Your smartphone’s brain handily outclasses any DSLR, but its lens? Not a chance. And that’s why the Olympus AIR was developed. AIR interfaces wirelessly with your device using Bluetooth and WiFi to add plenty of missing features crucial to better photography, including an optical zoom, a 16 megapixel Micro Four Thirds Live MOS Sensor, and a TruePic VII Image Processor. It’s also compatible with a wide variety of Micro Four Thirds lenses and works whether the phone is docked to its pop-out clip or not, making it as versatile in capturing difficult angles as it is capable.
Preorder at Amazon – $300 to $500 (with 14-42mm EZ Lens)
Fixing and maintaining your own car (or trying to) first requires understanding its cryptic computerized messages. Lemur’s BlueDriver Bluetooth OBDII Scan Tool packs professional diagnostic capabilities into a tiny dongle that plugs to your car’s OBDII port, simplifying the ordeal and feeding the data straight to your smartphone via Bluetooth. It works on all cars built since 1996, reads and clears check engine light codes on all vehicles as well as enhanced codes on several big brands (with more coming in updates), analyzes diagnostic trouble codes to offer vehicle-specific repair reports, and provides a ton of other data that’s simultaneously fascinating and completely over our heads.
Grab one at Amazon – $100
Frankly, we’ve got way too many pairs of headphones lying around our flats. Keep them — or the ones near your desk, anyway — organized with the ElevationLab Anchor. Made of solid medical-grade silicone, the Anchor mounts easily under a desk or table using a strong 3M adhesive and holds two pairs of headphones out of sight thanks to its double-sided hook. Plus, unlike metal hooks, it’s flexible enough to not hurt your knees should you accidentally bump it hard.
Grab one at ElevationLab
Maybe more evolution than revolution, but the already excellent Bose SoundLink Mini II now offers even more bang for your buck than its predecessor. With the same sleek aluminum design, the II features a built-in mic for use as a speakerphone, an extended 10 hour lithium-ion battery, and a USB charge port that replaces the previous annoying proprietary adapter. It’s also easier to pair than before, interfacing with up to two devices at once to switch back and forth between them at a whim.
Find it at Amazon – $200
Apple Watch’s battery life not quite as long as you’d hoped? Drop the bulky charge pack and try a Reserve Strap instead. This white, grey, or black thermoset elastomer silicone band uses the watch’s accessory port connector to boost its battery, extending usage by roughly 30 additional hours thanks to embedded lithium polymer cells. It’s also water resistant, comes in both 38 and 42mm sizes, and boasts side-mounted LED charge status indicators.
Learn more at Reserve Strap – $250
Unlike anything you’d come to expect for the price, Sacred Sound’s Pro Earphones forgo fancy packaging and marketing, instead investing entirely in build quality and sound — which might explain why you’ve never heard of them before. Shielded within a hardened ceramic housing lies a custom precision tuned 8mm driver that outputs balanced sound across the spectrum to perform well for most music genres. They also come with built-in microphone controls for Android & iOS devices, a flat, durable TPE cable that doesn’t tangle, and three silicone tips for finding a perfect fit.
Learn more at Sacred Sound Audio – $60
Essentially a backup battery on serious steroids, BatteryBox is a compact way to ensure your devices keep on running when accessing an outlet is impractical. This 60Wh battery pack stashes enough juice to extend your MacBook Air’s life by 13 hours, fully charge your iPhone 11 times over, and adds ample longevity to any other USB-powered modern device. It’s also made to last thanks to the BatteryOS energy controller, which ensures 3,000 recharge cycles before significant battery deterioration sets in, meaning BatteryBox will be by your side far longer than conventional options.
Find it at BatteryBox – $220 [via]
We spend unimaginable amounts of time in front of our computers, but strangely our keyboards seem designed to prioritize orderly aesthetic appearance over ergonomics. That’s where the Keyboardio Model 01 differs. Striking in its own right, the Model 01 features a body and palm rest made of machined solid maple, tactile Matias Quiet Click mechanical keyswitches, custom sculpted keycaps, and a QWERTY layout that better fits the shape of human hands. The split design also allows for various conformations to fit your preferences, including flat (shown), tented, tripod mounted, or separated as far as you’d like, each half connected to the other by a standard telephone cable. Plus, underneath every key is an independently programmable RGB LED that can be customized to do whatever your code tells it to.
Find it at Kickstarter – $300
A desktop charging station that keeps on working in places with no outlets (or power), the Ginkgo Solar Tree refuels your smartphone, tablet, or other USB powered device using only light. Ginkgo sports three pivoting solar panel leaves that convert sunlight (or, less efficiently, fluorescent light) into electricity to recharge its internal 4,000 mAh li-ion battery. It’s also equipped with a 4-LED indicator that displays remaining battery life, a small grip on its aluminum base for propping up your phone, and a bamboo stalk that complements its whimsical design.
Find it at BiteMyApple – $120
Your iPhone makes for a decent camera, but an even better viewfinder. The pocket-sized DxO ONE Camera plugs to your iPhone by its Lightning connector and packs a 1-inch 20.2 megapixel sensor, max aperture of f/1.8, and a shutter speed of up to 1/8,000th of a second to capture even the trickiest fast-moving, poorly light subjects. It also swivels for adjusting view or for snapping selfies, runs off its own internal battery to avoid draining your device, stashes images onto a microSD card, and features a 2-stage shutter button. On top of leveraging DxO’s advanced image processing to automatically optimize every photo taken, suppressing noise all while protecting detail and color.
Learn more at DxO – $600