OnePlus goes beyond mobile with a stylish mechanical keyboard

OnePlus may have started out as an upstart that challenged the status quo of the smartphone industry, but it has long moved beyond making phones only. Never mind related accessories like earbuds and wearables, the company has also launched its self-branded TV in a few of its key markets. Then again, a smart TV might not be that far removed from the mobile ecosystem, especially one that’s running Android TV. A mechanical keyboard, on the other hand, could be stretching the association a bit, but that is apparently what OnePlus’s community has been thirsting for. As a company that prides itself on listening to strong community feedback, that is exactly what OnePlus will be doing, presenting a customizable mechanical keyboard that admittedly looks elegant and very much a OnePlus product, at least based on teasers.

Designer: OnePlus

You might find it strange that OnePlus users would be clamoring for a keyboard accessory, mechanical or otherwise, at least until you realize that these very same people often have to spend hours every day in front of a computer. If that’s the case, it makes sense that they’d want a tool that not only makes their lives easier but also reflects their lifestyle choices. A mechanical keyboard definitely addresses the first part, but one that is branded and designed like a OnePlus product definitely checks all the right boxes.

Responding to this resounding desire for a OnePlus mechanical keyboard, the company partnered with the famed keyboard maker Keychron to lay the foundations for such a product. Of course, the highlight isn’t just the mechanical keyboard itself, which you can also get from a pure Keychron keyboard, but the way it is designed to match OnePlus’s aesthetics and design philosophy. For example, unlike typical flashy mechanical keyboards, this upcoming OnePlus peripheral embraces a very minimalist design, using tones of gray with some red accents in the Escape key and the switches.

There are also a few design highlights that give the keyboard a unique OnePlus flair. The slider that switches between Wireless and Wired (USB) mode, for example, looks quite similar to the Alert Slider on OnePlus phones. There is also a visually stunning glass knob in the upper right corner, which could probably be programmed for different functions. OnePlus is also quite proud of its double gasket design and the use of “ultra-precise” CNC aluminum manufacturing that covers the sight, sound, and tactile experiences of using a sophisticated mechanical keyboard.

OnePlus also talks about the customization options available for the keyboard, from hot-swappable switches to highly configurable software. It doesn’t go into detail about how far those options go, however, and they will most likely be limited to switches and key caps on the hardware side. A lot of information about the keyboard is still unavailable at this point, but the scheduled February 7th launch is just two weeks away anyway.

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This side and coffee tables have sustainability and simplicity ingrained in their DNA

Once upon a time, buying a table involved troublesome and inconvenient shipping arrangements because the furniture either comes pre-assembled or didn’t have any way to disassemble it anyway. These days, however, it has become trendy to buy flat-packed furniture, especially if they come with minimalist designs. These are easier to transport, sometimes by the buyers themselves, and are possible to take apart store away when they’re no longer needed. The trade-off, however, is often the complexity and difficulty of assembling the things on your own. Fortunately, more creative furniture designers have come up with new ways to simplify that process, and these wooden tables demonstrate how an easier process doesn’t exactly make the furniture less stable.

Designer: Ivan Nuño

Thanks to the prevalence of minimalist designs and the popularity of stores like IKEA, it isn’t uncommon these days for many people to prefer tables and chairs that arrive at their doorsteps in pieces. Logistics like transportation and storage can be cheaper, and it’s also not that much work for those already used to putting things together themselves by hand. The latter, however, doesn’t cover the majority of buyers that need simpler steps to follow. Unfortunately, simplicity can sometimes also mean fragility, and some might find their tables loosening in critical areas.

To correct that problem, Studio Nuño designed a new type of joinery that it says reduces the assembly time down to just a few minutes while still maintaining structural strength to bear the weight of everyday use. You simply insert the legs into the slots beneath the tabletop, slide in a supporting piece, and screw that piece down with an Allen wrench. The legs come in three or four distinct pieces for the side table and coffee table, respectively, so there are no confusing angles or combinations to worry about.

