The Best and Biggest Gadgets of July 202113 min read
Summer is here, and so are the gadgets! Here are the most notable releases from July that you should know about!
Nikon Z FC
The Nikon Z FC is the company’s newest mirrorless camera and the most interesting thing about is that, well, it doesn’t look like a new camera. It fact its design to look similar to one of the company’s most beloved cameras, the FM2, which first came out in the early ’80s. But the Z FC definitely doesn’t shoot like a vintage film camera. It packs a 20.9-megapixel APS-C sensor and a Z-mount, so it fit any of the Z6’s and Z7’s full-frame lenses. It also packs the usual modern upgrades: electronic viewfinder, touchscreen display and USB-C charging.
Price: $960 (body only) — $1,200 (with 28mm lens)
Klipsch Cinema 1200 and 800 Soundbars
Klipsch announced its first two Dolby Atmos soundbars. The Cinema 120o ($1,499) is a 5.1.4 surround sound system (which is able to decode Atmos in full 7.1.4) and the Cinema 800 ($799) is a more traditional soundbar-and-subwoofer combo. Other than the size and power of the soundbar and wireless woofer (and the fact that the Cinema 800 doesn’t with satellite speakers), the two systems are very similar. They both connect to your TV via an eARC-enabled HDMI 2.1 port (which supports the passthrough of up to 8K HDR and Dolby Vision). And they have built-in Bluetooth and support Alexa and Google Assistant.
Price: $799 — $1,499
Lenovo Smart Clock 2
Lenovo’s second-generation Smart Clock sports the same 4-inch display as its predecessor and still comes integrated with Google Assistant. It does have a better speaker (that plays stereo) and, more significantly, a taller design that makes it compatible with a wireless charging pad. The wireless charging pad is sold separately, but you’ll likely want to get it because it has a built-in USB port (so you charge another device) and it has a neat nightlight feature. The Smart Clock 2 will start at $90 and it’s expected to be released this coming September.
Dell UltraSharp Webcam
Dell announced a high-end webcam that can work with either Windows 10 PCs or Macs. The UltraSharp Webcam is a true 4K webcam (a rarity) that connects to your computer via USB-C. You can adjust the resolution and the frame rates of the captured video — it can capture 4K at 30fps or 24 fps, and 1080p video at up to 60fps — and it also has some neat AI tricks to keep you in frame and in focus. The only real downside is that, considering its steep price, it lacks a mic.
LG QNED Mini LED TVs
Early this year LG has announced a new type of TV — called a QNED Mini LED TV — that’s a sort of a middle ground between its OLED TVs and NanoCell LCD TVs. In a nutshell, they use a similar NanoCell and quantum dot technologies as are in LG’s NanoCell LCD TVs, but they also have Mini LED backlighting so they deliver better contrast (even if it’s not quite at the same level as its OLED TVs). This week, LG officially announced the pricing and availability for these QNED Mini LED TVs. A 65-inch model will cost $1,999. A 75-inch model will cost $2,999. And a 86-inch model will cost $3,999. They will be available starting this July.
Price: $1,999 — $3,999
Satechi Stand & Hub for Mac Mini with SSD Enclosure
This is Satechi’s new stand-and-hub combo that’s optimized for the M1 Mac mini. It has a hidden enclosure for M.2 SATA SSD storage (which all recent Macs have), meaning you can more affordably add storage (rather than buying an external SSD). The stand-and-hub combo sits flush underneath your M1 Mac mini, connects via a single USB-C connection, and adds a bunch of much-need ports, including a USB-C data port (5Gbps), three USB-A ports (5Gbps), both micro SD and SD card readers, and a headphone jack. It’s available right now.
Nintendo Switch (OLED Model)
Nintendo announced that will be releasing a new Switch console on October 8. It’s not the Switch Pro that many fans were hoping for, unfortunately, as it’s not going to output 4K when docked to a 4K TV. Instead, the new Switch is going be the first with an OLED display, so its picture should be a little better (specifically, it should produce deeper blacks and have better contrast). It’s expected to have better speakers and a more adjustable kickstand. Other than that, the OLED model will be the same as regular Switch — just $50 more expensive.
Plugable USBC-HUB7BC hub
This is a first-of-its-kind of docking station. It has seven USB-A ports, all of which can charge and transfer data (up to 5Gbps) at the same time. It comes with USB-A (3.0) and USB-C adapter cable, too, so it can work with a newer USB-C laptop or older laptop with a USB-A connection. And its stackable design means you can add two (or three) in case you (or a classroom) need to charge a bunch of devices simultaneously.
DJI Pocket 2 Sunset White
DJI released the Pocket 2 back in late 2020. It was the second-generation version of the company’s popular handheld gimbal that was designed for vlogging. The new model still shot 4K video, but DJI gave it several meaningful upgrades, including a bigger sensor, a better lens (with a wider field-of-view and more zoom) and an improved microphone array. But whereas you could only get the Pocket 2 in black, the company has released a “sunset white” version.
