All posts in “Mobile”

The top 8 Bluetooth speaker deals will help you keep the party going

Bluetooth technology has opened the door for a lot of interesting gadgets and convenient ways to connect our smartphones to various devices. Perhaps the most popular Bluetooth technology today is wireless speakers, which make it easy to take your music on the go or to set up a compact and lightweight home audio system.

Summer is officially over, but that doesn’t mean the cooler fall weather spells the end of outdoor parties, camping trips, and other activities where you can enjoy some tunes with your friends. We’ve picked out some of our favorite Bluetooth speaker deals available right now that can save you up to $232 off retail prices.

Anker Classic Bluetooth speaker

Anker mini bluetooth speaker

Anker is one of the top brands when it comes to high-quality but budget-friendly hardware, so its only fitting that we kick off our deal list with its aptly named Classic Bluetooth speaker. This palm-sized, 3-inch cube punches above its weight with its efficient 4-watt driver, while its internal lithium-ion battery lasts between 15 and 20 hours for all-day listening.

A 65 percent discount means you can score the Anker Classic Bluetooth speaker for $28 on Amazon, saving you $52 off the retail price.

Amazon

Rokono Sidewinder portable Bluetooth speaker

Portable Bluetooth speaker

The attractive and super-compact Rokono Sidewinder Bluetooth speaker measures in at just under 3.5 inches long and less than three inches tall and wide. This handy unit delivers 5 watts of power and up to 10 hours of battery life, but arguably its best feature is a handy slot that lets the speaker serve as a stand for your smartphone or tablet. This portable speaker can also be used with non-Bluetooth devices thanks to its 3.5mm input jack.

The Rokono Sidewinder portable wireless speaker is currently priced at $20 on Amazon after a 60 percent discount knocks $30 off the usual price.

Amazon

Om/One levitating Bluetooth speaker

Levitating Bluetooth Speaker

This levitating Bluetooth speaker from Om/One boasts a truly unique design that makes it the perfect conversation starter. The speaker unit is a small orb housing a 75mm 3-watt driver that hovers roughly an inch above its base, rotating as it puts out music in 360 degrees. A built-in mic means you can even use the Om/One speaker for making phone calls, which will make you feel like a villain from a cyberpunk movie.

The Om/One levitating Bluetooth speaker can be yours for $100 from ThinkGeek, taking a whopping $100 off the normal price.

ThinkGeek

Mighty Rock Miniboom wireless speaker

mini bluetooth speaker

If you prefer futuristic aesthetics, then look no further than Mighty Rock’s sleek Miniboom Bluetooth speaker. The Miniboom utilizes dual acoustic audio drivers and a passive subwoofer to deliver impressive sound for a speaker this size. Its streamlined housing features swept angles with no square edges, and its sleek design makes it look great on any desk.

The Mighty Rock touch Bluetooth speaker is listed at $26 after a 63 percent discount.

Amazon

VicTsing Bluetooth shower speaker

Victsing Bluetooth Speaker

Waterproof tech is great for the outdoors, but devices like the VicTsing Bluetooth speaker are also perfect for use in the shower. You probably spend about 10 minutes or more in the shower every day, and that extra time is great for catching up on your favorite podcasts, listening to an audiobook, or just chilling with some music as you go about your morning routine.

The VicTsing waterproof Bluetooth speaker features a metal carabiner and a removable suction cup on the back, letting you mount it any way you like, and it even has a built-in mic for voice control and for making hands-free calls. This shower speaker comes in at $19 for a 24 percent savings.

Amazon

Amazon Echo smart Bluetooth speaker (certified refurbished)

Refurbished Amazon echo

If a “smart” Bluetooth speaker is what you’re looking for, then the Amazon Echo is hard to beat. This wireless device is a great choice for those who have a smart home ecosystem. The Echo features built-in Alexa capability that gives you hands-free voice control over the speaker as well as other connected smart devices that are compatible with Alexa. You can even use Alexa to perform internet searches, order food, and more. The Echo can play music from either your connected smart device or any number of streaming services such as Pandora and Spotify, and the 360-degree speaker fills the room with sound.

