25 Cool Gadgets For A Hot Summer12:00 PM EST Fri. May. 24, 2013
Maybe the most anticipated season of them all, summer is finally here. Whether you are most looking forward to time spent by the pool, grilling out in the yard or an out-of-town hiatus, CRN has found the cool tech gadgets to help enhance any summer experience. Some gizmos and thing-a-ma-bobs that, not long ago, would have sounded like something out of a sci-fi movie, are available for purchase now, whereas others will become available this summer, meaning you can get a jump on pre-ordering your gadgets now so they arrive in time for upcoming summer fun.
Check out CRN's 25 cool gadgets for the summer.
Prepare summer playlists and listen poolside with these wireless, shock resistant, waterproof speakers. Streaming music from your Bluetooth-enabled devices means listening to over 10 hours of music before having to recharge the built-in lithium battery. No need to leave the lounge chair to answer that important phone call, just answer over the built-in speakerphone. In case a speaker is bumped into the water, no worries, it will float to the top.
List price: $129.99.
Dustproof, shockproof, freezeproof and waterproof up to a depth of 43 feet, the Lumix DMC-FT5 was built to endure the most extreme adventure. Capable of high image quality with 16.1-megapixels, full HD videos as well as time lapse videos, summer memories can be reproduced in all kinds of forms. The zoom noise reduction microphone cures interrupting background noise such as traffic or mumbling crowds. Connect to Wi-Fi or simply place the camera nearby your smartphone or tablet and follow the instructions to share between devices. Each photo and video can be tagged and sorted by specific location and displayed on Google Earth via the GPS feature, so remembering which museum that one painting was in or which park inspired that impromptu summer picnic won't be a problem.
With enough available sunlight, this 10-watt solar charger by Brown Dog Gadgets delivers up to 2 amps of power. According to Brown Dog, the charger is capable of charging an iPhone in 1-2 hours and, with enough time, will even restore the battery of an iPad. This sun-powered gadget unfolds into four sections to a width of 32.5 inches and charges devices via a USB port.
List: Available for pre-order starting at $100, shipping in July
There is little room for privacy when it comes to what this thin bracelet knows about its user. A great way to get in shape this summer, Fitbit Flex wrist band tracks steps taken, distance covered and calories burned while using small LED lights in the band to show the wearer's progression toward his or her personal goals. Keep the band on overnight and it will track sleep cycles and the number of times slumber was disturbed. In the morning the band vibrates, alerting the user that it is time to start the day without ever disturbing his or her partner. The Fitbit Flex automatically syncs data with other devices allowing users to track trends and progress throughout the day.
Stick a probe in it. Is it done? The newest thing in cooking thermometers, the iGrill monitors meat on the grill from up to 200 feet away. With multiple probes, the iGrill can track cooking temperature as well as remaining cook time. Once meat has reached the intended temperature, an alert is sent to the griller's iOS device.
No matter how rigorous the workout or sweaty the ears, Yurbuds' TwistLock technology keeps headphones from ever falling out. While providing excellent sound quality, the buds also allow users to still hear noise around them, providing an extra safety feature for runners or cyclists on the street. With earpieces guaranteed not to hurt, a cord guaranteed not to tangle or tear and a warranty guaranteed for life, Yurbuds come with a lot of promises.
List: Inspire for women $29.99, Inspired Duro $49.99 or Inspire Limited Edition $99.99
Just because more time may be spent outside in the summer does not mean dedicated TV fans have to miss out on the season premiere of Dexter. The One Touch iRecord can record from TV, TiVo, DVD or even VCR and store media for later watch. Recording directly to an iPod, PlayStation Portable or any USB 2.0 mass storage device, it is easy to save a series of favorite shows for a rainy summer day. The simplicity is in the name; recording starts with only "one touch."
