It’s October, finally, but a lot of big companies chose the final week of September to announce some big new products. Google, for example, finally announced the Pixel 5. Microsoft revealed a lightweight laptop that’s posed to make some people rethink their recent Chromebook purchase. And Teenage Engineering introduced us to what is probably the coolest boombox-looking speaker you’ve ever seen. But there’s a lot more than that. Here’s all the cool new gadgets you missed this week.
Ultimate Ears UE Fits
Ultimate Ears just announced a new pair of wireless earbuds, the UE Fits, that come with gel-filled eartips that, using proprietary Lightform technology, are able to perfectly mold to each of your ears and then are set with UV light. Ultimate Ears they are the first-ever true wireless earbuds with instant custom fit.
The Pixel 5 is Google’s new flagship. It has an improved processor and a new dual-camera rear system that includes one standard and one ultra-wide lens — no telephoto lens. Google also gave the front camera system Night Sight, its spectacular nighttime-shooting mode, in addition to a number of interesting software features. The Pixel 5 also supports 5G. It’s available for preorder now, with shipping starting on October 15.
Pixel 4a 5G
The Pixel 4a 5G is a new affordable smartphone that actually shares more common with the new Pixel 5 than the Pixel 4a. It shares the same processor and camera systems, supports 5G, and has almost the same display. The big differences are that the Pixel 5 is a more rugged smartphone, has a higher 90Hz refresh rate, supports wireless charging and doesn’t have a 3.5mm headphone jack. At $499, the Pixel 4a 5G is one of the cheapest 5G smartphones.
The Roku Streambar is essentially a smaller version of the Roku Smart Soundbar, which was released last year and costs $180. It has a built 4K HDR streaming player that supports Dolby Audio, which is equivalent to the Roku’s $50 Streaming Stick+. This means that in addition to improving your TV’s sound, it also has the power to turn your “dumb” TV into a “smart” TV that’s able to stream apps like Netflix, HBO Max and Peacock (the latter of which Roku just rolled out this week).
The Roku Streambar is available for preorder right now and it’s expected to hit shelves starting in mid-October.
Microsoft Surface Laptop Go
The big announcement from Microsoft this week was its all-new Surface Laptop Go. It’s basically a smaller, lighter and more affordable version of the Surface Laptop. In fact, it weighs just 2.45 pounds, which is actually lighter than the new MacBook Air. Starting at $549, it’s basically the perfect option for people looking for lightweight and affordable Windows laptop. Thinking of getting a Chromebook? Maybe get this instead. It’s available for preorder now, with shipping starting October 13.
Microsoft Surface Pro X
Microsoft announced an updated version of the Surface Pro X, its main premium tablet that rivals Apple’s iPad Pro. The new Surface Pro X has a updated and more powerful SQ2 processor, longer battery life (up to 15 hours) and it comes in the familiar platinum finish. Other than that, it shares most of the features as last year’s model. The new Surface Pro X starts at $1,499 and is available for preorder. It starts shipping October 13.
Google’s announced the Nest Audio, its newest smart speaker that effectively takes the place of the Google Home that was originally announced in 2016. It has an all-new design and sound — Google claims that it’s 75-percent louder with 50-percent more bass than the original Google Home — but it still costs just $100. It’ll be available everywhere starting October 5.
Chromecast with Google TV
The new Chromecast is Google’s latest 4K streaming dongle, but there are some big changes. It comes with an remote for the first time and it also runs an Android operating system, whereas previous Chromecast dongles required you to cast shows and movies to your TV from your smartphone or laptop. It also comes with Google TV, which is essentially a new home screen that’s baked into Android TV that makes it easier to find the shows and movies, across all your different apps, that you’ve been watching.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold
The ThinkPad X1 Fold is the first folding-screen laptop. It’s essentially a tablet with a beautiful 13.3-inch OLED screen, but it can also be used as a traditional laptop in two ways. You can rest it horizontally (thanks to its built-in kickstand) and use a detachable miniature keyboard, or you can fold the screen horizontally, with the bottom half of the screen turning into a touchscreen keyboard. The ThinkPad X1 Fold is available for preorder right now and it starts at $2,499. That base model does not include the detachable miniature keyboard or the stylus.
TCL 2020 Soundbars
TCL announced five new soundbars that are designed to go with its various lines of smart televisions. The neat thing is that the smallest and most affordable of its new soundbars is the Alto 3 (picture above), which is designed for 32-inch TVs or larger and starts at just $59. TCL also announced new Alto 6 and Alto 6 Plus soundbars, the latter of which comes with a wireless subwoofer, as well as the Alto 8I and Alto 9 Plus. The higher-end soundbars are designed for larger TVs, but also have more premium features, like Dolby Atmos support as well as compatibility with Chromecast and AirPlay 2
Sennheiser HD 560S
The Sennheiser HD 560S are the company’s newest wired open-back headphones, designed for music enthusiasts and professionals. The main thing is that Sennheiser was able to keep the price down — they cost just $200 — which is due to its new specially designed transducers. The idea is that you get reference quality sound at a very affordable price.
Teenage Engineering OP-4
Teenage Engineering’s latest creative is a Bluetooth speaker and AM/FM radio that looks like the sexiest boombox you’ve ever seen. Most interestingly, the OP-4 has a manual rewind dial that’s paired with an integrated motor, which, according to The Verge, will “let you rewind back to anything you’ve listened to in the past two hours on a rolling basis.” It’s available now in two colors, black or red, although both are currently on backorder.
Marshall Major IV
The Major IV are the newest wireless on-ear headphones by Marshall. They’re very similar to the Major III, but they’re been updated two key ways. First, they now support wireless charging. And two, they have an incredibly 80-hour battery life — yes, you read that correctly.
Yale Smart Delivery Box
The Yale Smart Delivery Box is a solution for people who frequency get their packages stolen. It’s effectively a big, smart lockbox that stays open until it detects a package. Once it detects one, it automatically locks and sends your smartphone a notification to let you know that package has arrived. It’s compatible with Apple, Amazon and Google smart ecosystems.
HyperJuice Stackable GaN Charger
Hyper launched this system of stackable of gallium nitride (GaN) chargers on Kickstarter. Essentially, there are two different chargers you can choose from, a 65-watt or a 100-watt option, and each one has a built-in plug. The first charger plugs into the an outlet, but it also allows for another charger to plug into and stack on top of it, and the max number of chargers you can stack is 16 — bringing the max output to 1600 watts. The idea is that you can turn one outlet into a kind of oasis that can charge all your devices (and then some).
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