The Amazon Echo smart Bluetooth speaker normally sells for $165, but you can snag a certified refurbished model for just $80 on Amazon after a 52-percent discount of $85. All certified refurbished products are professionally inspected, cleaned, tested, and re-packaged, and are covered by Amazon’s excellent warranty and customer service.

Amazon

Looking for more great deals on tech and electronics? Check out our deals page to score some extra savings on our favorite gadgets.

Update: Added the Amazon Echo and VicTsing Bluetooth speaker deals. Removed expired offers and updated prices.

We strive to help our readers find the best deals on quality products and services, and choose what we cover carefully and independently. If you find a better price for a product listed here, or want to suggest one of your own, email us at dealsteam@digitaltrends.com.

Digital Trends may earn commission on products purchased through our links, which supports the work we do for our readers.

Got the time? These are the eight best smartwatch deals available right now

While smartwatches aren’t as common as smartphones quite yet, they’re no longer enthusiast-only items either. The best smartwatches make your life easier by providing alerts to your wrist so that you don’t have to constantly find and pull out your phone. Many also provide a variety of fitness-tracking features, while others double as music players with support for popular services such as Spotify, Apple Music, and iHeartRadio.

Although Apple watches make up a large portion of the market today, most models are Android smartwatches, and the range of choices provides a good amount of flexibility in how you use them. Many analysts believe the smartwatch market will continue to grow in coming months as manufacturers add new features to their products and the technology becomes more affordable. So, if you’re ready to take the plunge into high-tech wearables and want to save some money, then read on for a handful of the best smartwatch deals online right now.

Pebble Time Steel

pebble time steel smartwatch

Get all of your notifications at a glance with the popular Pebble Time Steel. This Android and iOS compatible smartwach provides the same updates as your smartphone, including calendar events, text and emails, incoming calls, and more, but they go directly to your wrist.

The Pebble Time Steel has a built-in activity and sleep tracker, while also providing daily reports and weekly insights. It has a 9.5mm thin chassis with a curved, ergonomic profile, Marine-grade stainless steel bezel with PVD coating, matte and polished finishes, and tactile buttons for easy, eyes-free control. A microphone is attached for voice notes and quick replies along with 10-day battery life.

The tough, 2.5D glass display is an always-on color E-Paper screen that’s water resistant up to 30 meters, complete with a durable glass lens. The Pebble Time Steel smartwatch normally retails for $200 but is currently on sale for $130 on Amazon, providing a $70 (35 percent) discount. Check out our review of this classic smartwatch for more information.

Amazon

Skagen Hagen Connected

Skagen Hagen men's smartwach

Skagen is well known in the world of wristwatches, with a reputation for its sleek minimalist designs and subtle European style. It’s no surprise, then, that Skagen’s smartwatch offering, the Hagen Connected, looks so good.

At a glance, the Hagen Connected looks like any other analog watch, and it features a standard battery-powered quartz movement (which means no charging). Looks can be deceiving, however: This hybrid wristwatch also boasts a suite of smart features like activity tracking, phone syncing, message notifications, music control playback, and compatibility with both Android and iOS devices.

With its classic looks and low profile, the Skagen Hagen Connected smartwatch is a top choice for style-conscious users who want smart functionality without sacrificing aesthetics. This sleek wearable can be yours for $149 on Amazon, giving you a $56 (27 percent) discount.

Amazon

Michael Kors Access Dylan

smartwatch deals michael kors access dylan

Another stylish option with traditional wristwatch aesthetics is the Acess Dylan from Michael Kors. This wearable offers a classic look on your wrist and runs on Google’s excellent Android Wear firmware.

With Android Wear, the Access Dylan does everything you need a smartwatch to do: Activity tracking, phone notifications, customizable watch faces, music playback, and more, along with convenient features like a built-in speaker. The watch also offers both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity for easy syncing with your compatible Android and iOS devices. A built-in mic lets you answer calls and issue voice commands as well.