Although not an inherent property of flat-pack design, many products that come in this form often have a pinch of sustainable design as well. Studio Nuño, however, takes it to a whole new level by making sure both the product and its packaging are environment-friendly. The wood for the tables, for example, is made from Baltic birch plywood coated with high-pressure laminate made from recycled materials, while the joinery uses recycled steel. The packaging is devoid of single-use plastic, using 100% recycled and biodegradable materials. It even uses eco-friendly tape to keep things together.

Studio Nuño’s tables don’t skimp on the aesthetics either, fully embracing a minimalist design that blends well with any theme you might have running in your home. Simple and sustainable, this coffee and side table pair offers a fresh look at how furniture doesn’t have to be complicated to be beautiful or sturdy. At the same time, its simple assembly also proves that you don’t have to sweat too much to have a sturdy and reliable table for your use, whatever that may be.

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These quirky wall hooks look like squirmy critters crawling on your wall

Minimalist designs often suffer the stigma of being plain, clinical, or boring, as if such designs have to follow rigid forms and a fixed set of drab colors to qualify as minimalist. Of course, the actual interpretation and implementation of minimalist design principles can vary from person to person, and there is no hard rule that prevents injecting a bit of whimsical and eccentric elements into a product. Take, for example, these wall hooks that are nothing more than plainly colored strips of metal but twisted and bent in such a way that they turn any wall into a curious piece of abstract art filled with what looks like creepy crawlies wriggling their way across the room.

Designer: Christian Neumeier

Wall and door hooks often have very utilitarian designs, primarily because they get obscured by things hanging from them most of the time. The times they don’t hold anything often see them blending into the background or hidden behind doors. It’s a missed opportunity, however, to turn them into decorative pieces as well, whether they’re in use or especially when they’re not. Bender is an attempt to remedy that situation, and it does so in a strikingly simple way.

As its name implies, Bender hooks are just powder-coated strips of steel bent in this or that direction, creating a form that you might presume to be unsuitable for its purpose of being a wall hook. But thanks to precise industrial design, the ends and sometimes even the middle of these metal strips instantly become places to hang bags, clothes, and accessories. The hooks come in different sizes but are all simple in form, despite the twists and turns, making them just as space-efficient as regular hooks.

The real pull of Bender is, of course, the creative freedom it gives homeowners in sprucing up their space. Any wall can become not only a wardrobe but also a mural, with these bending critters creating patterns in your design. The hooks come in different colors as well, so you can make the composition as regular or as chaotic as you want. Perhaps you want a more uniform pattern of black and white stripes similar to a zebra, or perhaps you prefer a random kaleidoscopic scattering of hooks as if somebody splattered your wall with gigantic gummy worms.

The one unfortunate factor that could limit your creativity is the fact that you’ll have to drill holes to install these hooks. While it does come with all the screws, dowels, and guides needed to set the hooks up, you can’t change the arrangement on a whim once they’re screwed in place. It might also be a deal-breaker for renters and even some households, leaving them no option but to use dull old wall hooks instead.

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FluidStance Lift laptop stand has a whiteboard to also raise your productivity

Laptops have long overtaken desktops as the most numerous kind of personal computer in the market, yet it is far from being the most comfortable to use. These notebook computers were never designed for ergonomics, and their form has persisted for decades just because there is really no better solution yet. What people have done, instead, was to workaround the laptop’s inherent ergonomic limitations, mostly by either using laptop stands that raise the screen to a more comfortable level or connecting an external monitor and better keyboards for desktop use. Laptop stands do one thing and one thing only, and while their simplicity has merits, they can do nothing more to optimize your workflow and productivity. Sensing an opportunity, FluidStance created a stand that elevates not only your laptop but also your productivity by offering a small yet significant analog feature.

Designer: FluidStance

One of the most-cited reasons (or excuses) for an unproductive time at work or study is the unavoidable interruptions that come our way. The common advice is to immediately note down those ideas, tasks, requests, or what have you the moment they arrive and then switch back to the current task at hand. That strategy sounds trivial, but only if you actually have something at hand to note those things down immediately, which isn’t always the case. FluidStance is trying to solve that problem by giving you a writing space that’s always available since it will be where your laptop will always be.

