Modeled after the band’s ninja star logo, the Pro-Ject x Metallica Ninja Star Turntable is a record player in the form of a throwing star, complete with pointy edges. As far as record players go, it’s certainly one of the more aggressive-looking ones I’ve seen. And isn’t that what you look for in a turntable?
Just go ahead and put your wallet back in your pocket because the turntable costs a pretty penny – $1,599 to be exact, presumably priced to help the band recoup its losses from the illegal downloading of its music off Napster circa 2000. Something I know absolutely nothing about because it’s not like I was a broke college student at the time or anything.
The turntable features a mirror finish metal top plate and glass platter, perfect for playing translucent vinyl records like the red one in the photo. Don’t have any translucent vinyl? Start collecting! You just dished out $1,600 for a record player; surely you can drop a couple of extra hundred on vinyl. Me? Money’s a little tight right now, so I’m afraid I’ll be sticking to my first-generation iPod.
Unveiled at Comic-Con 2022, Mattel has created an official Jurassic Park toy of the t-rex eating lawyer Donald Gennaro as he attempts to hide inside an outhouse. A classic cinema moment for sure. The $80 playset includes a 3.75″ Gennaro action figure, a significantly larger t-rex, along with destructible outhouse with lighting and sound effects, sure to provide hours of lawyer-eating fun.
Between Gennaro getting eaten on the can and Dennis Nedry getting spat on by the dilophosaurus, it was nice seeing those jerks get their just desserts. Sure, you could argue that nobody deserves to be eaten by dinosaurs, but you would be wrong. Those guys did. Plus several other people I know.
Unfortunately for those seriously interested, the playset appears to have already sold out, so expect to pay a pretty penny for one in the resale market. Or just cross your fingers and hope to pick one up at a garage sale in ten years. That’s what I’m doing. Either way, I’ll be saving myself a small fortune.
It's hard to be a new parent even during the most idyllic times. So what can you do to help? How about gifting a new dad something to make their lives a bit easier. Maybe they just need a breather from the hellstorm of diapers and sleep training. Or perhaps they want a better way to distract their screaming spawn. Here are a few options to consider.
Apple's entry-level iPad is one of the most useful devices for any new parent. It can be your child's gateway to video chatting with their grandparents (and with the new Center Stage cameras, they’ll always be in frame), or a life-saving distraction during long car rides. It could be a new dad's way to catch up on their favorite show while stuck dealing with mealtime. Or it could be a way for growing kids to read interactive stories and play games. The iPad can be whatever you want it to be. And paired with a decent case, it can be durable enough to survive life with tiny humans. (And if it does break, at least it's far cheaper to replace than an iPad Air, or a typical laptop.)
There's no question that we love Jabra's lineup of wireless earbuds. The Elite 85t delivers solid active noise canceling, a slim and light design, and excellent sound. And best of all, they cost around $200 and you can often find them for around $150. No matter which smartphone you have, the 85t are an excellent way to catch up on podcasts while trying to rock a baby to sleep. And they'll be even more useful during the rare bit of downtime for new parents. They're perfect for rocking out to your favorite tunes, or pair them to your TV or set-top box to enjoy late-night movies without making much noise.
This relatively cheap rattle is deceptively useful. It has a light-up face to keep babies interested, multiple textures for them to explore, and a mirror on the bottom for them to learn their own faces. It was a secret weapon during my child's first-year tantrums, so much so that I've gifted it to every new parent I know. It's not high tech at all, but it's a reminder that they’re called classics for a reason.
Sonos' most portable speaker is an excellent choice for new parents, especially if they’ve already bought into the Sonos ecosystem. It's small enough to throw in a bag, giving new parents a way to play some tunes during a picnic. It relies on Bluetooth, so pretty much any device can connect to it. But the best part is that it also works over Wi-Fi with an existing Sonos setup. So if you start playing some songs on your larger Sonos speakers, you can easily pipe that over to the Roam and bring it to your backyard. And since it's from a brand that's known for excellent sound quality, you can expect everything to be much richer than other cheap Bluetooth speakers.
The Apple Watch is great for working out — but it can also be a handy tool for new parents. It's a simple way to keep tabs on texts and other notifications when your hands are full with a baby or baby-related ephemera. It lets you start and stop podcasts when you can't reach your phone. And — here's the kicker — it's also a perfect way to distract youngins and de-escalate shouting matches. It turns out, having a tiny screen on your wrist that can display photos is pretty useful! And it's also a relatively safe device for babies to fiddle with, thanks to its touchscreen. (Of course, you can take your pick of any competing smartwatch for Android users, but we'd recommend Samsung's Galaxy Watch 4.)
