000+

GET IT: $5,000+