Each and every month, Lust List rounds up the products that shook us all night long. This time we've got unique backpacks, iPhone-saving cases, cool music gear, hot chile booze and much more.
Timbuk2 Muttmover dog backpack
My mother's dog is a little fluffy menace. A Pomeranian, he looks like dog treats wouldn't melt in his mouth, but he's a terror. He goes completely bananas when other dogs are around, and gets bitey if you try to move him off the couch. Last time I tried to stop him from eating the cat's food, I had to go get a tetanus shot. The neighbors call him "Little Cujo."
The only time he's manageable is when he's in a bag. He loves a good bag, and it keeps him out of trouble. Everywhere he goes, Mother puts him in a duffel bag that's a bit too big and unwieldy. So I got her Timbuk2's Muttmover dog backpack, which both she and the little DFH (Dog From Hell) love.
It's a medium-size backpack, so it's easy for her to sling over her shoulder. It's more compact and manageable than the duffel, plus there's a carrying handle on top. The front panel zips open completely, making it easy for the devil dog to step inside. The liner is made of a slick tarpaulin material (with a nice paw-print design), which is easy to clean if he has a whoopsie. There's a ton of pockets for muzzles and Band-Aids, plus zippered portholes for him to stick his evil little face out. It includes a folding water dish. Timbuk2 told me the $118 Muttmover is so popular, it often sells out. — Leander Kahney
A trail-worthy pint glass that doesn't sweat, keeps my beer cold longer and adds no metallic taste. What's not to like? Unless, of course, your wife discovers it's also perfect for keeping her tea hot (the outside doesn't become hot to the touch, thanks to the 16-ounce Hydro Flask True Pint's double-walled vacuum insulation).
The only thing to do is decide which of the five color choices I like best and order more. Luckily, the $21.99 True Pint was designed to be stackable. — Jim Merithew
Portable flash drives aren't sexy, but when you're stuck with a 16GB iPhone, they can be a godsend. Leef's iBridge portable drives are designed to work with iPhones and iPads so you never run out of storage, no matter how many photos and videos you add to your device. Starting at $59.99 for a 16GB stick (with options up to 128 GB), iBridge helps you make the most of your iPhone's storage by providing a physical safe haven for all your favorite content.
The iBridge comes with a slick, minimalist app that helps transfer content from your Mac to your iPhone or vice versa. It's ridiculously easy to use and allows you to shoot photos or videos and save them directly on the drive. You'll have to shell out $199 for the 128GB option, but it's cheaper than splurging on a 128GB iPhone 6. — Buster Hein
Ever wish you had your own guitar tech so you could focus on playing your ax, not tuning it? How about a quick change from the standard tuning to something different, like an open-E tuning? The $99 Roadie Tuner lets you do just that with a sweet little robo-device that will listen to your guitar strings via a Bluetooth-connected iPhone app and then turn those shiny tuning pegs all on its own.
The accompanying free Roadie Tuner iOS app has all sorts of tuning profiles that will help you become the next Joni Mitchell. The system works with acoustic or electric guitars, so you'll always be in perfect tune. Of course, we can't say the same thing for your bass player. — Rob LeFebvre
I've been using a BaseLift on my 15-inch MacBook Pro for the past couple weeks, and I have yet to take it off (it sticks on with adhesive and installation is super-easy). That's saying something, because usually I abandon add-ons like these after testing.
Twelve South claims the elevated angle means you'll type more comfortably, but I'm not sure I buy that. How typing makes you feel depends entirely on how your wrists are positioned relative to your forearms. So if your wrists are bent up at a sharp angle, you're going to cramp. That said, I haven't had any cramping issues while using the BaseLift. And I actually like having my screen elevated just a little. It makes a big difference when you're staring at a screen all day.
The BaseLift is compatible with all MacBooks (11-inch Air to 15-inch Pro), and costs $39.99. — Alex Heath
Of all the bike racks I've had over the years, Yakima's FullTilt 5 is the best so far. I've always had trouble getting a bike rack big enough for the whole family but, like the name says, the Fulltilt 5 accommodates five bikes.
Everything is integrated and easy to use. Other bike racks frustrated me, with their fiddly straps or rubbery fittings that were always getting lost. The FullTilt's cradles are built-in, sliding up and down a rail for adjustment. Bikes are secured with big, chunky zip ties (which are fully removable, but still). It's the easiest attachment system I've encountered so far. Just put the bike on the rack and slide a couple of ties into the cradles on either side. The cradles include anti-sway arms to stop the bikes crashing into each other.
