While cutting the cord often refers to the move from traditional cable subscription to over-the-top (OTT) video services, there are lots of new ways to remove cumbersome wires. Advancements in various forms of connectivity and battery technology have given birth to new products for a range of purposes that offer greater convenience and freedom than their predecessors. From headphones to cameras to devices to keep tabs on your kids and your home, I have tested new products that leverage the rapid advancements in ‘wire-less’ technology.
When Apple announced that it would not only remove the headphone jack, but that its AirPods would be completely decoupled from each other, going separately into each ear, it validated a new way of thinking about wireless headphones. (The AirPods, announced in September, just started shipping this week.) One company already leading the way in this new category is Rowkin with its Bit Bluetooth headphones. These are surprisingly comfortable and seem to be secure, but in this case the lack of cable causes me angst as I frequently find myself jumping on and off the subway. That said, haven’t lost one yet! These miniature ear buds come in a very cool portable charging case that doubles as a phone charger for those times you require extra juice. The sound quality is generally good, no better or worse than you would expect from decent earbuds, although I did have some issues with the two buds losing connectivity from each other.
Master & Dynamic is taking a different approach to wireless headphones, focusing on sonic quality and craftsmanship. Just picking up their new MW50’s tells you that you are in for an amazing experience. And the performance lives up to the expectation. Their use of supple leather and other top grade materials, offers a sense of luxury from the minute you put them on. As a frequent traveler, I found they are comfortable for long trips and still work with a cord when you are unable to recharge. The integrated controls give you all of the functions you would expect: volume, track, play/pause, etc. If you care more about fidelity than size and are willing to pay a bit more, I highly recommend MW50’s.
As a parent it is sometimes hard to give kids the freedom they’d like. While mobile phones are already commonplace by middle school, they aren’t typically a viable option for younger kids (my daughter is 9). Tinitell’s new product focuses on one goal–provide peace of mind with a simple way for parents and kids to communicate. This cellphone/watch doesn’t even have a screen, so not only is battery life long, but there are no distractions. Parents can track their children through the Tinitell Android & iOS apps, as well as communicate. Kids can call up to 12 pre-programmed phone numbers using simple voice-prompted interface. It’s a great product for parents looking to give young children additional independence, but who want the comfort of knowing where they are and how to reach them.
For photographers and videographers looking for new ways to capture amazing content, the Yuneec Breeze fits the bill. This simplicity of this drone makes it a viable option for novices, while delivering many features once available only on higher end drones. Its landing gear and propellers fold into a compact package, making it easy to transport, and once you connect to your smart phone via its Wi-Fi, you’re on your way. After skimming the instructions and watching a few YouTube videos, I put this quadcopter into the air. Modes like ‘selfie’ and ‘orbit’ give the pilot easy ways to capture photos and video. And with its ‘follow me’ mode the Breeze can record video while it tracks a moving subject. Priced under $500, this drone is perfect for anyone who wants a drone for fun or photography.
I have enjoyed my Canary for a couple of years now, so I was excited to get the new Flex, Canary’s newest indoor/outdoor self-contained home camera and monitoring device. My original Canary unit provided me with of the vital information about the first floor of my suburban house, like temperature, air quality, and motion, but left me wanting additional coverage in other parts of my home. Uniquely, the Flex is able to operate wirelessly with a hefty battery and wi-fi connectivity and can be mounted and operate in outdoor environments to monitor your front door, driveway, etc. (The battery can last months if not triggered repeatedly.) There’s definitely a reason it made Oprah’s ‘Favorite Things’ gift guide this year!
These manufacturers and their products are taking full advantage of the rapid pace of technological development to build products that deliver convenience and value.
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