Action cameras are great for vacations and high-impact sports, but they can be just as useful for new parents. It's the sort of thing you can strap onto a hat when you go out for a light hike with a little one, or just leave it running in your backyard to capture their first steps. Sure, we've all got smartphone cameras, but it's tough to leave those running for extended periods, and they're still a bit distracting if you're dealing with a child. A camera like the Hero10 Black, on the other hand, is something you can just set, forget and discover little video treasures later.
Keeping up with a new baby can lead to aches and pains in muscles that dad never knew he had. The Theragun Mini can give him the opportunity to get a massage without leaving the house. While there are much bigger and more powerful Theragun machines, the Mini is a good size for beginners and those who want to take its muscle relief power wherever they go. It has a single button that dad can use to change the massage gun’s speed and its ergonomic design makes it easy to reach different parts of the body. And arguably the best part is its 150-minute battery life — while that might not seem like a long time, it truly is when you consider the fact that you don’t need to use it for more than a few minutes each day to feel the results. With that schedule, dad could use the Theragun Mini every day for a month or more before needing to recharge it.
It’s hard to keep up with comics when kids are around, but Comixology makes it easy to catch up on your favorite releases. If you know a comic nerd who’s eager to see what the X-Men are up to, or who just wants to catch up on long-running graphic novel series, it’s worth sending them an Amazon gift card that they can use with Comixology. It’s particularly useful for anyone who has an iPad or a decent Android tablet. Not surprisingly, bright and portable screens are one of the best ways to appreciate comic art!
A perfect gift for any gamer dads in your life, the Laugh and Learn Controller is basically a baby-proofed version of a modern gamepad. There's a joystick, directional pad, and array of buttons for kids to fiddle with. But like any good distracting toy, it also lights up and makes sounds to keep them entertained. It's not exactly complex, but it's inexpensive and effective. That's particularly true for parents of little ones who always gravitate to their expensive console controllers.
Coffee, tea or another caffeinated beverage is an essential for many new dads and Greens Steel’s insulated tumblers can keep their drink of choice hot or cold for hours. While we all appreciate that luxury, it’s especially important for parents who often find themselves sipping tepid coffee hours after they brewed their first cup because they got distracted with kid duties. These tumblers are made of 18/8 food grade steel and they have a double wall vacuum that maintains temperatures for up to 12 hours. And regardless of which size you get (20-, 30- or 40-ounce) they all fit into standard-sized cup holders, so dad can bring his drink with him when he runs out for an emergency diaper restock.
When it comes to wireless headphones, the over-ear noise-cancelling models typically offer the most comprehensive set of features we want. The best options combine stellar audio with powerful active noise cancellation (ANC) and other handy tools to create as complete a package as possible. Of course, some companies do this better than others. For this guide, we’ll focus primarily on the over-ear style and offer a range of prices so you can decide how much you’re comfortable spending.
Best overall: Sony WH-1000XM5
Sony’s 1000X line has been our top pick for a long time now. Until another company can manage to pack in as many features as Sony, and do so with a stellar mix of sound and effective ANC, the crown is safe. With the WH-1000XM5, Sony redesigned its flagship headphones, making them way more comfortable to wear for long periods of time. The company also made noticeable improvements to the active noise cancellation, adding a separate V1 chip in addition to the QN1 that was inside the M4. There are now eight total ANC mics as well – the previous model only had four. This all combines to better block high frequencies, including human voices.
The 1000XM5 still has all of the features that typically make Sony’s top-of-the-line headphones showstoppers. That includes 30-hour battery life and crisp, clear sound with balanced tuning and punchy bass. A combo of touch controls and physical buttons give you on-board access to music, calls and noise modes without reaching for your phone. Speak-to-Chat automatically pauses audio when you begin talking, and like previous Sony headphones, the M5 can change noise modes based on your activity or location. Plus, this model offers better call quality than most of the competition. The only real downside is that they’re $50 more than the WH-1000XM4.
The Bose 700 was one of our top picks last time around, but the company recently revived a workhorse with the QuietComfort 45. The design is mostly unchanged from the previous QC models, which could be a deal breaker for some. Once you get past that though, the QC45 combines Bose’s excellent active noise cancellation with clear and balanced audio. You can expect up to 24 hours of battery life on a charge and a comfortable fit that doesn’t get tiresome during long listening sessions. We’ve already seen them on sale for $50 less than full price, which makes the QuietComfort 45 even more compelling.
If you want capable noise cancellation that won’t break the bank, Sony’s WH-CH710N is a solid bet. These headphones are much less than a flagship model at $150 — and they're often on sale for even less — but you will sacrifice a few things. The biggest place these fall short is overall sound quality. There’s decent range and good clarity, but they lack deep, punchy bass that would help create a fuller sound. For casual listeners who want a decent set of headphones that still have ANC, these will likely offer enough in the sonic department.