There's also a built-in security cable for locking the bikes to the rack. The cable is easily snipped by a professional bike thief, but it'll stop an opportunist from snagging a bike while you go to the bathroom or get lunch.
The FullTilt is hitch-mounted, with an adjustable AutoPin to accommodate 1.25-inch and 2-inch hitch receivers. There's a big red knob for locking the rack to the car. Conveniently, the same key works for both the hitch and cable locks. The rack folds all the way down for trunk access or folding flat for storage.
It's not the lightest (41 pounds) or the cheapest ($449) but overall, it's well-designed and well-made — a big, beefy rack for biking. — Leander Kahney
I keep dropping my iPhone 6 Plus and knocking it off tables. I'm not sure why — is it because it's so big that it's slightly unwieldy? Or because it's so damn indispensable that I carry it everywhere? No matter the reason for my inexcusable clumsiness, it's undeniably true that the bigger-than-big iPhone has taken more hits than any phone I've ever owned. Shockingly, it's still in perfect condition, and for that I thank my Tech21 Classic Shell case.
There's nothing particularly lust-worthy about the case. It's got a clear back, which has yellowed a bit with age, and a colored ring around the iPhone's edge (mine's a slightly obnoxious orange). But there's absolutely nothing appealing about a cracked phone, and that's where Tech21's "Impactology" tech comes into play. The Classic Shell, which retails for $39.99, is made of a patented, shock-absorbing material called D30 that's designed to dissipate the force of impacts.
The end result is a slim case that makes the iPhone 6 Plus easy to slide into and out of my pockets — and a joy to pick up, unbroken, off the hard concrete I've stupidly dropped it onto. — Lewis Wallace
With its natural wood finish base, classic lines and built-in speakers, the Max LP from ION Audio is a fantastic basic turntable that spins records at 33 1/3, 45 and even 78 RPM (for those rare classics you might have sitting in an attic somewhere). It's also set up to easily convert your vinyl into digital files for those albums from your youth that aren't available on iTunes or Spotify.
The speakers on the deck are serviceable, sounding a bit better than a smartphone and making things a little more portable, but you can always connect the Max LP, which retails for $99.99, to powered speakers or a component stereo system, using either a 1/8-inch audio jack or a red-and-white RCA cable. Stick a USB cable into the back of the Max LP and attach the other end to your Mac, and you can convert records super-easily with the included software. You can even digitize cassette tapes by connecting a separate tape player through the turntable. — Rob LeFebvre
If you're still using your TV or Mac speakers to watch TV, play games or listen to music, you owe it to yourself to try out Razer's affordable yet powerful Leviathan 5.1 Channel Surround Sound Bar. For $199, you get a solid speaker system that performs at a level challenging even more expensive multi-speaker hardware (it's certified Dolby Digital, Virtual Speaker and Pro Logic II).
This beast is a thin sound bar that looks like a minimalist boom box that you set in front of your TV or gaming monitor. You'll connect it via optical, audio cable or Bluetooth to your sound source. I've ended up making it my turntable and HDTV sound system, as the powerful bass response from the big trapezoidal subwoofer makes for a compelling home theater experience. It's perfect for that smaller living room, home office or dorm room where you want to push some serious air without spending a lot of scratch. — Rob LeFebvre
Next time you're rock climbing or engaging in some other crazy adventure with your iPhone, be sure to take along this sweet leash system from Kenu. The Highline Security Leash starts with a protective, texturized polycarbonate iPhone case that's thin enough to put in your pocket but tough enough to protect from random damage.
The killer feature here, though, is the bungee-cord leash, which solidly locks into your iPhone's Lightning port as well as a notch in the back of the case, making for a secure connection. There's a version for the iPhone 6 ($29.95) and a stronger one for iPhone 6 Plus ($34.95), so you know your lifeline device will always stick nearby, letting you feel secure as you whip it out while skiing down a crazy slope this winter. — Rob LeFebvre
Of all the cool things smarthome products can do, the very bottom of my list was mood lighting. I had absolutely zero interest in it — until I actually tried it. Elgato sent an Avea smart bulb to the office and it sat there for weeks, untested and unloved, until a bulb blew at home. Thinking I'd use it just temporarily, I was really surprised that I immediately fell head over heels for it.
