Weekend Recommender: Gadgets and tech we love

Learn about Bluetooth earphones, a tailgating speaker, a vacuum cleaner, and more

It’s officially February and the new year is in formally full swing. Have you stuck to your resolution? That’s okay, neither have others.

Try as we might to get rid of things in an effort to clean our house, we find ourselves buying new gadgets. It’s not our fault that CES has so many cool things. Right?

If you’re like us, and love to check out new stuff, you’ll like what we’ve got in store for you here. Before you go off blindly buying something you’ve never heard of just because it’s on sale, do a little homework. Ask around, check reviews, and turn to others for help.

The Weekend Recommender is our way of highlighting the cooler devices we’ve encountered along the way. Generally, it’s an assortment of tech and mobile-related things, but it’s also a handy place to learn about other items, too.

Jaybird Tarah

As one of the first headphones to feature the Google Fast Pair technology, there’s a lot to love about the Tarah. For starters, we’re fans of the affordable price tag. At $80 these are the least expensive earphones from Jaybird.

You’ll get upwards of six hours of playtime from a full charge so there’s more than enough for your workouts and runs. Speaking of which, the IPX7 rating ensures you’ll be protected against water and sweat.

The last thing you want is to think about headphones or earphones when working out. To that end, the earphones come with an array of eartips and fins to create a comfortable fit. Further, the “Speed Cinch” lets wearers manage the cord so that it doesn’t drape too loosely or slap against the head and neck.

Charging is done via a proprietary cable so you definitely will not want to lose it. It might sound like a nuisance but it helps the engineers create a lighter and less obtrusive control — another box to tick in the area of mindless wearing.

Though they are designed for runners and workouts, the Tarah work well as an everyday pair of earphones. With decent clarity and a fair amount of bass, they’ll sound good for music at the gym or podcasts on the bus. For added personalization, a mobile app gives wearers more control of bass and treble.

You can pick these up in three colors: Black Metallic Flash, Nimbus Gray-Jade, and Solstice Blue-Glacier. In regular speak this means black and electric green, gray and jade green, and dark blue with light blue. $80 at Jaybird

Limitless Innovations ChargeHub X5 Elite E3005

We all have a bunch of gadgets and gear that need regular charging. Some require daily charging while others can go much longer without plugging back in for more juice. What happens, though, when you have a number of devices fighting for wall outlets? The problem only worsens when you have a spouse, children, or co-workers who want that same access.

The ChargeHub X5 Elite is an excellent desktop companion that lets you charge up to six devices at one time. With four standard USB ports, one USB Type-C port, and a wireless charging coil, it’s something for everyone.

Whether you’ve got a pair of headphones, a Nintendo Switch, a Galaxy S9, or any combination of devices, you’ll be able to use the all-in-one charging device.

The unit is built like an overstuffed hockey puck with all five ports easily accessible from the front. The USB Type C port is centered and flanked by two sets of standard USB ports. The top is where you locate the wireless (Qi-ready) charging platter. Underneath is a non-slip pad that makes sure things don’t sliding around.

We really liked the speeds at which the charger refills the batteries on our phones and accessories. The standard ports allow for up to 2.4A each while the USB C has 2.5A with Power Delivery. The latter is especially convenient when stopping by the desk with a laptop or other power-hungry device.

Offered in black and white, this is the sort of product that grows with you and doesn’t find itself outdated when new technology arrives. $80 at Limitless Innovations

Puppyoo T10 Home Cordless Vacuum

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of a clean room. Whether it’s the living room, kitchen, or office, there are many benefits to picking up and keeping the floor tidy. If you’re a pet owner, you likely know that simply running the vacuum once a week is not enough.

The problem a lot of people face is that a solid sweeper often seems cumbersome or bulky. Who wants to be bothered by lugging around a heavy vacuum just to keep up with Fido’s hairs? What’s more, a good cleaner can get to be expensive, too.