Price: $439 (sold withe combo kit)
The StudioCaddy is neat little charging dock for your various Apple devices. It plugs into the wall for power, and has an integrated charging stand for your iPhone and a wireless charging pad for your AirPods Pro (or AirPods, should they support wireless charging). There are USB-C and USB-A ports on the side of the device to simultaneously charge your MacBook and iPad. And, thanks to its modular design, you can add vertical stands to hold said MacBook and iPad without taking up much desk space.
Pro-Ject Debut Pro
Last August, Pro-Ject released the Debut Evo, which was basically a higher-end version of the Debut Carbon (DC), the company’s most popular turntable, and now the company has made a higher-end version of that Evo turntable. The Debut Pro has an all-new design and comes with premium analog components, including a pre-adjusted Sumiko Rainer cartridge, a hand-painted MDF chassis and an aluminum platter with TPE damping. It’s being pegged as one of the nicest turntables you can buy for under $1,000.
Apple MagSafe Battery Pack
The MagSafe Battery Pack is Apple’s first portable battery that works with MagSafe — it magnetically sticks to the back of your iPhone 12 and gives it extra power throughout the day. It costs $99, which is twice as expensive as third-party alternatives, but it comes with a few distinct advantages. It charges via Lightning, so you can charge it with the same cable as your iPhone. When plugged into the wall, it works like a true MagSafe wireless charger and can charge an iPhone 12 at 15-watts, which is twice as fast as a non-MagSafe wireless charger. And finally, you can easily tell the how much juice it has left (which is a common problem for portable power banks) because, when connected to your iPhone 12, its battery life can be seen from the Lock Screen and from the Batteries widget.
Sony LSPX-S3 Glass Speaker
Sony has been making these little glass speakers that look like candles for the last several years. The neat thing about this third-generation model, the LSPX-S3, is that it’s $100 cheaper than its predecessor (and a lot cheaper than the first-generation model that launched in 2016 and went for $799). The speaker a glass tweeter, mid-range driver and a passive radiator; it also supports Sony’s high-resolution codec (LDAC). Aside from the fact that you can control the brightness of the candle (there are 32 different brightness levels to choose from), it works like any other portable Bluetooth speaker.
The Sony LSPX-S3 will be available in August,
LG Signature OLED R
LG first announced it rollable OLED TV — officially called the “OLED R” — back in early 2019. It blew people away because it was a beautiful OLED TV that rolled up into a console-looking box; it felt like a projector, but with a way better picture. Now, over two-and-a-half years later, LG has announced that people in the US are now finally able to buy it. The only downside is that it costs nearly 50x more than the the LG C1, the company’s popular-but-regular 65-inch OLED TV.
This week, Yamaha announced an interesting pair of wireless noise-canceling headphones. The Yamaha L700A are set to cost around $600, making them more expensive than AirPods Max, but they specifically designed for immersive listening. And while some headphones like the Sony WH-1000XM4 and AirPods Max require a certain codec to play immersive audio, the Yamaha L700A promise to be able to upscale any stereo audio into surround sound, which is pretty cool.
The Yamaha L700A are set to launch in August.
Valve Steam Deck
Valve officially announced its long-rumored handheld console called the Steam Deck. It looks kind of like a Nintendo Switch — it has a similar 7-inch display — only without detachable controller. The console will have a powerful enough processor (quad-core Zen 2 CPU) and graphics card (AMD RDNA 2) to allow you to play your entire Steam library of games. You’ll also be able to buy a dock so that you can play your games on your TV. The Steam Deck will be available in a number of different storage configurations (ranging from 64GB to 512GB), with the base model starting at $400. It will be released this December, but for any chance of getting one then, you’ll need to get your name on a reserve list — now open — which does require you to put down a refundable $5 fee.
Mophie 3-in-1 Wireless Stand for MagSafe Charger
This isn’t Mophie’s first magnetic wireless charger designed for the iPhone 12. But it is the first one that fully supports MagSafe, meaning it can fast charge your iPhone 12 at its full 15-watts, which is twice as fast as non-MagSafe wireless chargers. On top of that, this 3-in-1 charger has dedicated spots to charge your AirPods Pro (or AirPods with a wireless charging case) and your Apple Watch. It’s only available in white.
Sony HT-A9 Speaker System
The Sony HT-A9 is an innovative home theater system that does away with the soundbar completely. Instead, it’s comprised of a control box, which you plug into your TV, and four wireless speakers that you place around the room. The four speakers — which act dedicated right, left, rear-right and rear-left channels — talk to each other wirelessly and are able to deliver an immersive surround sound experience that supports Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, Sony’s 360 Reality Audio. The system will support Chromecast, AirPlay 2 and Spotify Connect for easy music streaming, as well.
The system will be available this September or October.
Sony HT-A7000 Soundbar
The Sony HT-A7000 is the company’s newest high-end Dolby Atmos soundbar. It’s 7-channel soundbar with two HDMI 2.1 with eARC connections, meaning it’ll work with the latest-and-greatest 4K and 8K televisions as well as the latest generation consoles (like the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X). It can stream high-resolution audio, including
Sony’s immersive audio format, 360 Reality Audio; it also supports Apple AirPlay 2, Chromecast, Spotify Connect. The Sony HT-A7000 soundbar costs $1,300 on its own. You add the company’s newest SA-RS3S satellite speakers for an extra $350, or $400 or $700 on own of its two new subwoofers.
