Spring ahead with seven gadgets that will upgrade your life.
By Crispin Boyer
PlayStation 3-D display
Sony • $500
Don’t let its PlayStation branding fool you. This display—ideal for dorm rooms and later-than-early adopters to 3-D—is compatible with any 3-D Blu-ray player, cable box, PC, and even the Xbox 360 via HDMI. It offers a full 1080p, 3-D movie and gaming experience via its included pair of active-shutter 3-D glasses, along with booming sound through a built-in subwoofer. If you buy a second pair of glasses, two players can take advantage of a unique “SimulView” option that broadcasts a separate full-screen (non-3-D) image to each player in compatible games. A lack of remote limits the display’s functionality as a second TV, although you can buy a separate PS3 remote.
Biscotti TV phone
Biscotti • $199
Laptop cameras are crummy for spending quality time with long-distance ladies, and they’re too complex for far-flung family members to figure out. The Biscotti TV phone addresses these shortcomings with its cinch-to-use remote and high-def-quality picture. Just plug the streamlined camera into your HDTV via its HDMI cable and connect it to your house Wi-Fi. You can make unlimited free video calls to other Biscotti units, or to computers, tab lets, and smartphones that support Google voice and video. Incoming calls interrupt shows—and switch on the TV if it’s not in use. Best of all, the camera and microphone capture your entire room, so you can take and make calls without having to get off the couch.
BodyMedia FIT CORE armband
BodyMedia • $180
If you’re going to sweat the details of getting in Spartan-style shape for the summer, you might as well make every calorie count—and no gizmo is better at counting calories than the FIT CORE armband. Its four sensors capture more than 5,000 data points per minute, recording calories burned, steps taken, levels of physical exertion, and even the fat-burning quality of your sleep. Upload the results to your PC and sync it with your daily menu to dial in the most effective diet and exercise plans. The only drawback: You have to wear this thing day and night. Hey, drastic weight loss calls for drastic measures!
Z340 instant digital camera
Polaroid • $300
A flashback with a flash, Polaroid’s 14-megapixel camera duplicates the photo-spewing functionality of its classic predecessor—right down to the white borders around each picture (which can be turned off for full-bleed printing). Instead of film, the Z340 uses an integrated printer that burns images to smudge-proof sheets of three-by-four-inch Polaroid ZINK paper. Colors are heat-activated on the paper itself; no ink cartridges or ribbons are necessary. Before you print photos—a process that takes about 45 seconds—you can edit them on the 2.7-inch LCD. We just wish the camera made the familiar click-whir sound to complete the nostalgic effect.
Bag of Rhythm boom box
House of Marley • $300
Technically, this boom-boxin-a-bag plays all the music on your iPhone or iPod touch, but it almost seems a crime to crank anything but Bob Marley tunes. It’s fashioned from eco-friendly materials and roomy enough for a weekend’s supply of medicinal you-know-what, embracing the reggae principle of sharing the good times wherever you go. Two four-inch speakers, two one-inch tweeters, and a digital-signal processor produce sound as clear as your conscience (proceeds from each bag support causes approved by the Bob Marley estate). A built-in battery in the FM-radio-equipped docking station keeps your iPhone from crapping out after a long weekend of spreading the love.
WiPNET internet ports
Wi3 • $150
These simple-to-install ports spread internet connectivity throughout your house with out you punching holes in the drywall. Each comes in two pieces: a sleeve that replaces coaxial-cable wall plates, and a cart ridge that slips over it depending on the desired connection. Multi media PCs and media streamers, for instance, use a cartridge that delivers fast ethernet while maintaining TV services. Internet dead zones rely on the Wi-Fibroad casting satellite cartridge. Each port gets maximum band width from your connection, and cartridges can be upgraded as wired and wireless technology improves, future proofing your network.
Levitron Revolution display
Fascinations • $100
When it comes to useful desk accessories, this ranks somewhere between one of those drinking birds and Newton’s cradle—but it totally outperforms both of those dust collectors in pure wow factor. Electromagnets in the unit’s base suspend a small disc in the air, upon which you can place any display object. A model jet, an autographed baseball, rubber doggie doo—if it weighs less than 12 ounces, the Revolution will suspend it above your desk. LED lights in the base help you align the support disk, while the electromagnets continuously make corrections to keep your display object from toppling.