List: $197.76 on gamestoysonline.com
Recommended for bird watching, sporting events or just taking in the scenery, these Barska binoculars are designed to get closer to the action and snap an image or video. Zoom in on the your favorite baseball player from the nosebleeds or fool friends and family about how close the bear actually was to the campground. The compact binoculars have 8 MB of storage space, and photographs and videos can be uploaded to a PC.
List: $49.99 on www.binoculars.com
Sony has taken the smartphone to new depths. Expected to be released later this summer, the Xperia ZR has a 4.6-inch HD Reality display, 13-megapixel camera and the capability to record HD video underwater. The smartphone can be submerged in up to 5 feet of fresh water for a period of 30 minutes at a time, but the ocean remains a no-go zone. Sony Mobile released that the phone will run Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core 1.5GHz processor and 4G LTE. The device itself will only have 8 GB of storage, but a microSD card slot will allow for expansion.
Save more, keep more, remember more. The LinkStation 420 series is the newest addition to the Buffalo Technology storage line up. Linking television, gaming consoles and mobile devices, LinkStation compiles all of the media an entire household may collect. LinkStation lets users share music, videos and pictures with everyone on the network and control media remotely from anywhere with a Wi-Fi connection. Enjoy the security of knowing every file is automatically backed up. The station is compatible with all major operating systems and can be purchased with a capacity of 2, 4, 6 or 8 TB.
List: Starting at $149
Track summer cycling distance, speed and elevation with the Garmin Edge 810 GPS Bike Computer. No need to estimate how many miles were trekked or how brutal a climb was when the statistics can be provided on a touchscreen attached to the handlebars. Heart rate and speed/cadence are also monitored during a ride, and weather updates warn riders about conditions ahead. Street and topographic maps are built into the GPS, allowing cyclist to take the scenic route without fear of getting lost. Bragging about new accomplishments is also made easy via the instant upload and social network sharing capabilities.
Thin, light and tough, the new Sony Xperia Tablet Z may be the ideal travel companion this summer. Weighing only 1.09 pounds with a depth of only .27 inches, the tablet's sure to leave plenty of room in any carry on luggage. Available in 16 or 32 GB, the tablet has a 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 quad-core processor, and 2 GB of RAM powers the device. The 10.1-inch screen has a 1,200-x-1,920 resolution and 224 ppi. The battery life supports up to 10 hours of productivity, and the water- and dust-resistant tablet is safe to take nearly anywhere.
List: Available for pre-order starting at $499.99
If overeating is standing in the way of achieving a beach-ready body, the HAPIfork can help buzz away the pesky habit. The new "smart fork" keeps track of the number of bites taken and average mealtime. If the fork determines its user is approaching food-shoveling speeds, it vibrates and lights up, alerting the eater to slow down. The idea is, if a person eats slower, they will feel fuller faster and, in the end, eat less. No need to give up the occasional ice cream binge just yet; HAPIspoon has not hit the market. But, it's available for pre-order through HAPILabs' Kickstarter campaign.
Going on the road but do not want to leave the World Wide Web at home? The Autonet Car Router provides a Wi-Fi hotspot in the car and supports any Wi-Fi enabled device. The router is capable of supporting multiple devices at once and runs at an average speed of 400 Kbps to 800 Kbps. Easily mountable anywhere in a vehicle, including the trunk, the router will work in the most remote places and will not cut out at the entrance of a tunnel.
List: $399.99 for device; monthly plans begin at $29
Those who have experienced an AC failure in the middle of July know that temperature is vital to a comfortable home. The Nest is a thermostat that learns the preferences of its home's residents and adjusts itself during the day, night and even when the house is empty. In case of extenuating circumstances, users can simply adjust the thermostat remotely from any mobile device regardless of how far from home they may be. The device is capable of cutting heating and cooling costs up to 50 percent.
Perfect for those who have a tendency to drop phones down rocky cliffs or jump phone-in-pocket into the pool, Seido dares its users to put this case to the test. Fit for the Galaxy S4, the case is designed to endure the most extreme climates and elements without sacrificing touchscreen sensitivity or sound quality.