The Lift is a bit of an outlier among other laptop stands. It stands quite tall, actually 9 inches at its highest point in the back. This was specifically designed to put the laptop at eye level, reducing the strain on your neck when working at a desk. On the front, the laptop is raised to a height of 6.25 inches, which does mean you’ll need to use a separate keyboard anyway. Instead of wasting space, however, FluidStance has creatively put a dry-erase board in that space, becoming an area where you can immediately jot down notes without breaking your workflow or fumbling around for pen and paper.

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It’s a rather ingenious design that takes advantage of what would normally be an unused area underneath a laptop stand. There’s still a lot of space behind the whiteboard if you want to hide some things from sight. The stand does have cutouts on the hind legs for cable management, so you might prefer to use that space for computer-related accessories instead.

One side effect of having a built-in whiteboard is that the height of the stand is fixed. In fact, there aren’t any additional parts, hinges, or whatnot, making it one solid steel piece. That also means that the FluidStance Lift is built to last, probably longer than even the laptop that sits on it, making it not only a minimalist yet multi-functional desk accessory but also a sustainable one, too.

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This simplistic wooden chair imagines a future Google that has gone back to nature

It’s not uncommon for design trends to swing back and forth like a pendulum, making what was once old new again or seeing old practices in a new light. That kind of back and forth seemingly applies to almost all facets of life and history that it became even part of major philosophies. All that it means is that what may be the prevalent style or mindset now could take a U-turn after a few decades, and all our obsession with advanced technologies could lead to a counter-movement that will bring us back to nature and the basics. The tech companies today won’t be the same decades from now, and some of them might even adopt a style that might even be perceived as devoid of tech completely, like this wooden chair that might be Google’s signature furniture 24 years from now.

Designer: Povilas Grigas

When it comes to tech companies, Google is definitely one of the big three, along with Microsoft and Apple. With its hands in so many different technological fields, you could almost say that it is the most popular icon of technology. The company has undergone so many changes since its birth, not least of which is splitting into different companies under Alphabet, but its biggest change is probably yet to come. Just as humans are wont to return to simpler and more natural things, so too Google’s design language might swing that way a few decades from now.

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One speculative design project envisions what Google’s design language would be like by 2046 or so, based on the principle above as well as Google’s current design philosophy. Google has always had a penchant for minimalism, though the exact application of that design philosophy changes over time. And what could be more minimalist than pieces of furniture that are not only natural but are also inspired by nature’s more basic designs. The Seed Chair, for example, looks like nothing more than a few short logs joined together to form a seat, representing the most basic interaction between nature and man.

Admittedly, the Seed Chair doesn’t look like the most comfortable seat around, though it does embrace Google’s spartan aesthetics and preference for geometric shapes. At the same time, however, it is almost the complete opposite of Google’s spirit. The chair is large, heavy, and has plenty of friction, while Google’s culture is always associated with agility and fast-paced change, almost to a fault.

Of course, it is unlikely that Google will adopt this nature-centric design wholesale, at least not in the foreseeable future. It is, however, more likely to dip its toes into this area of product design, researching and experimenting with ways technology can make such designs possible, especially with a nod towards sustainability and the use of natural materials. That might be more in line with Google’s character and mindset, one that tries to inject technology everywhere, especially in places where data can be harvested, utilized, and maybe even turned into a profit.

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MOFT elevates mobile life at CES 2023 with new stands and mounts for iPhones and iPads

The tech frenzy in Las Vegas may have finally died down, but the CES dust has far from settled. There are more than a few products and prototypes that can be unpacked beyond our 35 best designs for CES this year. Despite the wide range of consumer electronics and technologies showcased, all of them have the common goal of improving human lives as well as helping our planet heal. That can be as grand as four-seater flying cars that will take commuting to new heights, literally, or something as simple yet as effective as making it easier to use our gadgets today. That kind of meaningful improvement is what MOFT is offering Apple fans with a new set of accessories designed to take their iPad and iPhone use to the next level, almost literally as well.