The metal housing and touch rubber band make this watch as eye-pleasing as it is durable, while a 1 ATM water resistance rating protects the Dylan against water at depths of up to 10 meters. The stainless and blue Michael Kors Access Dylan smartwatch is now available for $200 from Amazon at a 15 percent discount of $30, and the black and gold version can be yours for $260 (or $60 off).

Amazon

Fossil Q Wander

 Fossil Q Wander Leather women's smartwatch

Get a fashionable smartwatch you’ll want to show off to your friends with the Fossil Q Wander smartwatch. This Android smartwatch boasts a genuine leather band along with customizable dials and features. You can also change up your look on the fly when you choose a Fossil or Android Wear design by adjusting the colors and then adding the complications of your choice to your watch face.

With this smartwatch for women, you can easily get notified of important texts, calls, social media messages, and emails, thanks to Bluetooth technology. It has built-in activity tracking, so you can monitor your everyday accomplishments including steps, distance, and calories burned. It automatically syncs to your phone so you can keep tabs on your activity and notifications without even pushing a button.

Other features include the ability to control your music on your favorite music player and use the built-in microphone and speaker to perform a variety of tasks on the smartwatch using just your voice. The Fossil Q Wander leather band smartwatch regularly retails for $255 but is currently marked down to $175 on Amazon, saving you $80 (31 percent). The all-stainless version is also on sale for $185, saving you $$90. You can also check out our hand’s on smartwatch review for more information on this model.

Amazon

Huawei Watch

smartwatch deals Huawei Watch Black Stainless Steel Smartwatch

Get a durable smartwatch that you can adapt to your own signature style with a Huawei Watch, and received an 8 out 10 in our hands-on review.

This smartwatch allows you to use all your favorite apps on the go for a truly seamless experience. With this smartwatch, Google Now becomes your personal assistant. The watch also helps you stay on top of your health game with built-in fitness-tracking features including an enhanced heart rate monitor and sensors to track running, walking, and more. Thanks to Bluetooth, it’s compatible with most devices with an iOS 8.2 or Android 4.3 or later operating system.

The smartwatch is designed for those on the go and charges to 80 percent of capacity in a mere 45 minutes. A style accent all in itself, the Huawei Watch in black stainless steel normally retails for $400 but is currently on sale for $170 from B&H, saving you $230.

B&H

Samsung Gear Fit2

samsung smartwatch

Get the motivation you need to stay on top of your fitness goals with a Samsung Gear Fit2, which helps keep track of your daily activity levels, heart rate, and more. This Samsung smartwatch uses a wide range of tracking sensors to closely monitor your activity levels including steps taken, calories burned, heart rate, and sleep quality. It can even automatically identify the different types of physical activities such as running, cycling, and working out on the elliptical.

The smartwatch is water-resistant and features a curved, full-color super AMOLED screen that displays real-time activity stats along with texts and other alerts from your iOS or Android smartphone within Bluetooth range. Get credit for every step thanks to the built-in GPS that gives you accurate real-time stats and allows you to leave your phone behind. The watch features the S Health app, which you can use to you can set goals, check leaderboards, challenge others to step competitions, and share workout results with just the touch of a button

The smartwatch also acts as a stand-alone music player so you can store your favorite music on your Gear Fit2 or connect to your phone with Spotify to access millions of songs. Charging is easy with the included cradle. Score a Samsung Gear Fit2 for $124 on Amazon, after a $66 (35 percent) discount.

Amazon

Garmin Vívosmart HR

best fitness smartwatch

Looking for  a  cheap smartwatch that is comfortable to wear all day. The health-based  Garmin Vivosmart smartwatch is sleek and stylish and displays all your stats on your wrist so clearly, you can even read it in direct sunlight.

