This new gear is so cutting-edge that it requires adult supervision.
By Crispin Boyer
Molla Space • $20
Three-dimensional guns, grenades, and knives explode from the matte-black covers of these artsy-fartsy notebooks. The big idea behind their embossed design is that words and ideas are more dangerous than projectile weapons and explosives, but whatever—we just think they’re the sharpest-looking notebooks since the Sergeant Slaughter Trapper Keeper. Layout style varies by cover weapon. Pages in the grenade notebook, for instance, have a light grid pattern that helps with technical drawing. Line width varies in the knife notebook so you can unleash your creativity without any rigid constraints … or something. It’s all very high-concept, but at least you’re not likely to get punched while journaling.
Motorola • $800 ($600 with two-year Verizon contract)
If the iPad 2 is the sleek X-Wing fighter of tablets, Xoom is the Death Star. This flagship Google Android device demolishes Apple’s latest tablet in nearly every specification, from screen resolution to camera quality. While both devices pack zippy dual-core CPUs, the Xoom boasts more memory and is particularly adept at web browsing (especially Flash-based sites). It does cost a little more than frill-free versions of the iPad 2, though. Factor in the Xoom’s built-in HDMI port and card-reader expand ability, however, and the price battle is a wash—as are comparisons between battery life. One win for the cult of Apple: Twice as many apps are available for the iPad 2.
Element portable gas grill
Fuego • $150
No red-blooded Neanderthal should leave his cave without this go-anywhere grill, perfect for charring meat at pic nics, campsites—heck, even on the bus. It weighs less than 15 pounds, and folds flat and slings over your shoulder like a messenger bag until you stumble upon some random rib eyes or roadkill in need of flame broiling. Transformation to propane grill is fast and simple: Just undo the rubber strap that secures the lid and flip down the aluminum handles for legs. With an easy-starting 8,000 B.T.U. burner and a spacious cooking area, the Element also makes a smart full-time grilling solution for carnivores in cramped apartments.
Midnight Shot NV-1 night-vision camera
ThinkGeek.com • $130
Night-vision modes in consumer digital cameras have been deemed a no-no ever since some enterprising photographers discovered they could shoot through thin clothing. The 5.0-megapixel Midnight Shot NV-1 embraces that technology. By night, its infrared LED bathes the darkness in invisible light detectable only by the camera’s lens, which snaps monochrome pics and movies familiar to anyone who’s ever watched a ghost-hunting TV show. By day, the infrared flash penetrates some types of thin fabric, meaning you may capture a little more than you bargained for. A standard day-vision mode takes normal pics.
Stealth arcade table
Arcade Tables • $3,300
Three-plus grand might seem like a lot of quarters to drop on a tabletop gaming machine loaded with 60 games you played to death decades ago, but the Stealth arcade table does double duty as art as well as entertainment. Its geometric German design recasts the eighties sit-down coin-op as a Tron-inspired polygon that’s available in glossy black or white. All components in the seamless chassis, from the high-definition LCD screen to the authentic arcade joystick, are up to abuse-resistant game-room standards. The Stealth comes preinstalled with all the classics that matter, including the entire Donkey Kong and Pac-Man family trees. Challenge your buddies to Congo Bongo and recoup some of those quarters.
Creditor money-clip knife
Carbon Fiber Gear • $200
We can think of a few places—bank counters, airport security lines, strip clubs—where a money clip with a fold-out knife might lead to unfortunate misunderstandings and jail time. Outside those situations, this precision-engineered tool makes a cuttingedge addition to your back pocket. It’s about the size of a credit card (and only three times thicker) when retracted, and the clip unfolds to become a six-inch knife with a carbon-fiber blade, wrought with a titanium handle; the entire package weighs less than two ounces. Removing the clip makes the Creditor svelte enough to sheathe in your wallet. Just don’t forget it’s there before your next flight.
Emissary messenger bag
Zulu Nylon Gear • $249
Designated as a MOLLE messenger bag (military jargon for modular lightweight load-carrying equipment), the lethal-looking Emissary is funky and functional enough for urban bike commuters but sturdily stitched to pass Special Forces muster. The multipocketed main compartment can accommodate a 15-inch notebook or tablet with plenty of room for accessories, documents, books, and small arms. The bag’s exterior bristles with zippered compartments for gadgets you need to keep quick on the draw. If you somehow manage to fill the bag’s crannies, just clip extraneous gear or grenades on the loops that crisscross the bottom. The Emissary is available in black, brown, green, and camouflage.