Magnifying glasses are great for examining ancient texts and burning ants — but if you really want to see what's going on at a small scale, grab this NPW Pocket Microscope ($42). Measuring roughly 6" x 4", this pocket-friendly tool offers sharp 30x magnification, letting you see close-up details of everything from flowers and fibers to smartphone screens and counterfeit bills. We're kidding, of course — we think.
Information surrounds us at every turn in our daily lives — we're consumed with numbers, whether it's the number of emails we have yet to read, miles we've run that week, or minutes (perhaps hours) we'll spend in traffic on the way to work. The Nimbus Personal Dashboard ($130) gives you a visually intriguing way of displaying all that data, so you can consume it at a glance. In order to set it up, you just pair it with an iOS or Android app, choose which data sources feed to which gauge, and let the dials start turning. Uses for it are seemingly endless, as it syncs with a huge array of services, including your FitBit, your email provider, and your favorite social media sites.
With all the cards we carry in our wallets — multiple credit cards, debit cards, bank cards, loyalty cards, membership cards, gift cards — we run the risk of looking a little like George Costanza. But with Coin ($100), we can finally start slimming down our every day carry to something a little more manageable. This connected device (shaped and sized like a credit card) lets you scan all the cards you typically carry in your wallet, and then leave them at home. It works just like a regular card, letting you swipe it the same way you normally would, and lets you easily swap which card you're using at any given moment. Manage your collection of cards with their mobile app, and never lose track of your Coin thanks to low-energy Bluetooth alerts.
If you're in the market for a fitness tracker, but aren't wild about the idea of a cheap-looking piece of plastic adorning your wrist at all times, you're in luck. The first in its limited edition series of metallic colorways, the Nike+ FuelBand SE Rose Gold ($170), is made for those who are both style- and fitness-conscious. The clasp, bezel, and screws are made from 316 series stainless steel, hand polished, and finished in durable PVD coating. It has all the same features as the typical Nike+ FuelBand SE, without all the bright neon. If gold isn't quite your look, just wait, more finishes are set to be released in the coming months.
No matter where you travel — whether it's for business, or for pleasure — there is one constant concern that fills your mind: keeping all your mobile devices charged so you won't be stuck bored in an airport terminal or on a plane. With the Anker Astro3 ($50), you can worry about more important things (like whether you remembered to turn off the oven, or if you packed enough undies to make it through the trip), while keeping your smartphone and tablet full of juice. Capable of charging an iPhone up to six times, it comes with smart USB ports that detect signals coming from your cords — so it knows exactly how to charge your devices at full speed. With multiple smart ports, you can charge several gadgets at once, or even help out your new friend sitting in the aisle seat.
Sponsored by our friends at Anker.
Home automation can be great — it helps you efficiently keep everything in your house chugging along smoothly and on schedule — but at some point all of your connected devices get a bit overwhelming. With the Revolv Home Automation Hub ($300), you can keep everything working as it should, all with the convenience of one app. Instead of opening up a bunch of different apps to control your Nest Thermostat, your Phillips Hue lights, your smart locks, and your Sonos speaker system, this single app will sense your proximity to your house and do it all for you. The hub automatically connects with all your devices (it supports Z Wave, WiFi, and Insteon, with support for additional protocols like ZigBee coming soon), removing all the pain in setup, and is packed with a wealth of sensors designed to make your life easier.
Following a small snafu with the original, Jawbone is back with a completely new wearable physical activity monitor, and it's called the Jawbone UP24 ($150). This wrist-worn tracker is constantly connected to the iOS app on your iPhone or iPod touch, transmitting data over Bluetooth Smart about your sleeping pattern, movement, and food intake. It also has lots of other useful functions, like a smart alarm to wake you up and alerts to remind you to move through the day. The app works with you to provide detailed insights into your health and activity, letting you gradually improve your fitness as you wear it.
Easily digitize all of your favorite stuff — whether it's old family photos, maps from past vacations, scraps of memories, newspaper clips, paper journals, sketchbooks, even coins and other small items — no matter where you find yourself, with the Doxie Flip Scanner ($150). This portable flatbed scanner is made to work anywhere, small enough to fit in a bag or large pocket, it features battery power and flash SD memory, so you can use it without the need for a computer. Use it as a standard scanner, or remove the lid to flip it over and scan nearly any object. A window lets you see through the scanner, letting you perfectly line up your subject every time.
Know who's knocking on your door — no matter what time of day — from any place on the planet with the DoorBot ($200). Whether you're just venturing into the world of complete home automation, or you already have your place efficiently networked to a range of devices, this is a great piece to add to your setup. It easily connects to your smartphone or tablet over WiFi, letting you communicate with anyone at your door (from inside your home, at the office, or away on vacation). It features night vision, an adjustable camera angle, a rechargeable battery, and the ability to connect to your existing doorbell wiring.
Faced with the choice of spending your afternoon mopping the floors, or doing just about anything else, nine times out of ten, you'll choose something else. But with the iRobot Braava Floor Mopping Robot ($300) you'll never have to mop your floors again. The rechargeable battery lets it dry sweep for up to three hours on a single charge, or wet mop for up to two hours. Its intelligent sensors know when to avoid carpets, raised surfaces, and area rugs, while its perfect edge technology lets it get right up against walls and other obstacles.
If you're considering upgrading your Fitbit Flex, then you owe it to yourself to check out the updated Fitbit Force ($130), the company's newest wearable activity tracker. While it still contains most of the features of the earlier model — you wear it on your wrist, it tracks your steps, the distance you've traveled, the calories you've burned, your minutes of activity, and the quality of your sleep — it also adds a couple of key features. It has an improved blue OLED screen letting you read the display more easily, as well as an altimeter, adding floors climbed to the data it tracks. It also features a clock, and a stopwatch, as well as the ability to sync with your phone automatically over Bluetooth.
We've all been there — stabbing violently with a broom stick at the annoying, chirping puck on our ceiling, trying to silence it — but a smoke alarm shouldn't be a nuisance, it should passively keep you safe without worrying about it. The Nest Protect ($130) won't drive you crazy, but it will still keep you safe. It features a glowing status ring (green means everything is okay, yellow gives you a warning about a potential problem, and red means there's an emergency), real voice alerts, and an interactive sensor that responds to the wave of a hand, letting you dismiss alerts if you burn your dinner. Set them up throughout your house and instantly access the status of various rooms from your smartphone or tablet, or use them to automatically light your way at night with the pathlight feature. Best of all, it interacts with other Nest devices, keeping you safer without you thinking about it.