Twelve megapixel photos. 4K video at 30 frames per second. 1080p at 120 fps. GoPro’s Hero4 Black has your high-res action shooting covered whichever way you slice it. This souped-up action camera is waterproof to 131 feet and boasts greatly improved filming capabilities, preparing your latest shots for the 4K-era even if your TV and computer aren’t yet up to par. It also features a microphone with nearly twice the dynamic range of its predecessors, QuikCapture mode which turns the camera on and starts recording at the push of a button, Auto Low Light mode that handles changes in brightness without having to play with settings, and, on that note, simplified settings menus for easier navigation.
Learn more at GoPro – $500
You’ve invested your hard earned money in a laptop, smartphone, tablet, and other modern technological necessities. After such an outlay of capital, why use the standard poly coated power cables and connectors? PlusUs offers the solution to the quality and aesthetics most cords lack while offering a myriad of plug options. This double layer, tangle free line provides 2.4 Amps for full speed charging via Lighting or Micro USB. And forget wrapping your cord around your device or wadding it into a ball for transport: Lifestar is portable at just 10” and is a perfect size for charging and syncing with your laptop. If 10” isn’t enough, a 3.3’ cord is also available. Just select the silver anodized connection type required and enjoy the stylish Tan PU leather and Gunmetal grey stitch construction.
Find it at PlusUs – $37 for two
Think you’ve got an edge over your iPhone when it comes to setting your photo parameters? Grab the reigns with Manual, a camera app that — as its name suggests — gives you full independent control over shutter speed, ISO, white balance, focus, and exposure compensation. It also boasts a fill flash mode, grid, histogram, live automatic exposure values, and intuitively saves photos directly to your camera roll. Granted, this no-frills app makes you work a little for your photos, but patience and skill pay dividends when setting up interesting shots.
Learn more at Shoot Manual – $2
The advent of the Smartlock has given lockmakers ample opportunity to boost security, but so far they’ve continued to base their designs on the traditional in-door lock that’s susceptible to picking and brute force attacks thanks to its accessibility and relatively weak anchor points. The Haven Smartlock instead bolts to your floor, moving a solid wedge in place using torque servo motors to firmly keep your door closed impenetrably tight. This slim, tapered device sits at just 0.8-inches tall and locks/unlocks remotely using nothing but a smartphone. It also integrates with home automation systems like Apple HomeKit and Nest Developer Program, boasts Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity, a backup battery in case of power failure, manual release to exit in emergencies, and both detects and alerts you to forced entry attempts thanks to an integrated accelerometer.
Learn more at Kickstarter – $269
With one of the strangest form factors around and its brand that’s seemingly falling apart, we’d hardly blame you for overlooking the BlackBerry Passport. But this beast of a phone is a legitimate contender for anybody looking for more than a Candy Crush and Facebook machine. Sure, the device is big, but more than makes up for it with a full QWERTY touch-enabled keyboard for typing and performing various gesture commands (like scrolling or moving the cursor), a 4.5″ 1400 x 1400 touchscreen display, and a downright massive 3450 mAh battery that’s good for up to 30 hours of mixed use, putting most modern, ultra-thin smartphones to shame. It also works with Android apps from the Amazon app store and boasts BlackBerry Hub, a single, easy to access feed that manages all your conversations across email, SMS, BBM, and social media accounts.
Learn more at Blackberry or Amazon – $600
Seek Thermal isn’t the first person thermal camera developed, nor is it the first specifically designed for smartphones. But it’s definitely amongst the few that combine a reasonably small size with a price that’s a fraction of those held by dedicated thermal imagers. This pocketable gizmo grants your smartphone a new set of skills — detecting heat loss, applications involving cooking, security, etc — by plugging to its micro USB or Lightning adaptor, displaying real-time thermal imaging in a resolution of 206 x 156 while letting you snap photos or record video at will. And nobody’s left out, seeing as how it’s available in both Android and iPhone flavors.
Learn more at Thermal – $200
By no means must you spend a grand to bolster your television’s meager sound. But should you choose to, Libratone’s Diva is sure to please both your eyes and ears. With a face that’s entirely concealed by Pepper Black wool and a curved shape that diverges from the angular norm, the Diva boasts — importantly — 225 Watts worth of speakers, including dual 1-inch tweeters, two 3-inch midranges, and a 5-inch 75W subwoofer. It’s also primed to be your primary sound system even when the TV’s off thanks to AirPlay and DLNA compatibility, Bluetooth 4.0 with aptX, quick NFC pairing, and built-in clamshell-shaped reflectors that fill even larger rooms with sound. And if the dark wool face doesn’t suit your pad, just unzip it and swap it out with another one from Libratone’s wide range of color options.
Read the press release at Libratone – $TBA but probably roughly $1,000
The dominant player in the [upcoming] virtual reality headset market is finally facing some stiff competition in Vrvana’s Totem. Armed with full 360° tracking using two on-board cameras, low-latency processing, immersive binaural sound using HRTF, compatibility with every mainstream OS and console barring the Wii, plus full 1080p HD resolution, Totem holds its own against the Oculus Rift, and then some. It’s also compatible with glasses, though it eliminates the need for them thanks to individual lens focusing. Plus, the same front-facing cameras used for tracking let you switch back to the real world seamlessly at the push of a button to grab your keyboard or reach for a drink without removing the set.
Hit up Kickstarter for details – $450
Consolidating the control of your home’s smart devices is what Wink’s all about, and while we have few qualms about simply doing it from our smartphones, their just-released Relay gives you instant access right from a spot on your wall. Relay is equipped with a 4.3-inch multitouch screen and runs a custom version of the Wink app, granting control over lights, locks, cameras, thermostats, smoke detectors, and many other Wink-certified smart products. It also packs a slew of sensors, including motion, humidity, and temperature, as well as two mechanical switches (to quickly activate/deactivate specific smart products) and a mic/speaker combo for intercom action between multiple Relays.
Preorder on Amazon – $300
Apple’s redesigned phones means roughly 10 million people are already looking for new cases in which to protect them. And since we can’t condone covering glass and aluminum with plastic, Grovemade’s wares have you covered. Available in bumper, case, and flap case variants, each piece is carefully crafted using nothing but walnut or maple (and of course leather for the flap) and held together using rock-solid precision joints. They also add just 0.070″ of thickness (case version), are entirely USA-made, and boast lasercut actuated power and volume buttons. And the flap even doubles as a stand.
Hit up Grovemade for more – $49 to $129