Try as we might, there’s simply too much cool technology to keep up with. New products hit the market every and, as much as we’d love to write extensive reviews about all of them, we just don’t have time. To that end, we’re happy to share bite-sized reviews of technology and gear that we find interesting or worth a closer look.
Below you’ll find products that we’re impressed with that all share one thing in common – they’re all under $200. While these aren’t purely electronics or gadgets, we think they’re awesome.
If you’re shopping on a tighter budget, be sure to check out the following:
The MW07 Go offer up to ten hours of playback on a charge with the carrying case holding another 12 hours. You’re probably only charging your case twice a week, if that.
Present here is USB Type-C charging which promises five hours playtime on a 15 minute charge. The case isn’t fancy or heavy, but it’s modern looking with a “technical knit” fabric that calls to mind the case that came with the first generation of Google Pixel Buds.
The MW07 Go are IPX5 rated against water and sweat, something we’re sure you’ll appreciate when getting a pump on or a few miles on the treadmill. There are two microphones and we had no issues blocking out most environmental sound. And, because they don’t get super loud, it’s like having a built-in ability to tap into ambient noises.
Also worth pointing out, you can use the right earbud by itself if you plan to listen to music in just one ear. Sold in a variety of colors, these are a premium experience that rivals all others. $199 at Master & Dynamic
The RHA Trueconnect do not disappoint on audio quality as the mids and highs are crisp and robust. They are also louder than others we’ve tested in the market from Anker and iFrogz. There’s also an ample amount of bass; we were more than happy with the overall sound quality of the earbuds.
The hinged case has an aluminum outside shell that rotates up to reveal the earbuds. The solid construction absolutely makes the RHA Trueconnect scream premium. Inside, the earbuds have a similar result. The Airpod-inspired design looks great and the buds are covered in a matte, soft-touch coating.
The aforementioned case also functions as a battery pack. This adds four separate charges of the Trueconnect while on the go. Once you pair this with five hours of playback per charge, RHA rates the buds to have 20 hours of total playtime.
Let’s just talk about the number of tips that are included with the RHA Trueconnect buds; there are 20 of them if you count the two that are pre-installed on the earbuds. This gives you small, medium, and large combinations of tips to make sure you get a great fit. You even have three sets of Comply Foam editions. $170 at RHA
WOpet DO1 treat tosser and food dispenser
We like the build quality of the DO1 treat dispenser and it comes with a fair amount of interesting features. As pet owners, it’s nice to pop in on them when we’re away just to see how things are going.
The camera is as good as any others in the price point and does a decent job of detail and color. We expected a half-baked attempt at the photo and video component and came away pleased with it. Placed near the dog bowls we can get interesting photos of our beloved animals without disturbing them.
When it comes to dispensing treats, there’s a fair amount of power behind it. We typically saw them get about 3-4 feet with the occasional one going further. Our dogs seemed to enjoy the unit and weren’t shy from the cartoon-like sound or the motorized noise.
It’s part pet feeder, part treat dispenser, and part security camera. It’s the sort of device you’d have in your home if you’re prone to spoiling your pets or like to check on them when traveling.
The app gives users the option to snap photos, record video clips, and listen in or communicate with the feeder. Simply speak into your phone and your pet will immediately hear you. $140 at Amazon
Ultimate Ears MEGABOOM 3
When you’re looking to fill a room with block-rockin’ beats, you’d be wise to turn to Ultimate Ears. There’s plenty to choose from in the brand’s portfolio, but few pack the punch that the MEGABOOM 3 does.
With six different colors to choose from, this speaker looks at home in any environment. And that’s indoors as well as outdoors, mind you. That’s right, this speaker is IP67 water and dustproof rated, which means it can be completely submerged in water for up to 30 minutes. Not only that, it floats so you don’t have to dive down to snag it from the bottom of the pool when things get out of hand.
While you can pair it over Bluetooth right away and get going, the real fun comes in the Block Party feature that’s found in the mobile app. Pick up to two friends to connect and share playlists and music.
It’s not as if you’ll necessarily need more “boom” in one room, but we know how it goes. Connect up to 150 (yeah, that’s right) speakers to create the ultimate surround sound vibe. And it’s not just pairing with other MEGABOOM 3’s either; you can use previous generations of the BOOM and MEGABOOM series.
With up to 20 hours of battery life between charges, your speaker will outlast that all-nighter and then some. Check out the optional Power Up charging dock for a practical way to keep juiced. Other features we love include a customized tuner, sound profiles, and a two year warranty. $199.99 at Ultimate Ears
Setup and customization is easy and we appreciate that the DB1 can be adjusted to personal tastes. We also like that the doorbell has 2.4GHz and 5GHz connectivity as that makes installation and configuration easier.
The camera is fairly quick to detect people and animals, the two-way communication is convenient, field of view is terrific. It’s hard to argue for more when dealing with a $150 price tag.
The doorbell itself is big and doesn’t do much to hide itself. That’s a good thing, really, as it’s designed to help you not catch people in the act of theft. Speaking of which, it’s possibly a deterrent as it is so obvious.
If you’ve already got EZVIZ products in your home, it makes perfect sense to consider the DB1. The app experience ties everything together and creates a more seamless experience. $150 at Amazon
Lifeproof LIFEACTÍV Power Pack 10
Writing about portable chargers isn’t always as easy as it seems. After a certain point they all tend to sound about the same. Capacities might differ and some may be a little more outwardly attractive, but they’re largely similar. In short, they’re little bricks or platters that we carry around for extra juice.
Imagine our pleasure when we had the chance to test out the LIFEACTÍV Power Pack 10 from Lifeproof. Yes, the same brand that provides waterproof, dirt proof, and drop proof phone cases is doing the same in the portable power supply space.
Indeed, the LIFEACTÍV Power Pack is the sort of power bank that’s designed to go everywhere you go. Whether that means heading to the beach, on a hike in the woods, or sitting out back at the barbecue pit, it’s built for most environments.
With 10,000mAh worth of battery, there’s enough to charge up most flagship phones three times over. And not just by plugging in through a USB port, either. This one also features support for Qi-equipped phones. Of course there is a USB port for those who would rather plug in directly, too.
Other details found in this charger include automatically stopping charge when devices reach 100 percent, an LED flashlight, and four LED indicator lights. You’ll always know just how much gas is left in the tank. Oh, and the handy wrist strap means you won’t accidentally drop this one because it’s covered in water or snow.
A LIFEACTÍV Power Pack 20 is also available with double the capacity. It’s the same price but trades out the wireless charging capability. If that’s not something you need or desire, we say go with the extra life. $100 at LifeProof
Circle Home Plus
With young ones connecting more and more at home how do you as a parent monitor and keep them safe? The Circle Home Plus is a small little box that connects to your router and helps you monitor the usage of devices in your home.
Connecting is very simple; you’ll be adding family members to the account in no time at all. After that you pick the age of the family member and then what kind of content they are allowed to connect with, such as as Amazon, Hulu, Minecraft PE, Neflix, PBS, and YouTube.
Users are able to set time limits for certain things like one hour of YouTube as well as a bedtime for when you want certain devices to stay off the network.
Other features that are worth your attention include historical breakdown of visited sites, time spent online, and just having knowledge as to what devices are connected to your network
There’s hardly any configuration to deal with beyond the initial setup. We like that we can view usage from inside the app, knowing which child is active. You are also able to set reward for your child based on certain things. For instance, we had good report cards so one evening we rewarded the kids with No Time Limit Today and No Offtime Today. $129 from Amazon.