Gadgets & Smart Home Reviews

5

When the Mavic Pro arrived in our offices, the reaction was unanimous: holy shit, it's small. The folding drone is roughly the size and weight of a hefty Italian sandwich. This compact form factor, I'd come to learn, is a blessing and a curse for the Mavic Pro — emphasis on the blessing.

30

Commuting is bullshit. Trains are bad and buses are worse, and riding a bike is Actual Hard Work. That's why electric bikes are convenient — all the usefulness of a bicycle, with electric power to get you up hills. But that's cold comfort if you don't have anywhere to store your bike when you're in the office. Enter the URB-E, a compact electric scooter that folds up out of the way to hide under a desk, but that can also zip around the city without requiring any human effort.

0

As someone very lazy who likes to drive everywhere whenever possible, but also likes a bit of exercise every now and then, I've always been a bit intrigued by folding bikes — something I can keep in the boot and use whenever I want. I also like smart things — and that's why I think this Red Dot award-winning bike, which has built-in GPS and a digital display built into the handlebars, is a little bit cool. It's also called the Galaxy.

2

The June Oven is a super smart countertop convection oven. There's a camera built in that watches the food cook and can correctly identify what food you put in, helpfully supplying cooking modes; Wi-Fi so you can connect to the app to watch your food cook, adjust temperature, or even take set a reminder to take food out; and carbon fibre heating elements that intelligent heat depending on the food so food always comes out evenly cooked. It's all powered with an Nvidia chip making it the smartest oven you've ever used.

6

It's late, I've just plugged the Google Home voice assistant in, and I've got a fridge full of pumpkin and pie crusts and Thanksgiving is three weeks away. "OK Google, how do I make a pumpkin pie?" Google Home happily answers my question, firing off a summary of the instructions as told to it by AllRecipes.com. If I could whip eggs and beat canned pumpkin in the thirty seconds it took Home to recite the recipe, I'd have had a pie. Instead, I nod, wowed that Home can answer my question with ease, but also a little dissatisfied. It's brilliant — so close to perfection that the minor imperfection nags.

12

Google seems to have solved every issue I had with an entry-level VR headset. It still worked with your smartphone (well, if you had a Pixel, for now) but it was, well... beautiful.

Its strikingly clever, lightweight, fabric-based design and fancy-looking controller had me making grabby hands during the Google event when it was announced. Well, now I have had it in said hands, strapped firmly to my face, did it live up to expectations?

2

My dog hates the robot. When I sit on the floor to play with the robot, the dog gets up with a huff and comes over. His tail wags, and he gets in my face. When I avoid him because I have a robot to review he...sits on the robot. It makes upset little noises from under his rear.

1

When you're a kid, building a Lego fortress that can withstand attacks from G.I. Joe and Transformers is a real accomplishment. As an adult, you need a bigger challenge, and that's what Lego's 3,929-piece Technic Bucket Wheel Excavator set provides. It's the most work I've ever put into building a toy, but the resulting edifice makes you feel like you deserve a job at Legoland.

6

Everything felt great, until I found myself skating halfway down the steep side of the Williamsburg Bridge with the Boosted Board throttle cranked to the max. I was going too fast, and I knew it. So I dropped a foot — a dumb thing to do.

34

No one should need or want a $699 hair dryer. The number one hair dryer on Amazon costs $50, the one under my sink cost $90 in 2003, and the one my hair dresser uses daily on clients costs between $120 and $200. A $U699 hair dryer is more than twice the price of anything else, but that doesn't matter, because Dyson, a company best known for its fancy vacuums, has made a hair dryer, and the damn thing might be the last you'll ever need.

1

Blue has long been known for excellent USB microphones — namely the Yeti and its younger brother the Snowball, both of which function intuitively for people outside the audiophile community, while providing dependable recordings with little fuss. That attention to detail has been shrunken down even further with the new, $US200 (Raspberry. But what need does it fill exactly?

6

In late August I spent to weeks traipsing through Europe — on very important work assignments in London, and taking in the local culture of Amsterdam. Being a gadget blogger, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to completely load up my European adventure with every conceivable gadget I could possibly need. I wanted to travel like a 21st-century tech nerd — and it all went according to plan... for the most part.

13

Sometimes I feel like my entire life is spent commuting — by train, cab, or on foot. But biking is by far my favourite way to get around in my home town of NYC, except for those minutes I spend huffing over the Manhattan Bridge. That's where Evelo's Omni Wheel comes in. The after-market add-on can transform most bikes into an electric-powered commute machine. And it works — for the most part.

0

Last Monday, I woke up to a series of strange, muffled noises next to me. "May-tah kuh!" My hand was caressing something furry. "Do you want to hear a song about a cheerleader?"

I blinked a few times and found myself staring into a pair of eyes illuminated by what I imagine is the kind of light you see right before you die.

What the f**k am I touching? Is someone talking to me? Did I accidentally smoke salvia in my sleep?