Designer: MOFT

Whether it’s for consuming content or creating them, tablets are often used at the desk level, which is the most uncomfortable angle for using them for long periods. While there are a few stands that try to raise the tablet screen to a more ergonomic level, the new MOFT Snap Float Folio easily outclasses them in design and versatility. Inspired by origami, the Japanese art of paper folding, this protective cover can set the iPad as much as 3.6 inches higher, while its four versatile angles let you use the iPad in various ways. Even better, the folio is made of fiberglass from recycled materials and a premium leather-like PU surface that makes it lightweight yet luxurious.

It’s not unusual for people with MacBooks to keep their iPhones nearby, though usually lying on the desk or propped up on a stand below eye level. Either way, switching back and forth between MacBook and iPhone is sure to strain your eyes and neck. The Flip Laptop iPhone Mount easily solves this by making your iPhone seemingly float beside your laptop screen. The mount attaches to the back of a laptop, and its arm can flip out in three different orientations to magnetically hold the iPhone securely. The mount is made from soft faux leather, and the adhesive can be removed without leaving a mark on your laptop’s stylish lid.

Sometimes, your quality of life doesn’t exactly require an ergonomic height but instead focuses on everyday carry convenience. The new Snap Stand Power Set offers this portable flexibility with a battery pack and a stand and wallet, both of which can magnetically attach to an iPhone, either together or alone. The minimalist design and scratch-resistant faux leather give these accessories a luxurious appearance that adds to your iPhone’s prestige, even when they’re riding on the smartphone’s back.

If you’re going to carry your iPhone around, though, you might want to take a gander at MOFT’s new Sling Case. Making you look hip while swinging your iPhone along, the case’s hidden strap connectors let you securely attach an adjustable lanyard of any length. The soft-touch faux leather case is compatible with MagSafe accessories and gives you even more reasons to save yourself the awkwardness of bulging pockets.

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Victrola Stream Onyx turntable makes your wireless Sonos party a bit more affordable

Although the hype around vinyl records and turntables has died down a bit, they haven’t completely disappeared. Every now and then, we still see major brands putting out new models to cater to this niche but passionate market. There is definitely still room for plenty of improvement and creativity, as shown by countless design concepts on how to give the old music device a new face. With plenty of options, it might be overwhelming to pick one for your home. But if your home is already set up with a group of Sonos speakers spread throughout the house, turntable maker Victrola just made that choice a bit easier.

Designer: Victrola

There have been many new spins on the turntable design, some completely ditching even the standard box shape. These can sometimes become more complex and even distracting, calling attention more to itself than to the music that it plays. The Victrola Stream Onyx, in contrast, is understated and almost invisible, especially if most of your decor is dark or black. At the same time, however, it still has a distinctive and polished character that adds a subtle beauty to any space it’s in.

The Stream Onyx is actually the brand’s second turntable with this exact same design, with the Stream Carbon being not only older but also more expensive. In other words, this is the cheaper version of that premium device in both senses of the word. It has some features that remain similar, like the illuminated volume knob, the belt-driven metal platter, and the overall minimalist aesthetic. In other aspects, however, the Stream Onyx cuts a few corners in materials and finishing to reach a $599.99 price point compared to the Stream Carbon’s whopping $799.99.

The Victrola Stream Onyx, just as its name suggests, is all black, removing the silver accents of its pricier sibling. There are parts where Victrola swaps metal with thick molded plastic, like the plastic cartridge replacing aluminum. The tonearm of the Stream Carbon is made from carbon fiber, while the Stream Onyx makes do with aluminum. The materials may differ, but for all intents and purposes, the Stream Onyx still exudes the same design language and, more importantly, is promised to deliver the same audio quality.