In terms of noise cancellation, the WH-CH710N exhibits enough sound-blocking power to minimize distractions. Thanks to Sony’s dual noise sensor technology, these headphones pick up a lot of that unwanted noise and automatically select the best noise cancellation for your environment. There’s also an ambient-sound option should you need to keep tabs on what’s going on around you. With 35 hours of battery life, a quick-charge feature and handy onboard controls, the WH-CH710N offer a glimpse of flagship headphone luxury for less than $200.
After months of rumors, we finally discovered that Apple successfully built a set of premium over-ear headphones. The AirPods Max combine the best features of AirPods earbuds with noise-cancelling, including spatial audio and easy access to Siri. Right now, spatial audio is limited and there’s no high-res music streaming. However, even with work to be done, the overall audio quality, stellar ambient sound mode and the all-Apple aesthetics are enough to recommend the AirPods Max. That is, if you’re willing to splurge.
Back at CES, Panasonic announced the EAH-A800: a new set of ANC headphones under the iconic Technics brand. While most of the features are what you see on any number of headphones, one figure stood out. The company says you can expect up to 50 hours of battery life on the A800, and that’s with active noise cancellation enabled. These are currently in my stable of review units for detailed analysis, but I have already tested them on a long flight. The ANC is impressive and they’re comfortable enoughto avoid becoming a burden after several hours. Sound quality is also quite good (there’s LDAC support, too) and there are enough features here to justify the premium price tag.
The wireless version of Audio-Technica’s M50 headphones may not have ANC, but that’s okay. The ATH-M50xBT quickly became one of my favorite sets when it debuted in 2018 thanks to the warm, natural sound profile and a very comfy fit. The company revamped the wireless model in 2021, adding multipoint connectivity, quick access to Alexa and a low latency mode in the M50xBT2. Everything else from the previous model is still here and that’s excellent news. If you spend most of your time listening to music in a spot where you don’t need active noise cancellation to block out the world, the M50xBT2 is an excellent choice at $199.
A key part of adulting is learning to feed ourselves. Some might opt for restaurants or takeout for sustenance, but that can get expensive. The best option is to learn to cook your own meals. That might sound harsh, especially if cooking doesn't sound fun to you, but there are a plethora of resources online for cooks of all levels. Be it beginner how-tos or deep-dive YouTube videos, we hope this list of Engadget staff favorites will get you started on your path to culinary confidence. Oh, and if you’re ever confused about measurements, a tool like this recipe converter is a good reference to keep on your bookmarks tab.
If you self-identify as a nerd and you’re also into cooking, you probably already know about Serious Eats. The site rose to prominence several years ago under the helm of J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, who often takes a decidedly scientific approach to cooking. Lopez-Alt has since transitioned to a consulting role at Serious Eats (he has his own vlog, which is well worth following as well), but the site remains strong under new leadership. It offers tips on basics like food prep and storage, as well as a slew of how-tos and step-by-step instructions for everything from breaking down a chicken to kneading your own bread.
This is the only recommendation on this list that requires payment — $1.25 a week or $40 a year — but I personally think it’s worth it. The site and accompanying app (for iOS and Android) is well organized and intuitive to use, with bright and colorful photos along with an ever-changing list of curated recipe recommendations and suggestions. I especially like the search function, where you can not only enter in the ingredients you have on hand, but also filter by the sort of meal you want to make iIs it for breakfast? A snack? Or dinner?) along with any dietary restrictions. If you don’t want to cough up the subscription fee, however, NYT’s YouTube channel is a great resource as well.
The Kitchn is a daily food magazine that’s been around since the mid-2000s, and it frequently serves up not just recipes but also fun features like a celebrity recipe showdown (check out this one that compares the pot roast recipes between Alton Brown, Ina Garten, Taste of Home and the Pioneer Woman). Of course, The Kitchn also publishes plenty of tips and tricks to help readers be a better cook.
“Hello, I’m Chef John, from Food Wishes dot com” is the familiar refrain that you’ll hear at the beginning of every Food Wishes video, and it never fails to warm my heart. His tone is so welcoming and cheerful that it cheers me up every time I hear it. A YouTube favorite (he has over four million subscribers), he’s also a favorite among a few Engadget staffers, and for good reason. Not only is he goofy and charming, his recipes are also almost always geared toward the novice chef, with clear and concise instructions. He also encourages viewers to experiment, use their senses, play around with food, and to think of cooking as art as much as science.
Binging with Babish is a popular YouTube channel (over 9.6 million subscribers) that’s primarily focused on recreating foods from TV shows and movies. Some famous examples include the Krabby Patty from Spongebob Squarepants and ratatouille from, well, Ratatouille. But host Andrew Rea can cook “normal” foods too, and the popularity of his channel led him to host a spin-off series called “Basics with Babish” that’s geared toward the beginner.
The Food52 website can be considered a one-stop shop for cooking enthusiasts, as there’s an online store along with recipes and a community board. But the real highlight for me is its YouTube channel, which features excellent shows such as Sweet Heat by Rick Martinez (the former Bon Appetit editor showcases recipes with both a sweet and spicy element), Big Little Recipes (focuses on recipes with a short ingredient list) and Genius Recipes, which, well, shows “genius” recipes created by notable chefs.