What surprised me is how much better mood lighting makes me feel. Yeah, I know it's a cliché, but it really works. Problem was, all of our lights were high wattage. And because the kids turn on every light in the house and never turn them off, it was like living inside a photocopier. The Avea allows me to turn the lighting up or down, setting the light depending on what we are doing: a soft, gentle blue for watching TV, or full Gestapo for doing homework.
Unlike rival smart bulbs, which often require a special hub or gateway, the Avea connects directly to your iPhone or iPad via Bluetooth. The well-designed Avea app has a bunch of moody presets, like "Cozy Flames," which bathes the room in a flickering yellow-orange glow, or "Magic Hour," a soft, pinkish-yellow that evokes a Caribbean sunset. (You can see the different presets in action on Elgato's website). After choosing a preset, the settings stick, even when the lights are turned on and off at the wall. The app also adjusts brightness, and you can set an alarm that will gradually brighten the room in the morning as though the sun's coming up.
It wasn't cheap — Avea bulbs cost $39 each — but I was so bowled over, I outfitted the entire house with smart LED bulbs. They last for years, I told myself, and if I get anxious about it, I'll just select the "Calm Provence" preset. Requires an iPhone 4S and up. — Leander Kahney
I've always thought OGIO backpacks look too nerdy for any sane person to wear. When it comes to making tech gear, OGIO has always put function ahead of fashion, but with the company's new Ascent packs, style is finally getting the attention it deserves.
Like most OGIO packs, the Ascent comes with more pockets than even most nerds could use. There's a special padded slot big enough for a 15-inch MacBook Pro, another for an iPad Air and a few pouches for knickknacks to go with the two main compartments. They've even thrown in a Tech Vault at the top to store your sunglasses, camera and other easy-to-beat-up stuff.
Basically, if you can't keep your gadgets organized with this pack, you never will. Its style isn't flashy, but it looks more like an active-lifestyle backpack than the company's other laptop bags. And with a $99.99 price tag, it'll get the job done for cheaper than some of the more stylish options out there. — Buster Hein
I've long had a soft spot for iPhone cases that also carry my cards and cash and allow me to leave my wallet at home. Unfortunately, most of them are big and bulky and unsuitable for already large handsets like the iPhone 6 Plus. But the CM4 Q Card Case is different.
Rather than employing a traditional wallet design with a cover that folds over the front of your iPhone and gets in your way, the Q Card Case is a more traditional soft-touch rubber case with a fabric pocket on its back. The Case holds up to three credit cards as well as some cash pretty comfortably, but it's a little tight when you first get it so you'll need to break it in. There is a small cut-out at the bottom of the credit card pouch that allows you to remove your cards easily. Even with three cards inside it, the Q Card Case isn't too bulky on a 6 Plus. It'll slip fairly easily into and out of your pocket, and it's significantly slimmer than a leather wallet case.
It also has a special feature up its sleeve (if you get the 6 Plus version) that I've found to be super-useful: A long, narrow notch runs alongside the back of the case; if you pull out a credit card and push it into that notch, it will act as a stand so you can prop up your phone for watching videos or typing with an external keyboard.
The Q Card Case offers great protection and it's super-functional. You can get it in five colors — black, gray, red, green and gold — for $39.99 from CM4's online store. It's also available for the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 5s at the same price. — Killian Bell
Usually when your bartender talks up a hot new drink, he's not referring to actual heat. But that's what you get when you add a half-jigger of Ancho Reyes liqueur to a recipe: restrained heat, plus subtle sweetness and exotic spices that will add an unforgettable dimension to your cocktail.
I got my first taste of this outstanding liqueur made with ancho chiles (the dried version of poblano peppers) during this year's International CES, when my Cult of Mac colleague Jim and I stumbled (probably literally) into The Chandelier, an eye-catching multi-story lounge inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. We ordered a pair of American Gothic cocktails, a spicy concoction that expertly blends Woodford Reserve bourbon with Ancho Reyes, Amaro Meletti, chocolate mole bitters and house-made spiced chai-masala tea syrup. The drink was like a shining beacon of elegance and hope rising above CES's inevitable sea of free booze.
There's a lot going on in that American Gothic recipe, but it was clear Ancho Reyes played a key role. Once back in San Francisco, I had to track some down. It took a while, and cost a little north of $30, but I finally found some. A little goes a long way, but it's a genius way to heat up your next cocktail party. Plus: That old-school bottle looks sweet on your liquor shelf. — Lewis Wallace
The uHandy kit turns an iPhone’s camera app into a mobile microscope. Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac
Humankind is not depending on me to cure some terrible epidemic. That takes the pressure off and lets me have a little fun as I try a device that turns my iPhone into a fairly powerful microscope.
