Dr. Mac’s Rants & Raves
Here are more of my favorite gadgets for 2014, a gaggle of groovy gifts guaranteed to gratify the geeks you know and love.
First up: Give ‘em something — anything — from Scottevest, a company that specializes in high-tech apparel for geeks. Thoughtfully fabricated with a plethora of special pockets designed specifically for the gadgets we love (up to and including a full-size iPad)! In fact, the SeV Lab Coat ($125) I just got includes 16 pockets with room for not one but two full-sized iPads..
My SeV Lab Coat has room for two full-sized iPads and more in its 16 roomy pockets
Most Scottevest apparel features a patented Personal Area Network to connect headphones and power cords invisibly, and many items include unique features like clear plastic pockets that let you use your device without removing it. And most garments are not only stylish, but don’t look at all geeky from the outside. Check out the wide variety of jackets, vests, pants, shorts, and caps (I use my 2-pocket baseball cap regularly), any of which would make an awesome gift for the tech enthusiasts in your life.
Bottom line: I like my lab coat and cap so much that I’ll be ordering a 42-pocket QUEST Vest ($150) before my next vacation.
Scottevest’s 42-pocket QUEST Vest has a place for everything
Everyone should have a portable speaker and this year I’m enamored with Sol Republic’s Deck Ultra ($133.52 - Amazon) and Punk ($69.99 - Amazon) wireless speakers. Both are louder and better sounding than you’d expect given their size, and both sound at least as good as other speakers in their price range. Punk is a tiny powerhouse that’s water, dust, and shock resistant; Deck Ultra is bigger and louder with 22-hours of battery life and an extended wireless range of up to 450 feet. A less expensive option I’m fond of is Kinivo’s ZX100 mini speaker (see Episode 99), which isn’t wireless but sounds darn good considering it’s in sale for under $20.
The Sol Republic Deck Ultra provides as much as 22 hours of room-filling sound without recharging
The Sol Republic Punk may be small, but it’s water, dust, and shock-resistant, and sounds better than many bigger speakers
Next: Headphones, Headsets, iPhone Camera Remote
Page 2 - Headphones, Headsets, iPhone Camera Remote
Moving right along, since everyone needs decent headphones, here are five choices that have been popular here at Rancho LeVitus this year:
My 22 year-old son and his friends thought Wicked Audio’s Raven collapsible folding headphones ($24.99 - Amazon) and Warden lightweight headphones ($19.99 - Amazon) were wickedly cool. Both are available in several colors, are inexpensive yet sturdily built, sound better than you expect at the price, and come with a lifetime warranty.
The Raven headphones are collapsible for your convenience
The Warden headphones are nearly indestructible
Klipsch & Phiaton
As for me, my Klipsch S4i wired headset ($44.99 - Amazon) is still my favorite wired headset of all time. That being said, I’ve been using a wireless BT 220 NC noise-cancelling headset from Phiaton ($159 - Amazon) that’s almost as good. It’s more expensive but it’s wireless, sounds better than most wireless headsets, and lasts days without recharging. I should mention that it also has active noise cancelling. Though I rarely enable it, I expect it to be handy on my next airplane or train trip.
The Phiaton 220 NC is one of the best sounding and most reasonably priced wireless stereo headsets I’ve tried
Also, while nobody actually uses the demo unit I received, the 808 Soundcap, a warm beanie cap with built-in headphones, is kind of cool at a nice price (under $20). It’s a stylish alternative to wearing headphones outside with the added benefit of keeping your head and ears warm.
The Soundcap is a beanie with built-in headphones (inset)
And my last gadget (at least for this column) is the HISY Halo ($23.91 - Amazon), a Bluetooth remote for your iPhone camera. Set your iPhone down and move away — up to 90 feet — before you remotely click the shutter. The best part is it works in the Camera app’s time-lapse, slo-mo, regular video, square, and photo modes. Last but not least, you’ll take better selfies when you trigger the shutter with one hand and hold the iPhone with the other.
Press the button to trigger your iPhone camera remotely
And that’s all he wrote…
High-tech wearing apparel. Scottevest. $20.00 and up.
Deck Ultra and Punk Bluetooth Speakers. Sol Republic. $149.99/$69.99.
The Raven and The Warden. Wicked Audio. $28.95/$23.95.
S4i wired headset. Klipsch. $99.99.
BT 220 NC wireless headset. Phiaton. $179.
808 Soundcap Beanie with built-in headphones. 808 Audio. $19.99.
HISY Halo. HISY. $24.99.