What makes both turntables notable, however, is that they are certified to be “Works with Sonos” compatible. That simply means they can easily stream wirelessly to any and all Sonos speakers you have in your house, making it trivial to flood your home with music that speaks to your soul. There is a traditional RCA jack for connecting a cable to a wired speaker if you don’t have a Sonos, but then again, you would probably opt for a more affordable turntable at that point.

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Samsung Bespoke smart refrigerators helps you truly own your kitchen

Most people would probably claim their rooms or the living room as their headquarters inside a house, but those who love cooking or preparing meals for the family will lay claim to the kitchen as their kingdom. There is no shortage of kitchen appliances and products that are designed to help make people’s lives easier, but few among these are also designed to appeal to their personal aesthetic tastes. It’s easier to get that kind of more personalized touch when it comes to kitchen tools and utensils, not so much for large appliances that are mass-produced to cater to the general public. That’s where bespoke products come in, and Samsung’s latest line of smart refrigerators try to fill this niche with appliances that not only look smart but are also pretty smart internally as well.

Designer: Samsung

While many refrigerators already look stylish and, at times, luxurious, not everyone will have the same tastes in aesthetics. Even more varied are the kitchen designs that people try to make, designs that make many refrigerators and oven stick out like a sore thumb. Samsung’s Bespoke Home lineup has been giving homeowners more options to leave their visual imprint in their homes, and this year’s new members expand that roster with refrigerators that offer not only more flexibility but also more functionality.

It might still seem like a strange feature, but Samsung’s screen-toting Family Hub definitely has its fans. The new Bespoke 4-Door Flex with Family Hub+ supersizes that display to a large 32-inch Full HD screen, empowering experiences like a large canvas for family photos, a spacious dashboard for managing your smart home, and even a convenient screen for watching videos while you’re busy cooking.

The new Bespoke Side-by-Side and Bespoke Top-Mounted Freezer Refrigerators embrace the dominant minimalist design trend to seamlessly blend with the rest of your kitchen interior. Buyers can pick their preferred color or front panel materials, including glass and stainless steel, to truly personalize the appearance of this smart appliance. The Side-by-Side fridge features Samsung’s new Auto Open Door tech that conveniently releases the door with just a tap on the recessed handle.

The Samsung Bespoke Infinite Line Refrigerator offers a bit of modular flexibility, letting buyers choose from fridge, freezer, or wine cellar models. Whichever combination is chose, the bespoke fridge bears a timeless design that uses simple lines and hiqh-quality materials, bringing a touch of class to your kitchen. And to match is premium exterior appearance, the refrigerator’s interior is refined with Black Metal Cooling that creates a visual illusion of depth while helping keep food fresher at the same time.

Accompanying these new refrigerators is a Bespoke AI Oven whose minimalist design belies its intelligence. With an internal camera and a powerful AI, the oven can detect and alert you when food is about to be burned, though you could also just let the oven decide the cooking time and method depending on the dish inside. In addition to keeping the food inside safe, the oven also helps keep people safe with a Push to Open door that replaces the traditional handle that isn’t just safer to use but also looks more refined and more streamlined.

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This simple table has an equally simple solution for hanging your bags

Everyone has a bag these days, whether it’s a backpack, a messenger bag, a handbag, or one of the more fashionable descendants of the fanny pack. Despite varying designs and sizes, almost all bags have two things in common, they have handles or straps, and you wouldn’t want to leave them lying on the floor in offices and coffee shops. Some tables in these public spaces now offer hidden bag hooks under the table, but these seemingly ingenious solutions come with their own drawbacks. A proper solution doesn’t have to be overly complicated or sophisticated, and sometimes, the simplest one wins. That’s the kind of thinking that may have gone into these ultra-minimalist tables that hide their bag hooks in plain sight.

Designer: Hajime Kumazawa

The need for bag hooks has been a rather recent phenomenon as more people flocked to coffee shops and communal spaces, including those in offices. There was even a phase when bag hook accessories became trendy because very few tables had such hooks built into them. Such tables are more common these days but still not standard, so you might find people awkwardly groping under a table just to check if there are any hooks for their bags.

