Time to clear off the shelves, empty the boxes, and make way for all the new toys we’re expecting for the holidays. So, once again, some of the things we’ve seen that we thought you might like to know a little about – starting with security cameras:
Here’s Looking At You – The Logi Circle looks like a two-and-a-quarter inch diameter plastic eyeball, and it does “see.” There’s a 180-degree camera inside, which can monitor any place in your home, even in the dark, and let you know what it sees on a smartphone app via Wi-Fi. You can use it to listen & talk back remotely. The Circle can work for a short while when disconnected from plug-in power and is mountable on a wall. As with many home security cameras, recording & saving videos is an added cloud subscription. The newer Circle 2 model is weatherproof for outdoor use and offers longer battery time, additional mounting options, and Alexa connectivity. $145 to $180 on Amazon.
Motion Picture Camera – The Zmodo Pivot is also a home security device, but this one is a five-and-one-half inch tall cylinder with a camera that can rotate 360-degrees side to side to follow anyone or anything in your home, even your dog. In addition to alerting you on the phone and recording what it sees, the Pivot knows the room temperature and humidity and can act as a Bluetooth speaker for music or to have a two-way conversation remotely. It comes with two sensors (you can buy more) to place at windows or doors, which let it, and you, know if someone opens them. Under $100 on Amazon.
On The One Hand – You won’t have to keep switching remotes for your TV & streaming device if you use the Sideclick, an add-on to your streaming device remote – we’ve pictured the Roku model here – that allows you to control your TV, sound bar, Blu-ray player, etc. without holding a remote in each hand. Available also for Amazon Fire, Apple TV, MiBox and Nexus player. Under $30 direct or on Amazon.
Get A Charge – Bezalel Futura X wireless charger and stand allow Qi-enabled smartphones to be charged without constantly plugging them in. Many Samsung, Nexus, Motorola & Google phones have wireless charging capability, and iPhones can be used with the Futura X system by purchasing an additional wireless charging case from Bezalel, called a Latitude. The charging pad and stand are under $60, direct, and the Latitude case is another $50.
Batter Up – Batteroo Boost claims to extend battery life and maximize performance by drawing out previously left behind power in removable batteries. These are thin metal sleeves that act as a voltage regulator. Do they work? Some say yes, some say a little, some say it’s a sham. For $9.99 direct you can get a 4-pack for AA or AAA batteries and decide for yourself. $19.99 for C or D cells. They’re now raising money for a rechargeable battery version.
Pocket Projector – Celluon Picobit is a mobile laser projector, only 5.4 inches long and 2.6 inches wide, that projects an HD laser image on any surface. It will get the pictures from Wi-Fi Internet or screen mirroring, from a micro HDMI input, micro-SD card, or USB. There’s a built-in touchscreen and Android OS, and it can be paired with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. The battery is good for over two hours. Under $430, direct.
Remote Control – Logitech’s Pop Home Switch is for controlling smart devices that will respond to the push of a remote button. You begin with the starter kit: one controller that plugs into an electrical outlet, and two pushable switches you can attach anywhere. Program them to control smart lights, Sonos sound, and other devices, with single, double or long presses of the button. Additional switches, in bright colors, are available, and Pop works with Logitech Harmony remotes and Apple Home-kit enabled devices. Under $60 at Amazon.
Swiss Army Earpiece – Single ear Bluetooth “headsets” for your phone have been around awhile, but the clip&talk Alupro takes the earpiece model a couple of steps further. Not only does it fit in your ear for phone calls or to play music, the Alupro has a USB connector that swivels out to allow you to charge it and you can insert a microSD card to store data. The “clip” part is that when not in use it can be attached to your clothing like a giant tie clip. Sells online for $49.99
Mile-High Hook-Up – The Airhook means you may never have to lower that airline tray table again just to hold your drink or phone. This device allows you to keep the tray table in its locked upright position and still securely hold a cup or can or bottle, your headset, and a phone or tablet while giving you back some leg room. About $25, direct, in black, gray or sky blue.
Here It Comes To Save The Day – Not Mighty Mouse, but Mighty Mug, a line of tip-over resistant insulated mugs for drinks hot or cold. They gently grip any solid, flat surface to stay in place when bumped, but can be easily released by picking them straight up. Various versions – including one resembling bar glasses – sell direct or on Amazon for $17 to $30.
Meditation Assistant – Muse headband is designed to make meditation easier, either for those having trouble getting their head around it, or who just want a different experience. The rechargeable band goes around your head with the “sensors” behind your ears. It connects Bluetooth to an app on your phone and claims to be able to tell if your mind is active or calm, and through your own earphones supply you with peaceful sounds to guide you to, or keep you in, a calm state. The app also tracks your meditation progress. Under $250, direct.
Here’s Looking At Hue – Meditate, schmeditate, you just need a good night’s sleep and that’s what Philips Wake-up Light is promising. The half orb has a sunrise simulation to gently wake you, even if you have to get up at 3 am. There are also 7 natural sounds or an FM radio, plus white noise & 20 bedside lighting settings to help you get to sleep. This is their top of the line model, under $130 at Amazon. Less expensive Philips lights do much the same, but with fewer sounds, light settings and features.