Try as we might, there’s simply too much cool technology to keep up with. New products hit the market every day 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 $100. While these aren’t purely electronics or gadgets, we think they’re awesome.
TaoTronics SoundSurge 60
Finding a pair of quality over-the-ear noise cancelling headphones shouldn’t cost us an arm and a leg. Here’s proof positive that you can walk the line between affordability and performance.
The TaoTronics SoundSurge 60 feature both active noise-cancelling and Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity, and they don’t break the bank.
Available on a variety of colors (Grey, Mint, Coral, Black) these come with a handy carrying case and a fold-up design that tucks away nicely in a backpack or bag. Oh, and they’re incredibly soft, too.
Put these on the charger for maybe five minutes or so and you’ll get two hours of playback. That’s the kind of last-minute peace of mind we like when we’re heading out the door for the day. A full charge gives you up to 30 hours of play time, so you might be looking at one charge a week. $70 at TaoTronics and $50 at Amazon
Mujjo Insulated Touchscreen Gloves
It’s not uncommon to see gloves with a small tip or section dedicated to touching smartphone displays. It’s great to not have to take your gloves off in the middle of winter just to take a phone call.
The Mujjo gloves are designed with smartphones in mind. Not only do they allow you to touch the screen through each finger, but they also have dedicated grip spots with sticky silicone on the fingers and thumbs. These make it incredibly easy to hold your phone and is a welcome. feature.
Inside is a nice soft insulation (Thinsulate) with fleece that is comfortable yet never gets overly warm. On the outside is a layer of wind-resistant material that stands up to cold days and nights. They’re also stylish, which something you don’t always see in gloves. About $45 at Mujjo
Keychron K2 Mechanical Keyboard
With 84 keys, it is compatible with Windows, Android, and Mac operating systems. Moreover, it has Gateron switches in blue, red, and brown with 15 of the keys designed for multimedia. Also, the Keychron K2 employs N-Key Rollover (NKRO) on wired mode which means it registers every key pressed, even if at same time.
There’s a 4,000mAh battery tucked inside the keyboard, which puts it considerably higher than many of its competitors. Reportedly, it provides up to 10 working hours with the LED blacklights active. We don’t use the lights at all times, but we’re finding we get upwards of 15 hours before we consider charging.
When it comes to wireless mode, you can connect up to three devices to the keyboard. This is handy if you split time between a dedicated office PC and a tablet. It eliminates the need to reset and re-pair every time you switch devices.
Typing on the Keychron K2 is a delight. The curves are just right, wrapping ever so slightly to the tips of fingers. Response is exactly what we expected with the appropriate amount of feedback, clicking, and timing.
The lighting effects are downright cool and there are plenty of options to choose from. In fact, there are so many that the difference between some of them is minimal and tough to notice. That’s not to mention that you can adjust the actual colors, too.
We’ve been very impressed with the Keychron K2 thus far, particularly with its battery. And when it is time to charge, we’re glad to see that it uses USB Type-C and takes very little time to replenish.
If you’re looking for a mechanical keyboard that’s solidly built and highly customizable, start here. Likewise, if you’re on the hunt for a Bluetooth keyboard that looks really cool and pairs with a variety of operating systems, start here. $80-$100 at Amazon
Hohem iSteady Pro 2 3-Axis Handheld Action Camera Gimbal
Capture every moment of any adventure with the Hohem iSteady Pro 2 3-Axis Handheld Action Camera Gimbal.
Improved from the already great version, iSteady Pro 2 comes with a 30% torque improvement on its motors. The 30° angled design on-roll motor with longer support arm makes the action camera display obstruction free and always in your line of sight to capture what you want without any limits.
The upgraded iSteady Pro 2 works with the improved Hohem Gimbal app which allows personal parameters setting, 6-side calibration, and has a new firmware upgrade.
- Capture the best moments & create transition effects without any post-production w/ the Sport Mode
- Make an incredible inception effect using the pan 600° rotation
- Charge other devices through the Micro USB/Type C ports
- Choose from 4 working modes: pan follow, pan & tilt follow, all lock, all follow
- Shoot in first-person point of view w/ the AF mode
House of Marley Positive Vibration XL
We really love the house of Marley brand, particularly because it uses sustainable materials like wood. Sound quality is excellent and we look forward to listening to music for extended periods. The soft memory foam ear cushions feel just as good two hours into a playlist.
These are not just for listening to music, either, as the onboard microphone and remote let you take calls without unplugging or disconnecting from your phone.
The internal battery gives you up to 24 hours of playtime and just 10 minutes on the (USB Type C) charger provides four hours of playback. Throw the headphones on a charger for two hours and you have a 100% charge.
Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity means you can walk further away from your music source without disruption. On the other hand, the tangle free braided cable means that even when you’re plugged in, you’re not getting all twisted up in knots. $99.99 at House of Marley
Ekster Parliament Fortuna Wallet
Yes, even wallets can be smart. Every one of us has misplaced our wallets, if only temporarily. It’s all too common to waste a few, precious minutes running around the house, hunting for the wallet. It’s time to put a stop to that once and for all.
Ekster has a variety of quality wallets to choose from, all of which look cooler than the one in your pocket. They’re made from premium leather and feature a really cool way of ejecting your cards, but that’s not why we love them.
For starters, the wallets offer RFID blocking, meaning strangers can’t bump up against you in a crowded place and walk away with your credit card information.
Additionally, the Ekster line supports a Bluetooth tracking card, the thinnest of its kind. It’s solar powered and just three hours in the sun is good for two month’s worth of charge.
The tracking feature is the peace of mind you didn’t know was possible. Use your voice to locate/ring your wallet with Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa and you’ll be ready to head for the door.
Lose your wallet out and about? Pull up its last known location or let the crowd-sourced GPS network keep you in the loop. That’s right, other people can update you if or when they happen to wander within range.
If all else fails, each card has a unique QR code printed on the back. Whoever finds your wallet can scan it to pull up information and get in touch with you.
We’re big fans of the Parliament Fortuna as it’s slim and tucks away nicely but still manages to holds cash, upwards of eight credit cards, and the tracking card. Best of all, it’s offered in seven great colors. $79 at Ekster ($20 for optional tracking card)
UAG Universal Watch Straps
Urban Armor Gear (UAG) isn’t just a brand that consistently delivers quality phone cases. Indeed, it has a number of watch straps as part of its portfolio, too. Some are designed for specific devices like the Apple Watch, but others are more general in nature.
Many of today’s smart watches, such as the Fossil Gen 5, offer up simple ways to replace or swap out straps. To that end, UAG has various designs with multiple colors and lug sizes (20mm, 22mm) to choose from. We’ve had fun replacing the straps on a few of our watches; it’s as easy as changing the design of the face.
The Active watch strap features a strong, Velcro fastening that’s as tough as anything you’ll find. Not only does it give your watch a more rugged appearance, but it withstands more rigorous activities better than silicone or leather. Choose from three colors, including (our favorite) orange. $60 at UAG
You don’t wear your gym clothes to a nice dinner, do you? So why would you wear a splashy silicone strap to a fancy dinner? Change your watch to match your attire in just seconds.
The Leather watch strap, available in two colors, is a great way to class up that otherwise sporty experience. It keeps things professional and classy and yet stays put better than more traditional leather bands. The magic comes from the locking snap collar which ensures your band doesn’t come undone. $70 at UAG