Spring Ahead to our latest Random Gadget Roundup – a brief look at some of the tech items we’ve come across recently – some of which might make a gift for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, graduation, or just for yourself.
Vivitar Wi-Fi Action Cam (DVR 914HD) is a waterproof, Wi-Fi-enabled camera with a 170-degree wide angle lens and 16.1 megapixels, able to capture HD video no matter what you’re doing. Connects to smartphones and tablets and saves recordings on micro-SD card. This action camera has a 2 inch LCD screen and comes with various mounts for bikes or helmets. Less than $110 at Amazon.
OWC USB-C Travel Dock is just what it says, a way to connect your USB-C laptop with a variety of devices – allowing it to charge other USB-C things such as a phone, while also providing USB 3 connectors, HDMI and even an SD card reader. It can also be a standalone charging dock for several devices at once. Under $50 at B&H Photo.
ERL Wireless Sports Earbuds could be your alternative to more expensive AirPods. These are Bluetooth of course and are said to be maximized for signal strength. Sweat and splashproof, they come with a charging case and are said to last more than 3 hours in a charge. Under $60 direct.
RapidX Car Charger X5 may be what you need to charge or run all the devices you and your passengers have in your vehicle. Plugs into the auxiliary power port (the old cigarette lighter) in your front dash, with a cable that allows it to charge back seat devices too. 5 charging ports altogether. Direct for under $25 – in 8 colors from white to pink.
iHome Control SmartPlug works with Apple HomeKit & Siri, Nest, Wink, Alexa and Smart Things to turn on or off any lamp or appliance and because it links to Wi-Fi you don’t have to be home to do it, just use an iOS or Android app. It fits a regular 3-prong wall outlet but is slim enough to leave the other outlet in your duplex plate free for other uses, or put in a second SmartPlug. From $30 to $50 direct or at Amazon, the most expensive model includes a remote control & power monitoring.
Moleskine+ Plain Paper Tablet and Moleskine Pen+ Ellipse allow you to take written notes in a paper notebook, notes that transfer automatically to your smartphone, tablet or computer screen. Write, sketch, doodle, or whatever, and what you do with the Pen+ on the Paper Tablet it syncs automatically to the screen of your choice.The Smart Writing Set is under $200 direct or from Amazon.
Cuff Wrist Strap keeps you connected to your camera or binoculars but easily disconnects when necessary. The strap stays on your wrist – make it a bracelet – ready to reattach to your camera at any time. Under $30 at Amazon, in two colors.
BIO-key TouchLock XL is a Bluetooth enabled shackle lock that works with an app on your smartphone, no keys to use or lose. for gym locker, home or job site, the lock will only open on command from your phone, and you can set it to use a fingerprint. Authorize unlimited multiple users but retain administrative control. A 30-minute charge keeps it powered for 9 months. Weatherproof for outdoor use. In silver, blue or yellow for under $50 at Amazon.
Filofax eniTAB306° Tablet Holders stick to the back of any tablet to hold them up for easy reading or typing. Part of Filofax’s line of tablet accessories including universal tablet cases in three sizes, a dozen colors and four constructions: elastic, zip, wrap or strap. The tablet holder is under $20, the cases run from under $40 to over $100, depending on design. Sold online direct.
Jackson Bluetooth Transceiver TM-S2 can be used to receive or send Bluetooth audio. So if you want to use your wired headphones “wirelessly,” plug them into the Jackson Transceiver and send sound from your smartphone. Or insert a micro-SD card with music and listen as you walk or bike. Can be used for handsfree phone calls in older vehicles without Bluetooth or transmit TV audio to a Bluetooth enabled speaker. Comes with transceiver, charger, vent mount & cables. Under $60 direct.
HELLO is the name of a business level video conferencing device, that can hold high-quality video meetings and much more, including home uses such as motion detection for security and integration with Amazon Echo/Alexa. You can use it to Skype and Facebook Messenger chat with friends or family; ask Alexa to show you news, sports, weather and other information; and notify your phone of activity when you’re away from home or office. HELLO mounts on top of a TV, or on a tripod, a wall or just sits on a table top. Currently $449 direct.
Nokia Steel HR Watch is an upgraded version of the first Nokia Steel activity and sleep monitor watch, in that the HR stands for heart rate, an additional function. The Steel HR is water resistant down to 50 meters and will recognize when you swim, run or walk – and eventually sleep. It also notifies of incoming smartphone messages as well as connects to Nokia’s Health Mate app. In two face colors, two finishes, two band sizes and several interchangeable bands are available. $180 to $220 from Amazon, depending on size, finish and band.
Polaroid POP Instant Digital Camera is meant for fun, not serious photography. It takes, then quickly prints out, 3.5 by 4.25-inch photos taken with its 20-megapixel camera. You can add fun effects, crop and rotate photos, link to your phone and go on Wi-Fi. You can even use it to record HD videos or 15 second GIFs. Under $180 at Amazon and a pack of 40 sheets of additional ZINK (Zero Ink) photo paper is 40 bucks.