Have a sweet tooth? Then look no further than Claire Saffitz’s YouTube channel, where she bakes up everything from apple pies to oatmeal pecan cookies. Her personality is a combination of cranky and lovable, which I adore, but more importantly, her recipes are excellent. She gives very detailed instructions and the results are almost always delicious. She makes a lot of savory baked goods as well, such as sourdough bread and quiche.
Maagchi has been referred to by The New York Times as the Julia Child of Korean cooking, and the description couldn’t be more apt. Not only does she have a friendly and bubbly personality, she does a wonderful job of demystifying Korean cooking and making it approachable to beginners and advanced cooks alike. From Korean classics like kimchi jjigae and bibimbap to sweet treats like Korean doughnuts, she makes it all seem within reach.
For a site that is entirely dedicated to vegetarian cuisine, I highly recommend 101 Cookbooks by Heidi Swanson, which has been an online favorite for decades. I’m a huge fan of her simple, straightforward recipes that are able to turn a carnivore like me into a lover of plant-based meals (a personal favorite is this cauliflower soup).
You don’t need to be on the paleo diet to fall in love with Nom Nom Paleo, a mini-empire that consists of a food blog, two award-winning cookbooks, and a podcast, among other things. The New York Times has referred to Michelle Tam, the creator of the site, as the Martha Stewart of Paleo, because of how accessible she makes it seem. After perusing her site and trying her recipes, you'll no longer think of the paleo diet as restrictive; instead you might find yourself eating more than ever. Tam has also tailored some of her recipes to fit Whole30 or keto diets as well.
If you’re not strictly vegetarian or paleo, but you still want a healthy diet, check out the Clean and Delicious food blog by Dani Spies. A wellness and weight loss coach, Spies believes in a balanced diet and “clean eating,” but without foregoing the foods you love. For example, there’s a recipe for lemon bars on her site, but it’s made with whole wheat flour and doesn’t have dairy or refined sugar. All of the recipes on her site reflect this philosophy; they’re either gluten-free, paleo, vegan or vegetarian and they are also often low-carb, keto, dairy-free or nut-free. I also like her Instagram and YouTube channel, where she also shares tips on mindful eating and healthy living.
There are simply way too many food sites on the internet to list them all, but here are a few more that were recommended by our staff that you might find useful.
Chinese Cooking Demystified
This is one of the best YouTube channels for learning all the ins and outs of authentic Chinese cooking from people who actually live in China. It’s very detailed, well-produced and offers great advice on recreating these dishes in a Western kitchen. I also love that it teaches technique in addition to just recipes. To this day, I still come back to this video on how to stir-fry any vegetable.
The blog Minimalist Baker features recipes that use 10 ingredients or less and only take about 30 minutes to make. Weekend Editor Igor Bonifacic is a big fan as well, mostly due to the site’s wealth of vegetarian recipes, like this curried cauliflower lentil soup.
Budget Bytes is a great resource for those watching their wallets, as each recipe gives you a breakdown of estimated costs for each ingredient. Commerce Editor Valentina Palladino said that the site is also really good for beginners.
Another staple for accessible vegan recipes is Pick Up Limes. Palladino says that the Healthiest Ever Granola recipe is one of her favorites, and she likes that the Pick Up Limes website makes it easy to filter recipes by type of ingredients, preparation time, allergens and more.
Richard Bertinet’s White Bread Masterclass
Richard Bertinet’s video on white bread comes highly recommended for its sheer simplicity. It proves that all you need to make bread is bread flour, yeast and salt. Senior Reporter Dan Cooper says the video is also a sure-fire way of calming him down when stressed.
Half Baked Harvest
Editor-in-Chief Dana Wollman and Senior News Editor Billy Steele frequently trade Slack messages with dinner recommendations. (What’s for dinner? Ask a coworker, of course.) The answer from either person is often a Half Baked Harvest link. The site is home to a vast library of free recipes that, in our experience, tend to work as advertised. We’re fans of her nightly Instagram Story cooking demos as well, not to mention her tacos.
Joy the Baker
Wollman says she discovered Joy by accident through her warm, self-effacing Insta Stories, only to discover she has an equally clever blog offering a mix of sweet and savory baking recipes.
Streaming is a curious beast. One minute you'll be enjoying the '80s vibe of Stranger Thingsand the next you'll be struggling to pick something from that overwhelming catalog. Sometimes, though, you'll stumble on something that you'd normally never choose — a Netflix suggestion from a friend or a recent addition that had escaped your glance as you navigated Amazon Prime Video's curated menus.
