Electric personal transporters are mostly horrible. Segways are reserved for mall cops and helmeted tourists interested in experiencing both the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial without taking a single step. Hoverboards, which also explode, are just fodder for America's Funniest Home Videos. Everyone I've ever seen riding one of those electric unicycles has nearly caused a car accident. These machines are strange status symbols of lazy American excess.
Gadgets & Smart Home Reviews
This fall seems like the season we're finally going to see an amazing new family of gadgets: completely wireless headphones that work properly. Sure, companies have tried for years, but most of those attempts have sucked (or been really hard to actually buy). And now, Jaybird is sprinting out of the gates with Run, a slick set of earbuds that practically disappear in your ears. Unfortunately, the new Jaybird buds have some problems.
The Frame by Samsung is about as pretentious as a television could be. It's a $3299-plus 4K TV that doubles as a digital display for works of art. You can even hang it on your wall with a "no gap" mount and attach faux wood panels to the sides so that it looks like painting. Neat idea, sure, but inevitably, The Frame by Samsung is still just a television wrapped in a fancy sales pitch.
There's nothing unique about loving Lego. Millions of people wax nostalgic when they see those colourful bricks. Millions more never stopped building. I've always been a bit in between. I like zoning out by putting stuff together so, every couple of years, I'll buy a Lego set and build it. But then what? Put it on my shelf? Thanks to the new Lego Boost Creative Toolbox, there's another possibility. Turning Lego creations into programmable robots makes them fun (and functional) in an amazing new way.
Hot on the heels of the MS650, Samsung has an even more powerful all-in-one soundbar that promises to do away with bulky extra speakers or a standalone subwoofer — unless you want to add them on, of course. Thing is, you don't really have to.
My cat, Artemis, is a bustling career woman. She has many jobs that she juggles between stealing my hair ties and spilling her kibble; in addition to serving as the Mayor of Fluffingsville, she runs a network of freelancers as Editor-in-Chief of Catmodo. Since both of us are busy most of the day at our respective places of work, we forget to check in on each other. Thankfully, Petcube's newest gadget, Petcube Bites, lets humans check in on their furry companions when they're apart. It also lets us fling treats at them on command which is both heartwarming and mildly horrifying.
Samsung's been making soundbars for a while — and it sells the most of any A/V brand in Australia. Most of its soundbars have additional speakers or subwoofers to add a bit of extra audio oomph, but not the new MS650. Designed to operate without a subwoofer and still pump out dat bass, it's an all-in-one soundbar for small homes and apartments. But is it a waste of your time and effort?
This is opulence. Suddenly, there is extra light blasting from behind my TV screen, making a day-glow title sequence positively atomic. The DreamScreen, a backlighting system that's designed to make your TV viewing more immersive, is a luxury that I absolutely don't need. In theory, the supplementary lights change colour based on the pixels on the TV screen for an "immersive theatre experience." In practice, it's an overstimulating, distracting, nauseating novelty, and I can't get enough of this shit.
Even we nerds get outside sometimes. And when we do, we want to stay dry. We want to stay dry in the most high-tech way possible. And lo, The North Face's latest jacket is exactly that: a fully waterproof (like, dump a bucket of water on your head waterproof) jacket that's still soft and pliable and portable and comfortable.
Sonos's latest speaker is built not to go around your TV, nor in front of it. It's built to go underneath, and to blend in with your existing furniture more than any Sonos speaker before it. It's only built for a certain kind of TV, but that doesn't mean you're not going to want to try it out anyway.
There aren't too many headphones out there that offer both noise cancelling and built-in Bluetooth. Out of those select few, fewer again are actually worth your time and effort and attention. Sennheiser's HD 4.50 do a very good job of being wireless, and a very good job of noise cancelling — with only a few small trade-offs.
I've got a struggle y'all. I've been using the new Kobo Aura H2O off and on for the last few weeks, switching between reading on it with reading on my overpriced but super damn slick Amazon Kindle Oasis. The two aren't entirely comparable: The Oasis costs $449 and the Kobo goes for $239. But the big difference between the two has nothing to do with price, or even hardware — it comes down to how I get the books on the Kobo. And as I plug the Aura into my laptop, again, to load on another book, again, I'm really forced to ask myself, again, why am I enduring this?
If you buy a Bluetooth speaker in 2017, you want it to be a little more useful than just being a squat black box that creates mediocre sound. The new Bose Revolve and Revolve Plus follow the tried-and-tested UE Boom formula: a waterproof, 360-degree Bluetooth speaker with great sound quality and portability, but also with the addition of built-in support for Siri or Google Assistant.
The first night the Amazon Echo Show was in my bedroom I had to carefully lay it face down on my nightstand. The display, which was cycling through my upcoming meetings, most recent news, and the weather, was simply too bright. It was like having a little super informative sun shining in my face. The second night, as if it knew, the Echo Show had another slide on its screen. "Try saying 'Alexa, do not disturb.'"
Bang & Olufsen's younger, funkier BeoPlay brand has really been kicking some goals recently; I haven't met a BeoPlay speaker that I haven't loved. The same is true even of this latest P2, a pint-sized USB-C-powered travel companion that makes perfect sense for anyone with a new Android phone to take with them in backpack or purse wherever they go. It sounds so much better than your phone's tinny speakers, but fits away in even the smallest bag.
I might be the only person at Gizmodo that likes Sphero's new Cars toy. My co-workers hate the way the robot announces it's going to sleep, and the long animated process it takes to wake up. They're also horrified by the very existence of sentient automobiles and tractors that moo. But my colleagues are too caught up in trying to understand Pixar's Cars world to realise that they're playing with the incredible future of robotic toys.