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Summer Gear Guide 2018 – The 21 Best Tech Gadgets

Summer Gear Guide 2018 – The 21 Best Tech Gadgets

There’s plenty of time left for the summer and travel. Discounts for tech gadgets are coming up more often too. Grab a few or all of these and know that you should never run out of power and look great carrying these devices, in a professional black ballistic WaterField Designs Pro Executive Backpack.

Keep a spare unlocked phone on you just in case of emergency or if you travel abroad and find a cheap local SIM. Buying a second iPhone can be expensive, so I found an Android smartphone with a good battery and a nice dual-camera.

1.  NUU Mobile’s G3 Unlocked 4G LTE Dual-SIM Smartphone $199.99 – Buying a second iPhone can be very expensive. An iPhone X or iPhone 8 Plus is probably your daily driver. But what about a backup? You should have one while traveling abroad or if you want to see what the other side is enjoying.

The G3 has two unlocked SIM slots with one of them that supports a microSD card. It has a modern 18:9 5.7” HD+ screen with a resolution of 1440 x 720. The dual-cams on the back are 13MP + 5MP, with a whopping 13MP front facing selfie camera and a flash.

An octa-core 2.39Ghz MediaTek CPU drives 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage space. A rear mounted fingerprint scanner helps to keep this backup phone secure. Since receiving it a few weeks ago to try out, it has received two firmware and Google security updates. It runs a nearly stock Android 7.1.1. I have watched several hours long streaming videos on the screen and the brightness and colors pop, compared to an entry level late model Motorola Android E series smartphone.

2. WaterField Designs Ballistic Pro Executive Backpack $349 – WaterField Designs makes finely crafted bags in the US. Their new Pro Backpack is definitely no exception. They continue the style you choose if you opt in for a matching Executive Folio for an additional $49. If you buy it separately, it costs $89.

WaterField Designs is one of a few US-based companies that make finely crafted bags that engage its customers to learn what works best and incorporate those findings in their future products. I have been involved with a few of their improvement campaigns and they actually do listen.

This is why their bags and other products are so well loved and enjoyed on a daily basis. I have reviewed a few of their nice bags and each of them are holding up well even after heavy use. Their Pro Backpack that I am showcasing today is so popular right now, it is on a slight backorder.

My favorite features of the Pro Executive Backpack are that it looks professional for daily use around town, but looks executive enough for the boardroom. If you are a working towards an upper management position, you need to dress and look the part. Having one of these will help with that impression.

3. HyperDrive $99.99 – The slim 8-in-1 USB-C Hub is the perfect sized device to take with any modern MacBook, MacBook Pro or PC with a USB-C port. It turns one USB-C port, the MacBook only comes with one, and it adds 8 ports. It includes a 4K/30Hz HDMI & Mini DisplayPort, Dual USB-A 3.0 5Gbps ports, Gigabit Ethernet, USB-C 100W Power Delivery for power pass through, and SD + microSD UHS-1 104MB/s speed.

I like that Hyper has opted for 100W of PD through its power port. This one design feature secures its usefulness for the newest MacBook Pro 2018.

4. myCharge Unplugged 10K $69.99 – A multitude of devices now use Qi wireless charging from smartwatches to smartphones. Most of the newest smartphones, including the iPhone X, iPhone 8, Samsung’s Galaxy S9, and Galaxy Note 8 with fast wireless charging.

This battery can charge Qi devices at a maximum of 10W. The 10,000 mAh external power pack has two built-in USB-A ports that deliver 2.4A to simultaneously charge other gadgets at the same time.

myCharge batteries come pre-charged to get your topping off your smartphone right away. I have found them in stores at airports around the country and online either direct or from various third party resellers.

5. Tile Sport Pro Series $35 – Tile has upgraded their highly successful Tile location gadget with 2x the range (200 ft), 2x louder, and with waterproofing.

Using a Tile to successfully locate your gear is simple. First, download the free Tile App. Then, pair the Tile Sport Pro series to your iPhone or Android smartphone via Bluetooth. Register your info in the app and voila, you are done. It works both ways. Tap the locate button in the app to find the Tile or tap the button on itself to find your phone, even if it is set to a quiet mode.

The entire premise of this single device is that there are millions of users worldwide to help you find your lost gear. Think of Tile as a “Find my iPhone” gadget for everything else.

6. Orbi Pro $499.99 – The original Orbi system that I installed and tested in a residential setting with a single satellite, one of the first wireless mesh systems available, is still the fastest wireless connections I have used.

