This week’s Gadget Watch is all about getting outside. Whether you're shopping, taking photos or traveling, we've got you covered (quite literally, in one case).
From drone-based aerial photography to phone-based iPhoneography, from magnetic notebooks to overpriced tote bags, from stealthy tents to absurd iPhone cases, this week we want to get you out in that summer sun: Take a flight on a plane with a built-in iPad holder, and when you get home you can open your front door with an ultralight bike-chain key holder. Just remember the sunscreen.
They used to be called quadcopters, but now anything with a horizontal rotor blade is called a drone. Photojojo’s Phantom 2 is a drone built for photography. It has a GPS autopilot to float safely and combat wind, a three-axis gimballed mount underneath for super-smooth footage, a six-mile range and a 25-minute flight time. The price? $959 with a GoPro mount or $1,299 with a Phantom Vision+ camera included. Buy from Photojojo.
Moschino, the fashion choice for lottery winners and Russian gangsters, will sell you this McDonald’s-a-like french fries case for just $85. Yes, it probably comes from the same Chinese factory as the $5 cases in your local mall, but at least you can repurpose this as a SpongeBob case with a few licks of paint. $85
Notebook too thick? Or too thin? What if you could take that weighty-but-comprehensive paper pad and split it into smaller sections as needed? That’s the Magnote, a set of three paper notebooks that combine – Transformers-style – into one big book using magnets in their spines. What’s more, those notebooks can contain day-planner pages, plain, ruled or gridded paper, and they’re the same size as an iPad mini for perfectly pairing paper and pixels. From $29.
U.K.-based budget airline Monarch has a new plane seat. It doesn’t recline (thank God), and offers more space for passengers. There’s also a bungee-cord pouch instead of those filth-harboring pockets, but the best part is the tablet holder up top, so you can slip in your iPad for in-flight movies on a Retina screen. Monarch
Add a proper shutter button to your iPhone with the snappgrip, a Bluetooth-enabled controller that slots onto an iPhone 5/s and adds not just a shutter release, but a pair of zoom rockers and a mode dial. The USB-charged gadget has it’s own companion app, and lots of third-party apps work with it. $70
Braven makes some of my favorite Bluetooth speakers, and the Mira looks like another winner – 10-hour battery, built-in speakerphone, proper control buttons for play/pause and volume, and splashproof. But the really neat part is the fold-out hook for hanging it up in kitchens, bathroom, gardens and workshops. The hook also doubles as a kickstand for safer spaces. $99
Canvas and leather, brought to a carry-anything tote bag. The Cube Tote gets its name from the magnetic closure that gathers its flaps together and tidies them up top, but the bag opens out to carry your groceries, your BBQ gear or — well, or anything: It’s a big, open-topped bag. The best part? Those wide straps that sit comfy on your shoulders. $340
Lightweight, good, inexpensive. Pick two. Wait, no – pick three. The £150 Stealth from Trekkertent is like a luxury tarp. It weighs just 590 grams (20 ounces). Packs to a 30 x 10 cm roll (a foot long, like a fat sub) but includes a flysheet (that can stand alone) with sit-up room plus an inner mesh tent with "bathtub" base. $252
Yes, a keychain made from a bike chain. An actual bike chain. The TIK takes links from a Yaban SLA, a chain with “hollow, chromium carbide-coated steel pins and cro-moly steel plates,” and grafts your keys onto its pins. The result is a set of keys that weighs less than the keys alone.
You select the correct key blanks when you buy a set, and then head down to your local locksmith and have her dupe your own keys onto them. Or you could just grab a Dremel and make your own today. From $35
If you’re anything like me, you’re constantly shuffling around town (or around the country) with bits. No, not those bits; you know the ones I’m talking about: pens, cables, more pens, headphones, USB sticks, pocket knives and pens. They get shoved into a small pocket in a bag, where they sit, unharmonious and disorganized, until I fumble around for them.
David and Calvin Laituri of design outfit Onehundred have a better way. The father-son team have come up with Ledr, a leather strip that organizes all that stuff and rolls it up into a compact toolkit.
You’ve probably noticed Booq’s odd penchant for naming their strange, sophisticated baggage after snakes. And if you’ve really been paying attention, you’ll have noticed variations on one species crop up over and over again: The Booq Boa.
The Boa’s DNA has mutated into a variety of different forms, all with the purpose of carrying a MacBook and associated equipment. But the newest iteration, the Boa Flow Graphite, may be the most perfect yet — especially for those of us who lug a MacBook and DSLR on adventures.
Griffin’s wired iPad keyboard at first it seems like a ridiculously tardy April Fool’s joke, or a signal that perhaps Nashville has been overcome by some bizarre warping of time; aren’t we supposed to be taking wires away instead of adding them? But under the right conditions, a wired iPad keyboard is actually a smart idea.
This time around we’re offering an iOS 7 Dev Bundle that will teach you to build and monetize your own apps for 79% off the regular price – just $79 – and a portable, lightweight Handheld Luggage Scale that keeps you from second-guessing the weight for your cargo for only $19!
“The best backpack we’ve ever made” — a heady statement from an outfit with a focus on making packs and cases to keep traveling Apple stuff safe. The Icon certainly looks impressive, with its Airflow channels and more specialized pockets than a troop of kangaroos. And at $200, it also might be the most expensive backpack the Southern California-based company has ever made.
Oh man, soon you won’t even be able to break into an old abandoned building without running into a bunch of other folks who are doing the same thing, only instead of being all cool and “urban” and fearless like you, they just got guided there by an app.
Which is my way of complaining about Kamino, an app which lets you share “Urban Hikes” (seriously) using your iPhone, and forces to use Facebook to do it.
Over at the Hotel Club, they’ve posted a fantastic interactive infographic showing the differences between traveling at the dawn of tourism — 1863 — and today, 150 years later.
But this particular section, showing how the gadgets and guides that people relied upon in the Victorian era when traveling overseas have been totally made obsolete by the iPhone, really stood out to me. We’ve previously seen how the iPhone made everything Radio Shack sold 20 years ago obsolete, but as this infographic shows, the iPhone has made centuries — not just decades — worth of gadgets obsolete. It’s one of the most important inventions ever.
Like the (now-defunct) Monster-Beats partnership, V-Moda has been a key player in convincing the casual music afficionado that walking around with goofy-looking cans on your ears was actually a fashion win rather than a faux pas. Naturally, this would have been practically impossible had V-Moda not actually spent what seems like considerable effort crafting a dynamic, sharp look for their headphones.
V-Moda’s newest set, the XS, could probably be considered the successor to their portable, supra-aural M-80s — but with folding cups that V-Moda says dramatically increase portability, and in an effort to improve comfort and aesthetics, design refinements to the headband that attempt to completely eliminate the gap between the band and the user’s head.
InRoute really does look like my new favorite journey planner. It’s a Universal map app with a whole slew of useful extras, including charts for elevation, curviness (!), wind speed, precipitation and more. It looks especially good for folks who understand that a journey and its route aren’t just about the miles.