Your MacBook Pro’s Retina display might look too good to give up, but at home and on your desk you almost definitely need a bigger screen. And while plugged in, stash your MacBook in Twelve South’s BookArc Möd. This space saving arc-shaped stand is crafted using three choices of finishes - Birch, Walnut, or Espresso – to suit any desk or decor. Two soft interchangeable silicone inserts help Möd accommodate all current MacBooks and keep them scratch-free in their well-ventilated vertical orientation.
Pick one up at Amazon – $80
The classic light meter is not something we’d want to lug around with us on a daily basis, particularly not if we’re travelling light with a small daypack and camera. Lumu, on the other hand, is a very different animal. Diminutive in size, Lumu makes use of your exiting hardware, i.e. an iOS 5 iPhone or iPod, by plugging into its headphone port. Then, just position the bulb in front of your subject for Lumu to measure the light, outputting the correct photo parameters to use – ISO, aperture, and time – on its accompanying app. It can also save given parameters, location and a photo as a note for reference, measures light in lux or foot-candle, and works great with simple pinhole cameras by displaying a suggested shutter time. And it never needs a battery.
Find it at BiteMyApple – $150
Carrying around a notebook computer usually entails dragging along its adapter, too, often (and ironically) much thicker and overall bulkier than the computer itself. FINsix’s 65W laptop adapter, on the other hand, is a hell of a lot more portable. Thanks to novel Very High Frequency power conversion technology, it’s far smaller and lighter (at roughly 2 ounces) than your current monstrous adapter, occupies only a single socket when in use, and even sports a USB port for charging your mobile devices, eliminating yet another charger from your carry.
Grab yours at Kickstarter - $89+
Jambox it mightn’t be, but Aiia’s Ssssspeaker is still plenty interesting, and at a price point that doesn’t sting quite as much. This hockey puck-sized speaker boasts a silicone cone that collapses when not in use, packing down small enough to fit in a day pack or big pocket. And you won’t mind chucking it in there along with all your other junk, since its protected 31mm driver won’t get crushed or dented. And while there’s no Bluetooth on this bad boy, plug it to your 3.5mm auxiliary port-equipped device for up to 8 hours of music or podcast playback, then charge it back up using the hybrid cable’s USB port.
Read more at Aiia and order by filling in the form – $7.50
Fusing new-age convenience with old school design, Tubecore’s Duo isn’t quite your grandfather’s speaker but could practically pass as one. At least until you spot the USB and HDMI ports on the back, its sophisticated pressure sensitive control knob, and its armament of connectivity and streaming options, including WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, XBMC Media Center for streaming HD movies using its in-built Raspberry Pi. While the Duo is wrapped in a sturdy, sleek hardwood case fitted with a removable magnetic speaker cover, looks aren’t everything, so it’s built around a 48v Class A Tube Preamp with upgradeable vacuum tubes (illuminated by user-controllable RGB LEDs), a 100w solid state amp, dual 4-inch composite cone drivers, and a 3-inch 30w long-throw subwoofer. Hell, it’s even got traditional phono and line level inputs in the back for plugging in the old fashioned way, meaning the Tubecore Duo is poised to please just about everyone.
Learn more at Tubecore – $480
Half the appeal of the SIM card was the ability to quickly swap between devices without the help of your service provider, but that quickly went down the drain with the advent of ultra-thin smartphones and the race to the smallest SIM. And sure, taking scissors to your card works fine to shrink it down to Nano SIM dimensions, but working your way back up to Micro or standard sizes takes something like the Sadapter. With precise dimensions confirming to ETSI standards and a fit that’s purely mechanical (i.e. no adhesives), Sadapter makes your Nano or Micro SIM compatible with literally any device, or lets your old school unlocked phone double as a travel companion. Otherwise, if you’re looking to shrink your SIM’s size and don’t trust your cutting skills, check this out instead.
Capturing shots from otherwise impossible vantage points is now a cinch thanks to DJI’s Phantom 2 Vision+, a highly capable quadcopter outfitted with impressive filming capabilities. Phantom’s feature list starts with an HD 1080p camera that shoots 30 frames per second (or 60 at 720p) with tilt control for setting up stunning flyovers, going as far as filming straight down. A 3-axis stabilizer ensures your footage is smooth through both tight turns and turbulence, also helped by a GPS auto-pilot system that offers position holding, altitude lock, and stable hovering for distraction-free shooting. Controls are managed via a 2-joystick controller with a WiFi range extender (to connect with your ‘copter as far as 700 meters away) plus a mount for your smartphone for in-depth camera control and a live feed of what’s in the Phantom’s crosshairs.
Preorder on Amazon – $1,300
Your iPhone’s gaming capabilities aren’t half bad, particularly when the game in question is adapted to a touch screen. But how about for reliving the classics on a Game Boy emulator? Not so much. That’s where G-Pad steps in. This simple silicone sleeve slides over your iPhone’s simulated D-pad and buttons, adding tactility for a more natural feel and doubling as a thicker, more comfortable grip over holding your naked iPhone’s cold, hard lines. Slip one in a pocket or bag and be ready to kill some time anyplace, anywhere.
Grab one at The Gadget Flow – $8
Price-wise, 3D printers have been slightly out of reach for the average consumer. M3D’s Micro 3D Printer aims to change that with a price point that’s significantly lower than the average smartphone. Micro is simple, affordable, and reliable – the Honda of 3D Printers, if you will – thanks to a straightforward plug-and-play experience with Windows, Mac, and Linux devices alike, and a drop-dead simple design. It’s also lightweight at 2.2 pounds, is compatible with various plastics, including PLA, ABS, and nylon, and takes up less desk space than your current printer. If this isn’t bang for your buck, we don’t know what is.
Find it at Kickstarter – $300
We’d never have know it, but as it turns out one way to take better pictures is to lose focus on pretty much everything. Or almost. Lensbaby’s Sweet Spot Lens for iPhone now lets you shoot dreamlike shots with your smartphone and their app, which uses compositional tools to move the single focused spot, creating a falling off effect as the blur increases at the photo’s edges. Popping the lens on and off is also a cinch thanks to magnets and an included adhesive-backed stainless steel ring that sticks ontp your device. For the rest, we’ll let their stunning pictures do the talking.
Pledge at Kickstarter – $50