However, once you've watched that movie or TV show and moved on, it may drop back into relative obscurity, reducing your chances of remembering and paying that recommendation forward many months later. You may also have watched something, hated it and want to make sure it doesn't impact future recommendations. Luckily, many streaming services keep a running list of the things you've watched (if they haven't been removed from the catalog due to licensing agreements). Here's how to find them.
Finding your viewing history on Netflix is a simple affair. Visit Netflix.com, ensure you're logged in and then hover over your profile name. Select Your Account from the menu. Now, scroll down to the bottom and select Viewing Activity. You should now be presented with a list of everything you've streamed on your account.
While you're there, you can decide how your history impacts Netflix recommendations. Clicking the X next to a title will ensure it's deleted from your Recently Watched or Continue Watching row, but it will also ensure that Netflix doesn't use a moment of streaming weakness against you. Once it has been removed, it won't appear in your list until you watch it again.
Apple's catalog of streaming originals might not be as broad as, say, Netflix or Disney+, but the iPhone-maker has a very comprehensive movie and TV store that can help fill the gaps.
If you're looking to see what you've recently watched on either Apple TV+ or inside Apple's TV app generally, the company does provide a way to see your viewing history, but it's hidden away right at the bottom of the TV app itself.
Simply open the TV app on a Mac or iOS device and keep scrolling to the very bottom of the Watch Now tab. There, you'll see a small selection of your most recently viewed content. Select the 'See All' link to view everything you've ever watched on Apple TV (this may also include movies and TV shows from third-party apps you have installed on your Apple TV streamer.)
Unfortunately, Apple doesn't offer a dedicated 'Recently Watched' section in the TV+ web UI, opting instead for an 'Up Next' section. You can, however, clear what you have watched by heading to Settings and selecting Clear Play History. Alternatively, click here.
You can also remove individual movies and TV episodes from your Recently Watched list by long-pressing on the thumbnail of the content you wish to remove and selecting 'Remove from Recently Watched.' Perfect, if you've viewed something you told your significant other you'd wait for them to watch together.
Disney+ may now be over two years old, but it's not quite yet caught up with the likes of Netflix and Amazon when it comes to features. Sadly, that means you can't currently see your viewing history on Disney+.
Like many of its rivals, Disney does offer a Continue Watching section, which may help surface movies or TV shows that you may have stopped viewing just as the credits began to roll.
If it's something you feel very strongly about, you can head to the Disney+ website and hit the Give Feedback button at the bottom to, very politely, request that they add the feature.
If you're a Disney+ subscriber in the US, there's a chance that you may have signed up for the Disney Bundle to get subscriptions to Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu for a discounted price. Unlike Disney+, however, Hulu does allow you to properly maintain your watch history both inside its apps and on the web.
It may not be immediately obvious, but Hulu keeps your viewing history inside the Keep Watching section, from which you can browse the movies and TV shows you've already streamed. To make things confusing, you cannot see the individual episodes of a show you've already watched in the Keep Watching section, so you'll need to select the Details page of a particular series and add it to My Stuff. This will also let you see how many unwatched episodes you've got left to stream.
To remove content, navigate to the Keep Watching page and click on the X to purge it from your watch history. On mobile, tap the three dots on the thumbnail of the selected show or movie and hit Remove from Watch History.
As it stands, HBO Max doesn't offer a way to see everything you've watched. It does, however, automatically add movies and TV series that you haven't finished watching to its Continue Watching row on the home screen of the service.
To remove a movie or show from your Continue Watching listing in your app or on the web, tap on your profile icon, then Continue Watching, and then Edit. Then, simply tap the X next to an individual item or Clear All to remove everything. When you're finished, hit Done.
Amazon Prime Video
Unlike Netflix, Amazon doesn't make it easy to see what you've previously watched. In fact, it buries its listing inside a number of links that you wouldn't otherwise check.
If you want to go the manual route, ensure you're logged in on the Amazon website and click the Your Account link on the top bar. On the resulting page, scroll down to Personalization and click Improve Your Recommendations. Now, on the left menu, click Videos You've Watched.
Here, you can rate a TV show or movie so that Amazon can better understand your likes and dislikes or exclude that listing entirely. If you've found that both Netflix and Amazon have done a poor job of matching content to your interests, this is a good way to provide it with more insight.
Peacock doesn't currently provide a way to see everything you've streamed on its service. It does, however, offer a Continue Watching section that will list all of the movies and TV shows that you have started but may not have completely finished.
Paramount+ also doesn't currently provide a way to see everything you've watched. There is a Keep Watching section, though, that lists all of the movies and TV shows that you have started but may not have completely finished.
Gifting can be difficult at any time, but it’s been particularly hard over the past couple of years. You may still be working with a tight budget, but you also want to give that grad in your life something that can help make the transition to post-school life a bit easier (and more fun). The tech gifts that come to mind immediately — iPhones, smartwatches, game consoles and the like — are not exactly budget-friendly. But there are handy gadgets out there that won’t drain your wallet completely. Here’s Engadget’s list of the best tech gifts under $50 for new graduates.