With a clip-on aspheric lens and transmitted light base that weighs only a few ounces, the makers of uHandy Microscope boast of it having a resolution comparable to a traditional microscope that weighs down a lab table in a classroom.
Samples can be magnified and viewed in the field using your smartphone’s camera app to record the image and, of course, an instant ability to share the image with colleagues in other places.
First Twin Peaks, and now this. Fox is bringing back its seminal monster-of-the-week series The X-Files for a six-episode run, complete with original stars Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny.
We don’t know yet what former agents Mulder and Scully have been up to since we left them floating in the middle of the ocean at the end of 2008 film I Want to Believe (they had a raft; don’t worry). But I imagine it will involve aliens, conspiracies and perhaps an alien conspiracy or two.
If you’re excited about these series making their returns, here are five ’90s cult TV shows to take you back to the world of crappy computer effects and even worse pants. And be sure to let us know more of your favorites in the comments.
It’s bigger and shinier than any Nintendo handheld ever made. Photo: Evan Killham/Cult of Mac
Your iPhone and iPad are decent options for gaming on the go, but they can’t do everything. Sometimes touch controls work, and sometimes they don’t.
If you’re a dedicated gamer who wants something that combines the simplicity of touch controls with the precision of actual buttons, I recommend Nintendo’s newest handheld gaming device.
The latest incarnation of the 3DS handheld system is appropriately named the New Nintendo 3DS XL (North America didn’t get the smaller version, but my massive man hands and I are not complaining). It offers a wider viewing angle for its glasses-free stereoscopic 3D graphics, a faster processor and even more buttons than the old one. And if you can swing the $200 price, you’ll be buying a lot of fun. But as commenters love to point out to me, this is Cult of Mac and not Cult of Whatever I’m Writing About, so we’ll skip to the big question:
We’re just weeks away from the Apple Watch’s launch, but maybe you’re not as excited about it as some of us are. It’s understandable; not everyone needs a $550 watch that offers many of the same capabilities your phone already does (albeit more conveniently).
If you’re in the market for a cool new watch and don’t need all the smart features and gadgetiness of Apple’s offering, here are a few less-shiny options you could check out. And they are, in fact, far less shiny than the Apple Watch. Because they’re made of wood.
I do have to hand it to them for that tagline. Solid work, everyone. Photo: Armory Films
I don’t know if you’ve heard of Zombeavers, but it’s out now. And, true to its name, it is about beavers who are also zombies, and they lay siege to a cabin full of hapless, idiot teens on a weekend trip to the woods.
Watch the Zombeavers trailer if you don’t believe me, but this is a thing that is happening to all of us. And I can’t actually speak to its quality without having seen it, but it absolutely looks like something I would watch on Netflix at 2 in the morning. But only then.
What I’m saying is that you can probably wait to see Zombeavers, which will screen in select theaters starting today and is also available to stream on demand. And while you’re doing that, you should check out these other films that blend horror and comedy into something special (and don’t forget to share all the ones I missed in the comments).
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is back from its mid-season break to resolve some cliffhangers — and introduce new ones, because absolute closure has no place in TV shows based on comic books.
If you don’t like waiting a week between episodes and want to fill that time with more stories about secret agencies, government-sanctioned or otherwise, that are charged with sorting out the crazy junk your civilian brain just couldn’t even handle, we have a few suggestions for you. Kick your TV into super-secret-spy mode with these shows and movies that are guaranteed to give you your daily allowance of secrets, acronyms and people in suits with guns.
I finally pitched the cheap plastic desk lamp I’ve had since high school and replaced it with the light I’ve always wanted: the iconic Anglepoise 1227.
If you’re looking for a classic desk lamp that won’t fade into the backdrop next to your sleek iMac, this is the one for you.
Launched in 1934, the design of the 1227 has changed astonishingly little. It still looks functional and modern, which makes perfect sense given Anglepoise started out making hard-wearing lamps for factory workers.
Each month, Cult of Mac's Lust List has a date with the hottest gear in the world. This time around we're talking impressive audio experiences, fantastic bicycling equipment and awesome accessories for iPhone users (which basically means everybody, right?).