Now, NETGEAR has released their Orbi Pro for businesses with a satellite mesh connection point. The Orbi Pro is seriously next level in that it can provide wireless signal to 5,000 sq ft. Add another satellite for an additional 2,500 sq ft. While mesh networking products like this are not a replacement for a high speed wired Ethernet network, it certainly will add strong wireless signal for your large home or office.

This system works best when placing the router module in the center and the satellite unit(s) in a hub and spoke fashion, as each satellite units needs to have comms with the router directly. It is worth noting that this kit is not compatible with standard Orbi gear.

7. Orbi Outdoor Satellite $329.99 – NETGEAR understands the while wireless mesh networks are great for inside the home, the backyard has classically been left out. Maybe you have an awesome backyard setup and the temps are perfect now to enjoy it again.

Orbi’s Outdoor Satellite mesh Wi-Fi networking module will expand your wireless network up to another 2,500 sq ft. It looks good too, so you will not have to worry about adding an unsightly element to an otherwise tranquil space.

8. EZVIZ 360 Pano Wi-Fi Camera $179.99 – EZVIZ makes affordable and advanced smart home security cameras. Their newest, the Mini Pano 360 get a full view of a room. No panning or tilting is necessary. EZVIZ provides a cloud connection and free app to see inside of the room with this camera. It comes with a 25ft night vision mode, two-way audio, and more than a 1080p HD video recording.

9. Aukey USB 3.0 USB-C to USB-C Cable 3 Pack $17.99 – Aukey’s battery, charging units and cables are made with well made materials. This three pack of braided cables have metal covers at the end to last longer than the plastic cables out there.

More devices are using USB-C cables, so grab a three pack to be better prepared. Check for model CB-CMD8 to get the right pack.

10. Linksys Velop Dual Pack with Triple Wi-Fi $349.99 – Linksys’ Velop kits are a mesh networking kit for the home and they make varying levels of them for different needs in a multitude of price points.

While the Orbi Pro is for the small business, the Velop is great for destroying Wi-Fi dead zones in the home. They sell kits with three units and extra units if you need even more coverage.

Everything is setup in less than 10 minutes with their free app. The app helps with placing each satellite unit. Firmware updates are done automatically. Administrating this router is also done through the free app, so you can check on network health and what is connected.

11. Aukey MFI Lighting Cable 2 Pack $16.99 – This two pack of braided lightning cables at 6.6ft will keep your devices charged and ready. I like braided cables as they do last longer than Apple’s standard cables they sell or include in each iPhone or iPad box.

Like their USB-C to USB-C cables mentioned in this gear guide, they have metal covers at the end to extend the life of the internal connectors. Look for model CB-D43 when ordering.

12. Aukey Amp USB-C Wall Charger with Power Delivery 3.0 $34.99 – The newest and most important wall chargers come with a USB Power Delivery mode. This model, the PA-Y10, comes with PD version 3.0.

Charging the latest devices, like the MacBook, MacBook Pro, iPhone X, iPad Pro, backup batteries and lots more need a higher wattage to get a complete charge. This is where Aukey’s USB-C PD wall charger is perfect.

13. Aukey PD USB-C Wall Charger with Quick Charge 3.0 $29.99 – Aukey also makes a wall charger with Power Delivery over USB-C and Quick Charge 3.0 on the USB-A port. Smartphones, like the Samsung Galaxy Note 8, Galaxy S9+, Galaxy S8+, Motorola Moto Z Play, backup batteries and more, come with QC 3.0.

The QC charging technology can power up most devices with Qualcomm CPUs in less than two hours. Get up to 75% charge in about 15 minutes with QC 3.0. Find model PA-Y11 to get the Aukey PD wall charger with QC 3.0.

14. Aukey 10000 mAh USB-C Power Bank with PD 2.0 and QC 3.0 $32.99 – The latest power banks are packed with charging technology. Aukey knows that the consumer needs these top charging technologies like power delivery and quick charge 3.0.

While many backup batteries come with QC tech, it might be version 2.0. Or the batteries might look boxy and have inferiorly sourced power cells. This battery, model PB-Y13, comes with two USB-A ports and one USB-C power port with Power Delivery 2.0.

15. Dodocool 20100 mAh USB-C Power Bank with 45W PD – This brand is up and coming in the higher end battery market. Laptop, tablets and smartphones that use USB-C with Power Delivery need a backup battery that can provide a much higher wattage than those simple 5k or 10k mAh batteries from last year.

This one supplies 45W of power from its USB-C port. It has two USB-A ports that can supply a total of 12W of power, perfect to power up a medium sized tablet. With a capacity of 20100 mAh, it should be plenty to keep a MacBook going for a full day.