Anker Nano Pro 20W
Anker’s latest 20W charger will be a handy gift for any grad. More often than not, the new gadgets we buy today don’t come with AC adapters, so having an extra on hand can’t hurt. The Nano Pro can fast-charge the latest iPhones to 50 percent in only 25 minutes, plus it’s smaller than Apple’s own 20W adapter. It also has advanced features like a Dynamic Temperature Sensor, which keeps the charger from overheating, and a power tuner chip, which adjusts power output depending on the connected device. It may not be the trendiest graduation gift, but it’s one that your grad will likely take with them to work, on vacations and elsewhere.
Whether they’re still mooching off their parents’ subscriptions, or have finally sprung for their own Netflix account a streaming device is a great gift for a recent grad. The latest Chromecast with Google TV makes the original Chromecast experience much better by adding a physical remote to the mix, along with the new Google TV interface. The remote makes it easier to navigate and the on-screen menus, and the software will serve up TV and movie recommendations based on subscriptions you have. The Chromecast with Google TV supports services including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max and more, and it’ll stream in 4K HDR with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. Plus, you can still cast even more content from your smartphone or tablet to your TV.
We’ve been fans of 8Bitdo’s affordable, multi-platform controllers for quite some time, and the new, $50 Pro 2 is no exception. You can use it with the Nintendo Switch and on Windows, macOS, Android and Raspberry Pi, and you’re able to map functions to buttons using its companion smartphone app. The Pro 2 also adds new bumper buttons under each arm, something the previous version did not have. In general, 8Bitdo’s controllers are more ergonomic than, say, relying on a keyboard and mouse when playing PC games. They’re also a dramatic improvement over the Switch’s Joy-Cons which, if we’re honest, aren’t the most comfortable controllers to use for long stretches of time. The Pro 2 charges up via USB-C, but you can also remove the battery pack and replace it with AA batteries if you know you won’t be able to charge up frequently.
A portable changer is truly a gift that keeps on giving and RavPower’s 16,750mAh brick is strong enough to charge up smartphones and tablets alike. That’s enough to top off your iPhone 11 Pro Max 2.5 times or an iPad Air once. It has two iSmart output ports so you can power up two devices simultaneously, and its indicator lights will give you an idea of the brick’s remaining power level. Even with a larger-than-average capacity it’s surprisingly compact, measuring 5 x 3.15 x .9 inches, and its built-in flashlight can help you find lost items in a pinch.
While we often recommend AirTags to Apple users to keep track of their things, Tile’s trackers are another great option that’s more universal. Unlike AirTags, these tiny Bluetooth trackers work with Android devices as well, and are compatible with Amazon’s Alexa and the Google Assistant. Also, the latest Tile Mate has a built-in keyring hole, so your grad can unbox it, hook it onto their keys, set it up in the mobile app and get going. With a Bluetooth range of 250 feet, these trackers can help them locate their lost stuff quickly, plus they can add their contact information to the Tile – just in case someone else finds their things first. We also like the Mate’s IP67-rated design, which should protect it even when it’s exposed to the elements on rainy days.
Whether your grad will commute to their first office job or work from home, a wireless mouse is a must-have when on a computer all day. Logitech’s Pebble is a solid option because, not only can it easily disappear into a bag thanks to its slim profile, but it will also run for up to 18 months on its single AA battery. It’s not an accessory they’ll have to worry about charging up each night. We also like its ambidextrous design and its relatively quiet nature — unlike other mice, it makes little noise when you’re clicking and scrolling away. You’ll also have the option to connect it via Bluetooth or USB receiver, and there are a handful of fun colors to choose from.
It’s important for grads, busy with job applications, internships, new jobs and side hustles, to stay hydrated. Green Steel’s Beast insulated tumblers are good for hot and cold drinks, plus they’re made of 18/8 food grade steel that’s dishwasher safe and they come with metal straws and a splash-proof lid. And regardless of which size you get (20-, 30- or 40-ounce), they’ll all fit into standard sized cup holders. A 20-ounce model has been my morning companion almost every day for the past year or so and it still looks fresh. We also recommend Yeti’s Ramblers if you’re willing to drop a bit more on your grad’s new favorite mug.
If your grad is a coffee (or tea) lover, elevating their brewing game can make a big difference in their daily lives. Bodum’s Chambord French Press is a simple, affordable vessel that will be a step up from your standard drip coffee machine or aging teapot (while it’s marketed as a coffee maker, it could be used as a tea press instead). The container is made of borosilicate glass and you can get the frame in either plastic or stainless steel. Instead of paper filters a french press uses a plunger and mesh filter that pushes coffee grinds and tea leaves down, infusing flavor into the water above. That should save you money over time and creates less waste.