Soho Wireless headphones by Harman Kardon
“Hey Jim, what are those?”
“Hey Jim, let me check those out.”
“Hey Jim, are those any good?”
“Hey Jim, I bet those are expensive.”
Never has a pair of headphones brought me such attention. To a person, everyone wanted to know what was up with the wireless Sohos. There is no denying the fact these cans look good. The design is very much in line with Harman Kardon's aesthetic, but in a petite package.
The big question on everyone’s mind is, "Do they sound as good at they look?" And the answer is, "Almost."
The $250 Soho Wireless headphones are comfortable to wear, as long as you aren't overly active. The sound quality is good in the mids and treble, but lacking slightly in bass response. And the Bluetooth is great, when it works. But using numerous devices is mildly frustrating at best and downright annoying at worst. The touch sensors on the side of the cans is a great added feature, but can’t be relied on to work consistently, as I found myself trying to pause my music with a tap over and over and over again.
Oddly, I still find myself recommending these to friends as a pleasant alternative to traveling with earbuds, but with the caveat being you have to be prepared for the limitations of the Bluetooth connection. — Jim Merithew
Looking for a wallet case for your iPhone that will get everyone talking? Take a look at the new BookBook for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus from Twelve South. I've been asked by waiters, bartenders and casual passersby whether I’m carrying a Bible, a dictionary or a tiny leather notebook.
When I flip it open to show the capacious five-card interior and my connected iPhone 6 Plus, the oohs and ahhs increase exponentially. When I show them how the iPhone separates from the BookBook for easy access and sharing, most people are ready to go buy one.
This is one fantastic iPhone case, and I can’t sing its praises loudly enough. The iPhone 6 Plus version has six pockets, including one with clear plastic for my ID. Snapping my iPhone out of the delicious leather portfolio wallet case is a breeze when I want to take the device on a run without carrying my wallet. You can even snap half of the iPhone off the wallet and prop it up for easy movie watching on an airplane. You can’t go wrong with this for any price, but the affordable $60 makes the BookBook, available in black or brown leather, an iPhone case you’ll take everywhere. — Rob LeFebvre
Giro designed the Synthe to be a high-end aero helmet, but it's really a great everyday, all-day road helmet. Sure they claim the Synthe is some percentage more slippery, while going some mph and at varying yaw angles, but what’s really impressive is how all this aero blabbity blah doesn’t stop the helmet from being comfortable, cool and stylish.
And by cool I don’t mean hip: I mean the airflow through this helmet keeps my head temperature regulated nicely. Also, you can thank the Roc Loc Air retention system for keeping the helmet comfortable and secure against your noggin, while eliminating hot spots.
Although the $250 Synthe's looks may not be for everyone, it is clear that only aesthetics should keep you from sporting this helmet, as the fit and finish are impeccable. — Jim Merithew
I love me some saturated tube crunch more than just about anything in the world, but sometimes it is just not possible. That's when I turn to my iRig PRO and my laptop or iPad for jam time.
You can use IK Multimedia's multitude of apps, including the popular AmpliTube, but I still prefer to dick around in GarageBand on my iPhone 6 Plus, iPad and Macbook Pro. The iRig and your Apple device let you lay down a recording pretty easily, including using the microphone input with phantom power, but I mostly find myself plugging in my guitar and jamming through a bunch of preset amplifiers in GarageBand.
Whatever your software choices, the iRig works exactly as advertised, letting you plug in and jam on. And, for those looking for even more sonic possibilities, the little black box even has MIDI in capabilities. — Jim Merithew
iPhone docks have never really been my thing, but the Spool Dock just begs to be appreciated. Quell & Company dock is “crafted in the U.S.A. from sustainable North American white oak, merino wool felt and a weighty metal base,” and it's quite the looker. From a design perspective, it’s also pretty smart.
The biggest issue I have with docks I’ve tried in the past is cord management. They usually make it difficult to plug the iPhone into the Lightning port, resulting in a bunched-up cable that looks messy.
Not the $65 Spool Dock, which comes in white and black metal. Its base swivels, letting you roll out the cable as much as you desire. It also lets you turn your docked device 360 degrees. Setting it up is super-simple, with removable support bars for the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 5, 5s, 5c, iPad mini and 5th-gen iPod touch. Most normal cases will work just fine too, as long as they’re not bulky like an Otterbox. — Alex Heath
I want extra pockets without having to wear goofy cargo pants. So while perusing one of my favorite guy websites, Everyday Carry, I came across a little bag made by Koyono called the bolstr bag.