Model DP13, also charges itself with the USB-C port. Get a USB-C wall charger that supports Power Delivery with a high wattage for this battery. It will become helpful with future devices with USB-C too.

16. Aukey 30000 mAh USB-C Power Bank with Power Delivery $76.99 – Go big or go home. Aukey’s PB-Y7 26.5k mAh battery is great to top up your MacBook and fully charge your iPhone X in the same day.

Imagine going the entire day without any type of charging anxiety at all. Forget about worrying where the next wall port is at the office, coffee shop or even on an airplane.

It is a dense battery that is relatively small in size that comes with two USB-A ports, a flash light, and two USB-C ports (in and out). The only charging technology that could make this battery better, which I am sure Aukey is working on, is a Quick Charge 3.0 port.

17. myCharge Razor Platinum $99.99 – myCharge is a brand that is synonymous with good looking and professionally made backup batteries. I have covered them extensively and they keep coming up with power bank that we need as the devices we carry become even more power hungry. Their 13,400 mAh battery clad in an anodized aluminum metal case, now charges with USB-C Power Delivery at 36W.

With this level of PD, it can top up a MacBook in about 100 minutes. Charge other compliant USB-C devices and gadgets with its USB-A port. myCharge’s smart-sense power technology ensures device compatibility. I trust myCharge batteries to power my Apple devices often and they always do what I expect them to.

18. D-Link Covr Mesh Wi-Fi Router Kit $299.99 – D-Link’s Mesh Wi-Fi networking kit comes with two devices. The first is the main router, that looks like a normal single routing device with four large antennas, AC2600 and a satellite mesh networking point.

It covers up to 6,000 sq feet of space. This number will be lower depending on various aspects of where it is installed, such as wall thickness, and surrounding wireless signals. 6,000 sq ft is a huge amount of space and this mesh kit will provide enough wireless power to stream 4K video in all areas of a home and then some.

You will get one network name to connect to, As you move around the home, the Covr system will automatically switch your device between the router and satellite. I like that the main router with this kit is large with big antennas, unlike other mesh networking kits that have small units with internal antennas.

If you have Wi-Fi dead spots now, you will not after installing D-Link’s Covr.

19. August Smart Lock Pro with Connect $279 – August is nearly synonymous with smart door locks for the home. They are showcased on TV shows and commercials, like the latest one with Duracell. I first tried out an August Smart Lock a few years ago.

The new Pro model comes with the Bluetooth to Wi-Fi box called Connect. Connect allows you to use your free August account and app away from the home. It allows the home owner to unlock the door from anywhere that you can get signal.

Imagine the convenience of unlocking a dead bolted door at your home for family and friends that do not have your key, while you are at work or out of town. Reduce the chance of loosing keys, keys getting copied without your knowledge or having a key code that a friend may text to someone that should not have it.

One of my favorite uses for the August Smart Lock Pro is when you have a trusted neighbor that is willing to relocate deliveries from outside your door to inside your home. You can unlock the door for a moment, they slide the packages inside, and you lock the door behind them. This scenario works best if you also have a camera in the home. Like the EZVIZ Mini Pano mentioned above.

20. August Doorbell Camera $199 – Doorbell cameras are increasing in popularity by orders of magnitude. The amount of these cameras have tripled on my block in the past year. Renters are now installing them upon moving in too. Unfortunately, porch pirates are now a thing, someone who takes your deliveries.

These cameras are perfect to catch them with clear enough video to supply to the authorities. This model comes with a free app and a cloud recording service that will immediately notify you if it detects motion. It works in the dark with a night vision sensor too. Speak to the person outside of you home, like you are in the other room with a tap of a button on your smartphone.

21. San Disk Extreme 1TB USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 SSD $349.99 – San Disk’s newest SSD is ready for the outdoors and travel. Recording 4K video and taking thousands of photos used to be precarious proposition while traveling.

Do you take a chance that your internal memory card would hold up for the entire trip, but what if you lose the camera? By getting a rugged external USB-C SSD, you can backup all of those priceless memories. Its Gen 2 transfer technology boosts the transfer speed so now you will have enough time left over from backing up 4K videos to do one more drone flight over that special beach.

In Closing

Summer and Fall are the times to get to traveling and preparing for the remainder of the year. These are when some consumer electronics companies offer a fair amount of discounts on their products too.

Travel well and find a device, or five, for your home with the above 21 best tech gadgets in my Summer 2018 Gear Guide.

 

Disclosure: Some of the above manufacturers supplied units at no cost for review or on loan. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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