One Plus Buds Pro
One Plus announced its newest set of wireless earbuds alongside its upcoming Nord 2 smartphone. The Buds Pro look very similar to AirPods Pro (save for shiny chrome stem) and are packed with high-end features, including active noise-cancellation, support for Dolby Atmos audio, and a wireless charging case. They will be available to order on September 1.
Satchei GaN Chargers
Satechi released its next generation of wall chargers with Gallium Nitride (GaN), a material that is significantly more energy-efficient and space-efficient than traditional silicon. Basically, these GaN chargers are small, light and really powerful. There are three new chargers, each of which have three USB-C ports. There are 66-watt ($55) and 108-watt ($75) models both have three USB-C ports, while the 100-watt ($70) charger has a single USB-C port. All chargers are powerful enough to charge a laptop.
Price: $55 — $75
Anker PowerExpand 9-in-1 USB-C PD Dock
Anker’s newest dock supports 60-watts of passthrough charging via USB-C. It can also add a bunch of new ports to your workstation, including USB-A (3x), USB-C (1x), a 3.5mm headphone jack and a Gigabit Ethernet connection. It also has an HDMI port that supports 4K and a DisplayPort port, so it can be used to connect up to two external monitors (although, it can only be used with one external monitor when connected to a M1 Mac). It’s available for purchase now.
Master & Dynamic MW08 Sport
The MW08 Sport are essentially higher-end versions of the company’s flagship MW08 wireless earbuds with active noise-cancellation. They cost $50 more, but add a Kevlar charging case that supports wireless charging (a first for M&D), and the earbuds have a more scratch-resistance finish made of sapphire glass (rather than ceramic). Other than that, the new models sound, fit and work exactly the same as the MW08.
(Master & Dynamic also announced its first-ever wireless charging pad — here — this week. It’s made of aluminum and canvas and costs $69. )
Turtle Beach Recon Controller
Turtle Beach is best-known for its high-end gaming headsets, but this week it announced something else: the Recon Controller. The company’s first-ever wired gaming controller is meant to be used as an alternative to an Xbox One controller (you can also use with a PC). It’s unique because it gives gamers more controller of their audio and vibration settings. The controller, which costs about the same as Xbox’s wireless controller, adds buttons for gamers to quickly adjust EQ presets, volume and various mic settings of their wired headset. You can also tweak the controller’s haptic feedback and the sensitivity of the thumb sticks. The controller is available now.
Nothing Ear (1)
Nothing announced its first ever — and much hyped — wireless earbuds. The Ear (1) cost just $99 and have premium features like active noise-cancellation and support for wireless charging. The Earbuds (1) have a translucent design that allows you to see the guts (magnets, mics, pins and other circuitry) of each earbud — there’s nothing else like them. You’ll be able to buy them on August 17 (although, some niche stores will have limited quantities before then).
Bang & Olufsen Beoplay EQ
Bang & Olufsen announced its first pair of wireless earbuds with active noise-cancellation: the Beoplay EQ. They look slightly different to the company’s most third-generation wireless earbuds (w/o noise-cancellation), the E8, as they have a more earwing-esque design to help with fit and a more robust changing case (that supports wireless charging). The Beoplay EQ cost $399, which puts them in the ultra high-end price bracket of wireless earbuds, with the likes of the Bowers & Wilkins P17. You’ll be able to buy them on August 19 in two colors: black or gold.
Samsung Odyssey Neo G9
Samsung announced a beast of gaming monitor this week. The Odyssey Neo G9 is a 49-inch curved monitor that packs a Mini LED backlit panel — the same technology used into Samsung’s high-end line of Neo QLED TVs — to help it get really bright (up to 2,000 nits) and still achieve deep blacks with excellent contrast. It also supports 240Hz refresh rates and 1ms response time. The fact that it packs two HDMI 2.1 ports means that you can hook up the Odyssey Neo G9 to either your PC or a next-gen gaming console.
Logitech Circle View
Logitech announced a new smart home camera, the Circle View, that’s designed to work within Apple’s HomeKit ecosystem (in fact, it doesn’t work with any other smart home ecosystem). It’s the next generation version of the Circle 2 and has mostly the same capabilities, such as 1080p video capture, 180-degree FOV, two-way talk, and night vision. The difference is that the Circle View has a completely different design — it’s not modular — and there’s a privacy button on the back that lets you shut off the mic and camera in one fell swoop.
TCL 6-Series 8K OLED (2021)
TCL’s 2021 6-Series is the company’s first line of 8K TVs. It was announced back at CES 2021, but it’s just been made available for purchase. The TVs utilize mini-LED backlighting technology, which helps it almost as good contrast and black levels as popular 4K OLED TVs. Admittedly, it’s still early days when it comes to 8K TV, as you’d really only want one if you have one of the latest-gen consoles (but even then very few games are optimized to run 8K). There are two models to choose from, a 65-inch model for $2,199 and a 75-inch model for $2,999, which are now two of the most affordable new 8K TVs you can buy.
Price: $2,199 — $2,999
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