List: Starting at $79.95
Underwater Audio took the Apple iPod shuffle and waterproofed it. The fourth-generation, 2-GB shuffle brings the luxury of personal music libraries to the ears of swimmers. Instead of a soundtrack of splashing arms and kicking feet, swimmers can receive motivation from the latest dubstep mash up or Taylor Swift ballade. Sealed from the inside out, water does not stand a chance at seeping through the cracks. Attach it to a suit or cap with the clip provided and enjoy long battery life that equals hours of music. This device does not include waterproof headphones. But, not to worry, the next summer gadget on the list has got it covered.
An underwater iPod does little good without underwater headphones. The Pyle waterproof headphones wrap around the ear and sport in-ear earbuds built to stay in, even in the midst of rigorous training. It can be tricky to keep the 4-foot cord out of the way, but having the Top 40 playing during seemingly endless laps may be worth it. One possible, and simple, solution: run the cord under your swimsuit so that the suit's straps and/or waistline keep it close to the body.
Tote tunes near and far without ever having to untangle wires or deal with extension cords. Weighing in at just over 4 pounds, this Bluetooth-enabled, wireless speaker runs on solar power. If the party continues into the night, the internal lithium battery will keep the music pumping 8 hours after the sun has set. In case power becomes a problem, the speakers can always be plugged in via AC adaptor. Control songs remotely through any Bluetooth-enabled device, and use the USB port on the Rukus to charge other mobile devices.
Movie enthusiasts can enjoy films in the great outdoors this summer. Project videos, play video games or share vacation photos for the entire neighborhood to see on a crystal-clear, 5-foot screen. The WowWee comes complete with 6-watt stereo speakers and a headphone jack. Dock an iPhone or iPad, or plug in a laptop or other device and control the big screen from the device or the included remote control.
Pocket-sized back up, the HP Pocket Playlist solves the problem of mobile devices reaching capacity. The new HP product is capable of streaming unencrypted content to up to 5 mobile devices at once and does not need Wi-Fi in order to operate. With enough storage for 16 full-length movies, the device frees up plenty of space for a smartphone or tablet to perform other functions. Compatible with Mac OS as well as Windows, simply plug the playlist in and drag and drop desired files. Included in the box is a convenient AC adaptor and car charger.
List: Starting at $129
If the collection of mobile devices in the car is starting to resemble a well-stocked retail store, consider the ReVive PowerUp to make sure no one is fighting over a single power source. Two USB ports and a DC outlet allow just about any phone, tablet or e-reader to juice up between pit stops. The charger is surge protected, folds up for easy storage and comes with a 3-year manufacturer's warranty.
List: $14.99 on accessorygenie.com
It may not be the most fashionable accessory in your summer line up, but if you dread the heat, the Thanko USB neck cooler might be worth the style risk. Powered by batteries that recharge using a USB port, the neck cooler holds a charge for up to 12 hours. Rather than using a traditional fan to thrust cool air on to your skin, the Neck Cooler uses heat-conducting metal and small fans to remove body heat through the back of your neck.
If "roughing it" is a bit out of your comfort zone, BioLite Camping Stove brings a few more indoor amenities to the average camping trip. Fueled by sticks or pellets, the stove can boil a quarter-gallon of water in less than five minutes and has the ability to hold 1 gallon of liquid or up to 8 pounds. Just in case your mobile device is running out of juice, you can also use the stove’s USB port to charge up no matter how far into the wilderness you may find yourself.
Fight motion sickness with these unobtrusive wristbands available in an assortment of colors and patterns. Wear them in a car or on a train, in a boat or on a plane, wear them anywhere to stay out of nausea-related pain. PSI bands use acupressure, not medication, to battle nausea. They can be reused and adjusted to fit any wrist. Bands can be purchased at a number of doctor’s offices, hospitals, medical centers, drug stores and grocery stores throughout the U.S., as well as through online retailer stores.
List: Around $19