There are plenty of Bluetooth speakers out there, but Tribit’s XSound Go stands out for its simplicity. Measuring 6.7 x 2.2 x 2.3 inches, it’s nearly pocketable and can stay on your desk all day long while you work and then transition to a backyard party with ease. It’s IPX7 waterproof so it’ll withstand a dunk in the pool, and its 24-hour playtime lets you use it all day long without interruptions. It has good sound quality with deep, but not overpowering, bass and it includes a built-in mic with which you can take calls. Just pair it with your smartphone or tablet, choose your tunes and let the speaker do the rest of the work.
Hear us out — a good umbrella is an unexpected yet invaluable gift. Few things are worse than getting stuck in a downpour on your way to work, especially if you use public transit to get there. Repel’s windproof travel umbrella is just the right size — not too big or too small at 11.5 inches in length — and its nine reinforced fiberglass ribs prevent it from being blown inside-out easily. We also like its single-button design, allowing you to open or close it with one hand. Repel’s umbrella is one of those practical gifts that your grad will be glad to have at the most crucial times, and they’ll save money in the long run by not needing to buy a new, cheap umbrella every time the skies open up.
The Bauhutte BGB-100FA Electronic Gaming Bed is a motorized bed designed to be used with the rest of its insane line of gaming furniture (seen above, sold separately), allowing a user to adjust the angle of incline for both their back and legs to achieve maximum long-term gaming comfort (and presumably help prevent bedsores from never leaving your bed). Needless to say, I must have one.
The bed includes two motors, one for lifting the back of the bed up to 60-degrees of incline and another for raising your legs and feet up to 35-degrees to keep your blood circulating during late-night gaming sessions. Honestly, I kinda like it when my legs go numb. Then I get up and try to walk and pretend I’m a zombie. My wife hates it, but she watches a lot of scary zombie movies and is likely fearful for her brains.
The bed, which is basically a very small version of a Tempur-Pedic Adjustable Bed you’ve probably seen in commercials, costs $674. That’s not bad. Unfortunately, it’s only available in Japan, which I wish I’d known before I ordered one and dragged my old bed out to the curb and set it on fire. Now how am I going to explain that to my wife? SPOILER: with a whole bunch of lies.
Just when we thought life was reaching a semblance of normalcy, the Omnicron variant slowly crept into our lives. It’s been slowly driving us back into the comforts of our home…although I don’t think the homebodies are really complaining. Could another lockdown be a possibility in the near future? We don’t know, but it’s better to always be prepared. Hence, we’ve curated a collection of innovative tech designs that’ll keep you thoroughly entertained as the pandemic moves on to the next level. From an FHD projector that lets you watch Netflix on a massive 200-inch display to a shapeshifting TV that turns into a virtual fireplace – these product designs are the futuristic and techy additions you need in your home to completely master any upcoming lockdown. Enjoy!
1. The Freestyle
In stark contrast to most projectors, the Freestyle comes in a sleek cylindrical form that looks like a mix of a spotlight and a smart speaker. In reality, that is almost exactly what it is, though it substitutes the spotlight for an LED projector. The Freestyle’s body can swing 180 degrees, making it trivial to place the projector anywhere and still get a good view. The projected image can go from 30 to up to 100 inches with a Full HD resolution. Despite the more compact size, the Samsung Freestyle is actually packed with features you’d see in bigger projectors. Those include autofocus and automatic keystone correction, both of which give the projector its advertised freedom.
2. The N1
The N1 can project sound waves at a certain amplitude or loudness, but it can also decide how loud the audio remains over a certain distance. By doing this, it can make the sound waves traveling to your ear loud, but make them soft the minute they cross your ear. Mounted on the top of the N1 are two cameras that track your face, locating the placement of your ears. It doesn’t matter if you have long hair, a thick beard, glasses, or even a face mask… the device can beam audio to your ears in real-time.
3. The 77W
The 77W’s display unit sits on a stone-textured base and comes with a wooden sleeve that can move up or down (as can the display itself). This allows the TV to assume 3 modes – a TV mode, a concealed mode, and a fireplace mode. The concealed mode allows the display to descend downwards into the wooden sleeve, hiding most of that black box behind a textured wooden panel… but the other two modes allow the 77W to truly shine… either as a high-definition television for watching the news, videos, sports, and entertainment content or as a fireplace that peeks from below the wooden panel, playing a looped high-definition video of burning logs and crackling flames.
4. The Jireno CUBE4
For under two Benjamins, the Jireno CUBE4 makes pretty lofty promises. Sure, it isn’t a 4K multimedia device, but then again, it delivers an absolute bang for its buck. The projector comes with a compact design that’s reminiscent of the Anker Nebula Mars 2, with its handle on top that lets you carry it around the place, so you can bring the party to your friends’ houses. Although it’s marketed as a portable projector, the one thing it lacks is an internal battery, so having a power-source nearby is a must. On the design front, the Cube4 has an all-aluminum body that, aside from giving the projector its premium aesthetic, also helps with heat dispersion, allowing the projector to stay cool at all times – a feature further reinforced by the CUBE4’s potent inner cooling system.
