December is here and we’re knee-deep into another heavy shopping season. That means gifts for friends, loved ones, and even ourselves. And, given it’s 2018, it’s pretty easy to buy gadgets or electronic devices.
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. That’s where we come in; this is our platform for sharing our opinions on tech and other items worth buying.
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 for other items, too.
RapidX X4 Home 4-Port Charger
More often than not, we find ourselves charging at least two devices at a time. Depending on the situation, or location, we end up plugging in three or more gadgets at once. The X4 Home is the sort of charging solution that lends itself to users with lots of portable tech.
Slim, unobtrusive, and very portable, the charger offers up a handy way to charge up four devices at a time. Included are three USB-A ports and 1 USB Type-C PD port so there’s room for everyone, even if one of them is a laptop.
The RapidX X4 Home is sold in black and white options and includes a 6-foot cable. Place it near the end of your desk and you’ve got four quick charging ports within reach; the standard USB ports provide up 5V/2.4A output and the Type-C has up to 18W worth of juice.
The unit itself is barely any bigger than a Twix bar and tucks away nicely should you need to travel. Hotel rooms are never convenient when it comes to power outlets so be sure to pack this one for your overnight stays. The included portable stand and adhesive pad are perfect for more permanent placement but still allow for on-the-go moments. $40 at RapidX
Wireless charging for phones is one of those technologies that we simply love. Once we started with platters and docks, we pretty much stopped relying on cables. In fact, it’s not uncommon for us to go weeks without plugging anything into the Type C port on our Pixel phones.
Port Plugs is a company who specializes in — wait for it — plugs for your phone’s ports. If you have a USB C port that’s not used very often, plug it up and protect it. This isn’t just for phones; many laptops feature the standard port.
It’s not just Type C stuff, either, as you can buy Micro USB, 3.5mm headphone jack, and other plugs. What’s more, many of them are offered in a variety of colors so you can suit to your personal style or taste.
In addition to plugging up your ports, Port Plugs will help keep ’em clean, too. It’s a lot safer than shoving a toothpick or Q-Tip into your port and could be the difference maker in solid connections and better charging. Moreover, the versatile tool can also be used to clean between laptop keys.
Port Plugs has a number of solutions for problems you might not typically consider. Prices are very affordable and are the preventative maintenance your device deserves. Grab a few packs and stuff ’em in some stockings this winter. Shop at Amazon and use Defend15 for 15% off any PortPlugs order.
bMOLA GO Portable Air Purifier
Did you know that the average person takes in somewhere around 20,000 breaths in one day? How many of them are you wasting by breathing in pollutants, irritants, and junk?
The bMOLA GO is a portable device that helps to clear the air no matter where you go. The “stuff” you breathe in can include pet dander, dust, smoke, sprays, detergents, and mold. Then, of course, there’s also bacteria and the viruses that float around, too. This purifier works to get rid of those things, and more.
Using Nano Confined Catalytic Oxidation (NCCO), the air purifier delivers the best quality of air you can get. It’s the same technology employed at hospitals and can lead to better sleep, increased productivity, and/or improved overall health.
When we say portable, we mean it. The footprint is not much more than you’d find in a small handbag or purse. And, the 8-hour battery means you can take it with you without worrying about having nearby outlets. The power cord uses USB so you can keep it in the car or take with you to hotels.
We received a prototype version of the air purifier here at the office and had to do just a bit of assembling upon arrival. With that said, we found it to be quiet at all settings and really effective. All traces of odor, smoke, and — we assume — bacteria and other unseen stuff is easily removed. Our sinuses feel clearer and the air feels more sterile.
Currently available as part of an already-successful Indiegogo campaign, the bMOLA GO is offered in four color choices. Pricing is expected to be around $150 for the purifier with shipping starting later this month.
AtmosFX Digital Decorating Kit
It’s 2018 and that means holiday decorations have changed. We’re no longer simply stringing up some lights across the top of our homes or placing some inflatables in the front yard. No, we’re going digital.
The AmtosFX Digital Decorating Kit centers around a projector that lets you display various seasonal scenes and imagery. It’s an all-in-one bundle that includes a tripod to mount your projector in landscape and portrait orientation, a white material for projecting, and a remote control.
Although the kit comes with its own assortment of holiday images and videos, it’s possible to use your own. Indeed, you can simply project photos from a memory card or via HDMI/USB. Moreover, it allows for your video clips in select format.
Easy to set up, it’s as simple as plugging in and picking the images and videos. Should you opt for something with audio, you can hear it through the built-in speaker. Or, plug into an external source and scare the neighbors with the sounds of zombies. Of course, there’s plenty of cheery holiday stuff, too. Normally $200, you can buy it for 50% off right now.
Rowkin Ascent Charge+ and Ascent Micro
The first company that comes to mind when it comes to truly wireless earbuds is likely Apple. The AirPods have revolutionized the headphone market, and other companies have come out trying to take down the big dog.
One such company is Rowkin, who has released the Ascent Charge+ and Ascent Micro. These truly wireless earbuds offer different experiences in an extremely similar package.
Starting with the Ascent Micro, the earbuds come in a carrying case with LED indicators flanking the charging port on the bottom. Open the case, and the earbuds will gladly greet you, hoping to be used as soon as they are charged.
Rowkin claims that the battery of the Micro will last around 3.5 hours. This is close to what we saw, but really depends on your usage.
As for the Rowkin Charge+, these have a bit more juice built-in, with a rating of 4 hours of playback and that’s what we saw in our usage. With the included charging case, which is a bit more unique compared to the Ascent, you can get close to 50 hours of playback before needing to recharge the Charge+.
The included Charge+ case serves as a way to simply recharge your headphones with a USB-C cable. Moreover, the case is also Qi-compatible which will go amazingly with the included wireless charging pad.
One additional feature of both of these headphones is the waterproof rating. Rowkin states that these are both IPX5 water resistant, meaning that these will serve quite admirably for those looking to get rid of the wires during a workout.
Finally, Rowkin also has released an app onto the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. This helps you pair your new headphones, along with adjust the EQ to your liking.
Pricing for the Ascent Micro comes in at $99.99, while the Ascent Charge+ starts at $159.99. Both are available on Amazon Prime, meaning you can have them in your ears in as little as two days if you are a member.