Cooking, charging, carrying and, uh, cufflinking. Yes, this week’s Gadget Watch is all about the c-word. We even have a cubic camera, a keyboard with a nipple (which doesn’t start with "C" but it’s close -- and clicky).
OXO Goodgrips Silicone Collapsible Colander
Tiny kitchen? Hatred of unitaskers? Try the OXO Goodgrips Silicone Collapsible Colander, a fold-flat colander that can be used to wash and drain food, and also to cook it – heat-resistant to 600˚F, it can be dropped in boiling water to quickly boil veggies, then dish-washed, collapsed and filed back on your shelf. $30
LIFT standing desk
Who needs a standing desk when you can just drop the LIFT on top of the desk you already own? Sure, it might look a little like a crappy TV stand flipped upside-down, but it is in fact a smart desk with cable routing, a drink holder, a mousemat (!), tablet and phone docking slots, and even a dry-erase whiteboard. Plus the height can be configured to suit you. It’s also a lot cheaper than a standing desk, although not cheaper than my repurposed €40 workbench with sawn-off legs. From $248
Waterfield Vertigo bag
Waterfield is on a roll this summer, and the Vertigo is the latest bag I want to sling over my shoulder. It’s a vertical notebook bag that looks and works a lot like Waterfield’s Franklin Tote. Inside the main zip-open chamber are pockets set into a golden lining, with a magazine pocket on the outside for even more gear. Hand and shoulder straps are made from soft-an-strong seat belt webbing, and you can choose from black ballistic nylon or waxed canvas, in two colors and three sizes (from iPad Air to MacBook Pro). From $129.
Bike chain cufflinks
These bike-chain cufflinks are frikkin awesome. They’re also probably a little too heavy for anything other than the most stiffly starched of double-folding shirt cuffs, but who really cares? They’re also pretty easy to make if you have access to an old chain and a chain splitter – and if you’re even reading this it’s pretty certain that you do. Thankfully they’re not too pricey, although the shipping from Australia might be. $50
Endurapro buckling spring keyboard with nipple
It’s hard to express how much I love my clicky Filco Majestouch keyboard, but I’ll give it a go. “Nyyyyhhhhaaah!” That’s the sound of a man’s “exit push,” as it were. But I’m willing to forego my Cherry MX Blue key switches for a while in order to try out the awesome Endurapro, which uses buckling spring switches (like the old IBM Model M keyboard). Not only that, but it even has a red nipple and mouse buttons, so you don’t need to reach out like 5 feet to the right, over the cursor block and number pad, just to reach your mouse. £99
Vier Compact Collapsible Lock
I’m skeptical of buying a bike lock off Kickstarter, but I appreciate clever new design, and the Vier is certainly clever. It’s like two U-locks combined, with twin locking bars and dual side shafts. This lets it collapse down into a small package, but it also means you have to fasten two separate locks, one on each cylinder. $80
The Biolite KettleCharge was invented when somebody put a TV remote on top of a giant pub ashtray and something clicked in their brain. The result is a kettle that boils water and simultaneously charges your USB device (the 10-watt output will even fast-charge iPads). The kettle has a thermoelectric generator in its base, which uses the difference in temperature between the hot fire/stove beneath and the cold water above to create a current. But all you need to know is that you can make you morning coffee and charge your iPhone at the same time. $150
Polaroid Cube camera
This cute cubic camera is a lifelogger with a Polaroid label. The 1080p, 6MP camera shoots wide (124-degree) stills or video and has a built-in mounting magnet in the base. It can also connect to various mounts (tripod, bike) and even slide into an equally cute waterproof case. When I see a lifelogger camera I just quail at the responsibility of organizing all those hours of footage, but a stronger person might enjoy the fact that they can gather hours of boring video for just $100.
Grovemade walnut keyboard tray
Grovemade’s beautiful tray not only holds your Apple aluminum wireless keyboard, it also converts the useless gap underneath into a handy storage space. Better still, that space is sculpted into compartments, with space for spare AA batteries (three of ‘em), paperclips (a piece of stationery that is now only used for ejecting SIM trays and resetting routers) and – LOL – business cards. Price? $59
I don’t really like using iPad cases; I tend to put one on just before I hand my device over to my kids, and then it comes off again as soon as they’re done. One of the best things about the iPad mini is its form factor, but that’s lost when you slap on a big, bulky case.
