What’s Hot and What’s Not

Back when I was Editor-in-chief of The MACazine, Charlie Jackson penned our most popular column—What’s Hot and What’s Not. Every month he wrote about products, services, or features he considered hot or not hot. As I evaluated new products for this year’s “Gifts for Dads & Grads” column (coming soon), I came upon a pair of products that lend themselves to the “Hot or Not” format.

So, with apologies to Charlie, here’s my take on what’s hot and what’s not today:

What’s Hot: Upright Go 2

The Upright Go 2 is a tiny, wearable Bluetooth device that uses biofeedback to help train your brain and body to maintain better posture throughout the day. It’s a small rechargeable device you either stick on your upper back with one of the included silicon adhesive pads or wear on the optional ($19.95) magnetic-clasp necklace, which I prefer.

The Upright Go 2 affixed with adhesive (left) and worn on the optional necklace (right).
The Upright Go 2 affixed with adhesive (left) and worn on the optional necklace (right).

After pairing the device with your iPhone, you use the (free) Upright Go 2 app to interact with your sensor. Start with a quick (10-second) calibration so the device can discern when you’re standing (or sitting) properly or slouching. In the beginning, you’ll want to enable Vibration, so you feel a tickle on your back whenever you slouch for more than a few seconds. How many seconds? That’s up to you; the delay time options are 5, 15, 30, or 60 seconds. I’ve been using it for a few weeks and find that 15 seconds is my sweet spot.

It’s easy to enable or disable Vibration from either the app or the sensor, and the app has an excellent visual “slouching” indicator that shows you when and how much you’re slouching. There’s also a “slouch” countdown timer, which displays the time remaining before Vibration.

The slouch indicator (top) and countdown to vibration timer (lower right)

In the few weeks I’ve been using it, my posture has improved dramatically, and my chronic lower back pain is reduced. When I first started using the Upright Go 2, I slouched as much as 40%, but after a few weeks of training, I’m slouching less than 15% of the time.

That’s hot. What’s hotter is that they’re

What’s Not Hot: Wristcam

Wristcam is an Apple Watch band with two integrated cameras, 8GB of internal storage, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, a rechargeable battery that “supports most daily activity on a single charge.” Weighing less than an ounce (23 grams), it sounded so cool I couldn’t wait to try it.

Sadly, while the specs were promising, the product leaves much to be desired. For one thing, it felt bulky and awkward on my wrist, even at just 23 grams.

Wristcam sounded cool but it was bulky and awkward to use.
Wristcam sounded cool but was bulky and awkward in real life.

The 8MP world-facing and 2MP self-facing cameras sound good on paper, but few of the photos or videos I shot were usable, and most were awful. Not to mention that aiming and stabilizing a camera strapped to your wrist is difficult or impossible.

I can’t think of a use case that would justify paying $299, so don’t waste your money.

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