It's perfect for tooling around Chicago, allowing me to discreetly store a phone, iPad mini, notebook and point-and-shoot camera. Plus, its slim design and asymmetrical shape look way cooler than knee-level flapped pockets on either leg.
The bolstr small carry bag comes in a variety of colors and left- or right-side orientations (as a lefty, I appreciate this design consideration). — David Pierini
With the PowerControl 8, SRM will finally add GPS to its line of outstanding cyclocomputer head units.
This is truly a computer designed by bike nerds for bike nerds. It lets you use from one to four screens, with two to eight fields per screen. You can configure your data in so many ways it will make your head spin as fast as your wheels. The new $850 model, available for preorder now and shipping before summer, also comes with Wi-Fi and is compatible with ANT+ and Bluetooth. — Jim Merithew
If you think the UE Boom is fantastic, you’ll double over with delight at the newer, bigger version of the best portable Bluetooth speaker we’ve ever used. This thing is seriously loud with deep bass, sparkling highs and clear mids that will faithfully reproduce pretty much any music you throw at it.
It’s also seriously rugged, with a strong, rubberized top and bottom and a tough outer mesh cloth shell. Just toss it in a bag and go. Hell, this bad boy is waterproof to the point of still working after a full-on shower or dip in the pool.
The UE Megaboom's battery life is amazing, too, taking just a couple hours for a full charge that seems to last all day long (rated at 20 hours of play). Download the iOS app and you can remotely EQ your sound, set up a booming alarm and turn the speaker on and off. You can even connect two Megabooms for a massive stereo blast in any room. At $300, this thing is worth every penny. — Rob LeFebvre
Freakishly tall bicyclists no longer need resort to modifying a smaller bike or paying the tab for a custom frame. They can just take flight on an off-the-shelf Flite 747 from KHS Bicycles.
The company partnered with the Tower of Power, Leonard Zinn, to create this huge road bike. Zinn, who has been building bicycles for big fellas for somewhere around 30 years, helped design the Flite 747. It comes in 64 cm and 67 cm frames made of Reynolds 520 chromoly, and delivers standard road bike geometry at those massive sizes. (It's so huge i couldn't even get my leg over it.)
All Zinn's trials and tribulations came to bear on this bicycle, which sports impressive 200 mm crankarms. It's allegedly plenty stiff going up and a blast coming down. Priced at $1,899 list, this is the second year the model has been offered (last year they sold like hotcakes). Big fun for big guys like Zinn. — Jim Merithew
There we were, walking down the street, when suddenly I decided to snap a quick selfie of the six of us. We all hunched together, trying to jam ourselves into the frame of the iPhone that I was holding out as far as possible with my arms to make sure we all got in the picture. It was that moment when I realized that I wanted one of the more ridiculous gadgets out there, a selfie stick.
With the MiniSuit Selfie Stick's telescoping pole and Bluetooth shutter button on the handle, I could have taken a much more well-composed shot of all the people in my party, with much less effort and grunting. The included adjustable mount holds smartphones small and large, and the selfie stick has a standard tripod mount so you can even use it with a regular point-and-shoot camera.
My iPhone 6 Plus nestles nicely in the holder and lets me take photos of myself and many other folks from farther away than my own arm can handle. And, at $20, it’s hard to not grab one for a friend, too. — Rob LeFebvre
VX Adventure Race mountain bike pedals by VP Components
Taking a play from their strong platform mountain bike pedal lineup, the team at VP Components has released the Shimano SPD-compatible VX Adventure Race pedals. The clipless pedal adds a giant platform for additional stability. At a reasonable 460 grams and spinning on a roller and double-sealed cartridge bearings, these trail-worthy pedals are rider serviceable and run about $130. — Jim Merithew
If you want to know if your smoke or CO alarm is going off while you’re away from home, the Leeo Smart Alert Nightlight could be your best option. It’s an attractive little $99 night-light that lets you customize its color, but its real trick is letting you monitor your home’s safety alarms remotely.
You use an iPhone app to connect the Leeo to your home Wi-Fi network for set up and monitoring, and if your alarms go off while you’re out and about, the Leeo will notify you right on your iPhone. If you don’t respond, it will even notify other folks that you specify in the settings. If that isn’t enough, the Leeo will monitor your home temperature and humidity and notify you if they change much. — Rob LeFebvre