COTE by BUKcase Category: Sleeve Works With: iPad mini Price: $133
But although I like my iPad to be naked when I use it, I need some protection when I’m on the go and carrying it around. That’s when I’m most likely to drop it — and when it’s most susceptible to getting scratched up in the bottom of my bag.
Do you remember the classic Simpsons skit from the episode “Homer Bad Man?” When Homer walks past a salesman, they try to catch his attention by yelling, “Hey, sir! Try our wax lips: the candy of 1000 uses.” Homer is skeptical. “Like what?” he asks. “One, a humorous substitute for your own lips,” the salesman responds, before immediately running out of other possible other uses.
Well, Logitech’s new modular case+ promises to be the “wax lips” of the iPhone 5 and 5s — albeit with more actual applications. Using magnets to switch between a variety of interchangeable accessories — including power supply, car mount, kickstand and wallet modules — the case+ hopes to be the most versatile iPhone case yet.
We know the iPhone emits radiation, but how much? The answer: Apparently enough to light up luminous glyphs on the back of an iPhone case. A bunch of inventive Ukranians — the same ones who brought us the iBlazr LED phone flash — figured out this little trick, and created the Lunecase, an iPhone 5/c/s case with symbols on the back that light up when you receive a text or phone call.
Like its predecessor, the new prototype Linkase Pro LTE iPhone case supposedly boosts your iPhone’s ability to connect to the Internet. But where the previous version was claimed to strengthen the iPhone’s wifi radio, this new LTE version is supposed to boost, you guessed it, your iPhone’s LTE data radio. Absolute Technology, the company behind the case, also claims it will add 20 percent to your battery life due to less power wasted while trying to send and receive data.
Thule’s Gauntlet case for the iPhone 5s is a slim, stylish snap-on cover that offers plenty of protection. Just like its big brother, a thin folio that will effectively protect an iPad Air, the Gauntlet employs a molded texture for grip and durability.
Gauntlet by Thule Category: Cases Works With: iPhone 5 & iPhone 5s Price: $27
The iPhone case provides plenty of access to all buttons, ports and cameras. It comes in black, turquoise or pink, and it will protect your device without making it too big and bulky.
One of the Gauntlet’s best features, however, is its slender price tag. Available from MyBanana, it costs less than £16 ($27) — and it’s worth every penny.
The TYLT RUGGD is an iPad Air case that makes protection its priority. Its tough outer shell, triple reinforced corners, and “micro energy absorbing cushions” make it ideal for clumsy commuters who want to make sure their beloved tablet doesn’t get damaged on the train to work.
RUGGD by TYLT Category: Cases Works With: iPad Air Price: $49.99
It’s also practical, with a built-in kickstand for watching movies on the go, and its two-tone design aims to provide a striking look that’s “more awesome that any other [iPad] case on the planet.”
The RUGGD is available in gray and green, and it costs $49.99. Let’s find out if it’s worth it.
Meison Morgan by Meison Morgan Category: Cases Works With: iPhone 5 & iPhone 5s Price: €30/$46
Manufactured in Greece using the same bookbinding process that traditional notebook makers use, this case offers not only good looks, but also all-round protection that promises to withstand the test of time.
It’s available in black and denim (blue), and it’s super affordable at €30 ($46).
If you have a soft spot for beautiful book bound notebooks like the famous Oxford Black n’ Red, then you’re going to love the SLIMS for iPad mini from BUKcase. Made using traditional book binding techniques, it’s almost identical at first glance — but when you open it up you find its pages have been replaced by a handmade wooden frame that lovingly cradles your iPad mini.
SLIMS by BUKcase Category: Cases Works With: iPad mini Price: £30 ($50)
Born in the U.K., and also available for the iPad Air, SLIMS isn’t just a protective case, but also a stand for typing and watching movies. It accommodates all of your iPad’s buttons, ports, and cameras — so you never need to take it out — and it has built-in magnets that automatically wake your device up and put it to sleep.
SLIMS comes in black with a grey, blue, or red interior, and BUKcase will even emboss your name on the front.