Best summer tech: Turn up the heat with these great gadgets [Reviews]

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Summer tech
Summertime and the living is easy if your iPhone has the right gear.
Photo: Pexels

Summertime means everything from hitting the pool to heading out on vacation. And, of course, your tech is coming along for the ride.

We’ve compiled a collection of accessories you might find turn up the heat on summertime fun. There are smart glasses, travel chargers, wireless speakers and headphones, and more.

Audio gear

Summer is the best time to turn off the TV and get outside, but your favorite songs enhance outdoor fun, not distract from it. We bring you a wide array of options for listening on the go.

Urbanears Rålis review
Urbanears Rålis would be a welcome guest at your next pool party.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Every pool party needs music, and the Urbanears Rålis Bluetooth Speaker is just what you’re looking for. Not only does this bluetooth speaker put out plenty of audio, but songs sound great, including loads of bass. It’s portable too. Combine this with a Spotify playlist on your iPhone and you’re ready to DJ the party.

Braven BRV-105 review: This Bluetooth speaker is as active as you are. It’s up for biking, sailing ... you name it.
The Braven BRV-105 is as active as you are. It’s up for biking, sailing… you name it.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Those who want something they can take kayaking or backpacking can look to the Braven BRV-105, a waterproof and rugged speaker just the right size to strap to your gear.

Many people depend on headphones in the office but they’re just as nice when jogging on the beach.

Powerbeat Pro in charging case
Powerbeats Pro are like AirPods for athletes.
Photo: Ian Fuchs/Cult of Mac

Apple’s own Powerbeats Pro were designed to be worn while exercising. Ear hooks hold these earbuds in place while you’re running through a national park, and they offer up to 9 hours on a single charge, more than twice what AirPods 2 deliver. They even have “Hey Siri” support.

2019 AirPods
The new Wireless Charging Case is also available.
Photo: Apple

Those who don’t expect to be exercising quite so hard might be satisfied with AirPods. Apple updated these wireless earbuds this spring, increasing the battery life and adding “Hey Siri” support. These are better suited for providing background music for a stroll through a museum than rappelling, though.

Lucyd Loud review
For some people, Lucyd Loud smart glasses are a better option than AirPods.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

And not everyone should wear headphones of any type. Cyclists enjoy music and podcasts too, but need to be able to hear what’s going on around them. Lucyd Loud are smart glasses that use bone conduction to play audio without needing to be plugged into your ears.

Lucyd Loud smart glasses review

Travel gear

Whether heading to see Gramma or the Taj Mahal, Disneyland or up Mount Everest, you’re going to bring your iPhone and maybe an iPad or MacBook too. Here’s some add-ons that make that easier, and even enhance the trip.

Adonit PhotoGrip Qi
The Adonit PhotoGrip Qi is charging this iPhone XS Max while taking this picture.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

A recent trip to Yellowstone National Park demonstrated over and over that an iPhone is awkward to hold while taking landscape pictures. There are many camera grips that attach to your handset to transform it into a point-and-shoot, but the PhotoGrip Qi takes this to the next level: it’s also a wireless charger so it’s powering up your iPhone while you’re taking pictures of the Statue of Liberty.

Countries outside the US use different electrical standards but you’ll still need to charge your gear. The Fuse Chicken Universal has a slightly silly name but this 6700mAh battery comes with US, EU, UK and Australian adapters, plus it does Qi wireless charging.

myCharge HubMax Universal with iPhone and iPad Pro
iPhone, iPad Pro, and myCharge HubMax Universal: you’re ready to head out on vacation.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Anyone not planning on leaving the US might like the HubMax Universal. It recharges by plugging straight into the wall, and includes Lighting and USB-C cables built in. With it in your bag, you won’t get to the floor of the Grand Canyon and realize you’ve left your charging cable behind.

The mophie Charge Stream Travel Kit uses inductive charging to bring your iPhone back to 100 percent, at home or on the go.
The mophie Charge Stream Travel Kit uses inductive charging to bring your iPhone back to 100 percent, at home or on the go.
Photo: mophie

If you already have an external battery and just want to add wireless charging when you’re on vacation, there’s the Mophie Charge Stream Travel Kit. Set this ultra-portable Qi charger up in your hotel room and you can top off your iPhone without having to keep plugging it in.

backpack review
Rosen the cat is ready to find room for himself in a Moshi Captus backpack.
Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac

When you have the gear you need, you also need a way to carry it. We recommend the Moshi Captus. This roomy backpack can hold your MacBook Pro and a pair of running shoes and still have plenty of capacity. And it even manages to look great while doing so.