5. Iván Antón’s Apple TV 2021 Concept
Designer, Iván Antón has come up with an Apple TV 2021 concept, which comes with a wall plug built-in. Now that’s full marks for the compact build, but the practicality is debatable until we have something like this to use. Taking nothing away from the vision, I’m impressed with the concept of Apple TV’s ability to interact with Siri without the need for a remote. Furthermore, the new concept also integrates the MagSafe charger into the Apple TV unit, so the compatible remote can now be charged conveniently by sticking it to the back of the set-top box.
6. The Light Speaker
Designed with a multisensorial experience, the Light Speaker from Transparent appeals to your eyes as much as it does to your ears. Styled to look less like your conventional speaker with front-firing drivers or like the ubiquitous smart speaker with a cylindrical fabric clad, the Light Speaker champions a lantern-inspired design… and in true lantern fashion, also comes with a light on the inside that flickers as the speaker’s drivers vibrate, creating a hauntingly beautiful audiovisual allure. In its lamp-shaped avatar, the Light Speaker rubbishes the notion of what a Bluetooth speaker should look like. Taking on an appearance that looks aesthetic even when the lamp isn’t on, the Light Speaker is a compact little number that comes with a handle that can be detached if needed.
7. The HiBed
Equipped with a built-in 4K projector that can be synced with a series of devices to binge-watch movies/TV shows on a 70-inch retractable screen, the HiBed is the epitome of in-bed relaxation. A built-in surround sound system with invisible speakers makes the bed feel more like a movie theatre. For lazy bums like me actually traveling to a multiplex to watch a movie is totally out of the question now! Its intelligence makes it more than a bed, serving as a space you can escape to with music from any of your favorite sources! Oh, and did I forget to mention it comes along with Wifi?
8. The Chroma
VAVA makes a few really compelling arguments on behalf of its cutting-edge projector. For its compact size, the VAVA Chroma can project a display that measures anywhere between 80 inches to 150 inches diagonally. While most projectors require a dedicated spot and careful placement and orientation, the Chroma is an ultra-short-throw projector and can directly be placed against a blank wall, while it projects an image upwards onto the wall. As far as the image itself goes, the Chroma uses the world’s most advanced ALPD® 4.0 laser technology and a Red, Green, Blue Plus triple laser light source to produce a sharper 4K UHD image with HDR10, up to 106% Rec. 2020 color range, exceeding the color range of top movie theater projectors.
9. The Harman Kardon Turntable
The Harman Kardon turntable designed by URUSS Design carries a distinct retro-futuristic flair and unique form factor to keep music lovers more than interested. Just look at those internals inside a crystal-clear housing that encapsulates the mechanics of the record player in the most majestic manner. It’s like a celebration of the timeless record player era and the untouchable art of creating music. This piece of rare beauty stands in a corner on an equally impressive tripod – instantly attracting onlookers with a profound magnetism. For an instance, I too got drawn to the charismatic design of this record player that is in a league of its own. As the music plays, the record spinning inside is visible as elegantly as one could ever imagine!
10. The Collector
Codenamed the ‘Collector’, this futuristic vision from the mind of Liu Tianchen aims at bridging the worlds of electronic music and actual instrument-playing together. The rather slick-looking electronic drum kit features six adjustable pads and two pedals mounted on a folding frame. The kit comes with a folding stool too, and two drumsticks, giving you a near-authentic drumming experience. The difference, however, is in the fact that the Collector doesn’t rely on a pre-existing bank of drum sounds, but instead, gives the artist the flexibility to collect and build their own banks, either by purchasing samples online or making samples of their own. Then, working just like any good MIDI controller, the Collector lets you create beats using these samples in a way that closes the gap between actually jamming on a real-life drum kit, and just simply pressing buttons on a MIDI controller.
Created by vinyl figure producer Handmade By Robots, this series of collectible vinyl figures features horror movie villains in the style of knitted dolls. They’re not knitted though, they’re plastic, and I’m not sure I’d want any of them staring at me from a bedroom shelf at night, no matter how cute they are.
Available in Ghost Face, Pennywise, Hannibal Lecter, and Leatherface varieties, the $14 toys sit approximately 5″ tall and are just the thing to add a little horror to your everyday life. Me? My everyday life is already filled with enough horror. Just getting out of bed in the morning is enough to make me scream. Especially if the floor is cold, and the floor is always cold.
My grandma knit me a doll for a birthday when I was a child, and, if I’m being completely honest, it looks even scarier than any of these do, and it was supposed to be a friendly bear. It looks more like a zombie bear now. Time has not been kind to Honey. None of my dogs have been either.