The Puppyoo T10 Home is a great solution for homeowners looking for a decent vacuum on a budget. It’s lightweight, highly flexible, and runs off of a rechargeable battery. In other words, it addresses a lot of common pain points.

We liked the way in which this vacuum switches from standard upright mode to a more portable handheld experience. This makes it efficient for getting to the steps and in hard-to-reach places like under car seats.

Thanks to the numerous heads, the Puppyoo T10 Home handles carpet and hard surfaces such as tile or wooden floors; furniture is a breeze, too. It’s not just dust that you’ll sweep up, either, as the vacuum remove mites, pollen, and allergens.

The Puppyoo comes with a variety of attachments, each of which speaks to different needs. Among them are a crevice tool for corners and in between cushions, a soft dust brush for curtains, picture frames, and fragile surfaces, and a 2-in-1 tool for upholstery. Then there’s also an extension wand and EVA hose for added assistance.

When it comes to cleaning up, there’s no bag to worry about. Simply pop open the dust tank and dump it into the trash. If any of the vacuum components need cleaned, you can wash ’em off in the sink.

Battery life comes out to around one hour and charging is done automatically when you hang the unit up. That might not sound like a ton of time but you wouldn’t spend any more than that in practice.

We mounted our charging station/dock on the wall just inside of the garage and find that it’s always fully charged when we go to use it. From zero you’re looking at around 2-1/2 hours to completely charge up.

Nyrius Orion Home

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you wanted to display a video or HDMI signal on a TV or screen in another area? Perhaps you have a gaming console that’s in one room but want to play it on a larger TV that’s in another room. That’s exactly what you get with the Nyrius Orion Home.

Comprised of two components, you’ve got one piece that plugs into your HDMI source and another that plugs into your display. In essence, whatever passes through one gets sent to the other.

You can transmit wirelessly up to 40 feet away, keeping things in high definition and free from lag. We can think of a variety of use cases for the Nyrius, including game consoles, laptops, Roku, Bluray, and digital satellite receivers. A centrally-located unit on a conference table that broadcasts to a large TV or monitor makes great sense in business environments.

We’ve placed our review unit on the TV stand where it can be used for a whole array of devices. It has been fun hopping from one device to another, streaming the content to a different room. Should we, or anyone else, need to scale, we can add up to two more receivers.

The transmitter and receiver have the same footprint and take up very little space. They’re 3-1/2-inch squares that are about one inch thick. Light, and easy to tuck away, you can also mount them to a wall. $150 at Nyrius

iLive Portable Bluetooth Tailgate Speaker

Football season might be over but that doesn’t mean we pack everything up for a few months and go dormant. Quite the opposite, really. Summer will be here before we know it and that means pool parties, backyard barbecues, and trips to the beach.

While you’re working on toning up and shedding that winter weight, give yourself a proper soundtrack. Pump out the jams with this all-in-one portable speaker solution.

Connect via Bluetooth, 3.5mm headphone jack, USB/microSD (MP3 files), or kick it old school with the built-in FM radio. No matter your source, the speaker is ready to drop a beat indoors and outdoors. What’s more, there’s a microphone input so you can use it for giving an impromptu speech or for singing Happy Birthday.

Battery life is pegged around three-five hours, depending on volume levels, and should be sufficient to last through most get-togethers or afternoon parties. The microUSB port plugs into the wall or your favorite external power source so you can keep the party going all night.

Speaking of which, there’s a fun visual component to enhance the experience. The LED light effects flash a variety of colors to add a little something extra.

There are physical buttons and knobs to control playback, audio sources, and tune the digital radio. Setup is virtually instantaneous as it starts pairing upon powering up.

Although the Wireless Tailgate Speaker isn’t weather resistant, it does have a plastic shell that takes scuffs and scratches in stride. Don’t worry about this one tipping over in the parking lot or on the deck. It’s lightweight and feels designed to be thrown in the back of a truck without any thought. $60 at iLive

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