We see CE items like phones, laptops and cameras on a regular basis. However, there are some devices that offer unique functionality but are not so commonplace. Karan Bajaj and Hitesh Raj Bhagat offer quick reviews of six innovative gadgets you can buy today.
Mi Body Composition Scale
When it comes to overall fitness, knowing how much you weigh is only part of the equation. For instance, you could be a healthy weight but still have issues with reduced bone/muscle mass or a higher fat percentage than normal. This scale is smart in more ways than one: it’s great to look at, super-slim, measures multiple body parameters and has Bluetooth to transfer it all over to the Mi Fit app on your phone. The app will keep track of your progress and also advise you about what you need to do to get healthier.
Fancy yourself a convergence fan? The Sonic combines two things you wouldn’t normally expect to find together: fitness band and Bluetooth headset. There’s a single colour OLED on top, notifications, incoming calls and the usual sensors. The core can be removed from the band at the push of a button — this converts it into a Bluetooth headset. In our tests, we found it to be comfortable and a capable fitness tracker — it has about 5-7% difference when compared to a Fitbit. It can also track your blood pressure, though it takes 2 to 3 minutes to do this. Audio is loud and clear and you should expect 3 to 5 days of battery life. The only issue is that it’s not waterproof, so watch out.
PXN 0082 Game Controller
Most of us play games on a touchscreen. But if you grew up in the golden age of arcade gaming, you probably miss those tactile buttons and joysticks. With this PXN controller from GearBest, you can have them back. It has an oldschool 4-way joystick (complete with ‘clicky’ sounds), 8 different action buttons and turbo/macro actions. Connection is via USB and it’s compatible with PC, PS3, PS4 and Xbox One consoles. Best use is probably on a PC with an emulator to play old 8-bit games. To make sure that a little spirited gaming action doesn’t topple it off the table, there are four strong suction pads underneath to hold it in place.
Old-School Game Case for iPhone
Wouldn’t it be great if playing games on your phone had zero impact on its battery life? This game case from AliExpress is powered by a lithium coin battery (two are included) and has a simple LCD and tactile controller buttons (remember the Game Boy?). It may be called the Tetris phone case but it has 99 different old-timey games like Tetris, tank battle and car racing. You can get it in black or white for the iPhone 6s/7/8, 6s Plus/7 Plus/8 Plus and X. It does feel a little bulkier than the typical case but the added functionality is worth it if you’re into retro gaming.
WD My Passport SSD
Life is frustrating for a millennial. USB flash drives have limited capacities while portable hard drives are delicate, larger and heavier. WD has an interesting solution: a 50 gram, palm-sized device available in 256GB, 512GB or 1TB variants. It offers fast transfers with USB Type-C. WD claims speeds of 515MBps and in our tests we were able to get an impressive 432MBps write speed. If you’re clumsy, you’d like to know that it can also handle drops from 6.5ft. However, it is not water/splashproof and skips the LEDs. A USB Type-C to full size USB adapter is included for connecting devices that don’t have Type-C ports.
Laser Egg 2+
You can’t always see the quality of air you breathe — to measure it, you need a Laser Egg. The latest variant, Laser Egg 2+, uses the same laser-based light scattering technology as before but adds sensors for VOC (volatile organic compounds). This means you can identify various harmful substances like ammonia and formaldehyde that evaporate from paints and surface coatings. In all, you get PM2.5, temperature, humidity, weather forecast and VOC monitoring — something that no other portable measurement device offers. Finally, you also get Siri control for iOS devices and it can automatically calibrate itself according to your current location.