Therein lies the fundamental design problem of bag hooks. Intended to hide bags from view, they sacrificed practicality and ease of use on the altar of keeping up appearances. Ironically, these tables are places where things can get a bit messy, either from food or from work. Hanging the bags beneath the surface doesn’t even help in getting them out of your way because they often result in uncomfortable leg positions to avoid hitting the bags in the first place.

The DTN Table design fixes this problem by being simple and honest about its purpose. It doesn’t pretend to be some stylish piece of artistic furniture by hiding bags from sight. Instead, it makes it super simple to hang bags on the four legs of the table, allowing for easy access and really getting out of the way of your legs. This might invite some messy arrangements, and it does limit how many people can hang their bags at the corners, but the purpose of the table is more for transient activity, like meals, meetings, and similar.

The table itself is unabashedly utilitarian in design, practically just a slab of melamine on top of four steel legs with aluminum die-casting. It is as minimal as it can be, with few options for different colors of the tabletop or the legs. It also comes in either rectangular or square sizes, and you can easily put them side by side if you need more space or more bag hooks. That’s not to say there’s nothing else to this table. By default, it comes with two casters and two glides to make it possible to move the table around just as easily.

Admittedly, the DTN Table might seem plain and unexciting on its own, with its singular visual quirk being the top of the legs that serve as bag hooks. Almost ironically, having those bags hang on the outside for everyone to see does add some flavor to these plain tables, making them feel like living places where people interact with each other, which is exactly what such tables are designed for in the first place.

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This portable record player helps you focus on your inner light in a unique way

Vinyl records and LP players have experienced a renaissance in the past few years as the “newtro” fad gripped people of all ages. While most tried to be faithful to the designs and experiences of old, even if they are considered inconvenient by today’s standards, others saw the trend as a challenge to re-imagine what could be in light of what was. That’s particularly true of old media that don’t necessarily need to be constrained by the limitations of old media players. This vinyl record player concept, for example, still tries to deliver that same unique audio quality of LP plates but uses a device that is not only lightweight but also light-centric in a manner you might not expect.

Designer: Hyeyoung Han, Hanyoung Lee

LP or vinyl records have always had a place in music lovers’ hearts despite the limitations of the physical medium. Those limitations, in fact, are what endears these large black discs to its loyal fans, creating a unique tone and quality that’s difficult to reproduce perfectly even through digital means. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to enjoy these vinyl records, both old and new. Unfortunately, most of them seem to be designed on the presumption that they have to be as big as an LP or even bigger.

There are reasonable considerations why record players come as large, flat boxes, but it’s not a hard rule. In fact, one could consider it detrimental to the enjoyment of these records since they take up much space and, more importantly, aren’t exactly easy to move around. Luceren is a design concept that tries to bring that favorite “portability” feature to the record player in a way that is both interesting and elegant, all for the sake of finding your inner self through music.

At first glance, this boat-shaped device looks more like a minimalist tealight candle holder. The protruding bulb on one end reinforces that imagery, but, as they say, looks can be deceiving. As you might have guessed, this is actually a record player, and that bulb serves as the spindle that holds the vinyl in place. Whether on its own or with a record on top, Luceren evokes a sense of simplicity, calm, peace, and light. Plus, it also makes it easy to move the player around, even if just inside the house or room.

It isn’t just for display, though, since it’s supposed to actually play those records. Rather than having a tonearm on top, though, the design hides the mechanism underneath, inside the body of the device. This means you’ll have to place the record upside down, but it’s not exactly a novel idea with some more minimalist record players. It also helps keep the design simple and reduces the number of moving parts that could be broken when moving it from one place to another.

There might be concerns about the stability of a device that spins a disc larger than itself, but Luceren does tickle the mind in imagining other unconventional designs like this. Regardless, the design successfully conveys the message it wants to send, that of a lightweight device that brings light through the simple enjoyment of music wherever you are.

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