The smartwatch displays steps, distance, calories, heart rate, and activity intensity along with text, call, email, calendar and social media alerts. The smartwatch uniquely reminds you to keep active via a move bar and vibration alert. It has an integrated barometric altimeter that tracks when you take the stairs and measures activity intensity through a feature called Intensity Minutes, so you can monitor your progress against weekly goals. For detailed calorie tracking, you can create an account at MyFitnessPal and link it to your Garmin Connect account, which allows you to compare calories consumed to total calories burned, as well as compete in challenges with others using your Garmin Connect account.

The smartwatch has a battery life of up to five days, as well as a convenient, non-intrusive touchscreen design. Pick up one today on Amazon for $96 after a $54 (36 percent) discount.

Amazon

Samsung Gear S3

Samsung Gear 3 Smartwatch deal

Our final smartwatch deal is another treat from Samsung and one of our favorite Android wearables: The beefy Gear S3. This watch comes in two flavors, the stylish Classic and the sporty Frontier.

The aptly named Classic boasts a traditional wristwatch appearance with its gunmetal gray steel case and thick leather wrist strap, while the Frontier is purpose-built for active users with its black silicone band and reinforced black steel housing. Gorilla Glass SR+ protects the watch face on both models, and the cases are also feature military-grade protection from dust, moisture, and impacts.

The Gear S3 also has a rotating bezel which you can use to scroll through apps, notifications, and more. Like other wearables, these wirelessly sync with your phone, and the S3 also has a heart rate monitor along with a variety of health tracking functions. The Gear S3 Classic and Gear S3 Frontier are each on sale on for $60 off, bringing them both down to $300 on Amazon. For more information on this Samsung smartwatch, check out our hands-on review.

Amazon

Looking for more great deals on tech and electronics? Check out our deals page to score some extra savings on our favorite gadgets.

Update: Added the Pebble Time Steel, Michael Kors Access, and Samsung Gear S3 smartwatch deals. Removed the expired Asus Zenwatch and Pebble Time offers and updated prices.

We strive to help our readers find the best deals on quality products and services, and choose what we cover carefully and independently. If you find a better price for a product listed here, or want to suggest one of your own, email us at dealsteam@digitaltrends.com.

Digital Trends may earn commission on products purchased through our links, which supports the work we do for our readers.

Here are the 12 best deals on Apple accessories for the iPad, iPhone, and Watch

It’s expensive being an Apple fanboy (or fangirl). Not only do you typically pay a premium for the Cupertino, California, tech giant’s latest hardware — as the iPhone X proves — but Apple’s accessories can often cause sticker shock as well. Fortunately, when it comes to shopping for accessories, the Apple Store isn’t your only source.

Whether you’re looking to pair your newly minted iPhone with wireless headphones or simply need to load up on Lightning cables, we’ve rounded up some awesome deals on Apple accessories for everything from your iPhone to your MacBook. We will periodically update these deals in the future, so be sure to act quickly if you want to get the best prices.

Walcase steel mesh Apple Watch band– $11

accessories for apple watch

If you’ve jumped on the Apple Watch bandwagon, then getting a new strap is the perfect way to express your style with an Apple watch accessory. Walcase iWatch bands are made from a durable stainless steel mesh and come in a wide variety of colors — gold, black, and silver — to match your watch case. They are available for both 38mm and 42mm Apple Watches, and are a good option if you want a stylish and water-resistant strap but don’t care for the look or feel of rubber. Normally $33, a 67-percent discount brings the Walcase Apple Watch band down to $11 on Amazon.

$11 on Amazon

Ounne shockproof and waterproof iPhone 7 and 8 cases – $20

Shock Resistant iPhone case

Fall has finally arrived, so if you find yourself heading outside with your iPhone 7 or new iPhone 8 to enjoy the cooler weather, it might be a good idea to get a shock-resistant and waterproof case to protect your tech. This one from Ounne, available for just $20 from Amazon after a $40 discount, is a tough and durable case for your iPhone 7 Plus that doesn’t look or feel too bulky and awkward. The shockproof case fits around your phone and completely seals it against dirt and water without affecting touchscreen functionality. If you have the larger iPhone 7 or 8 Plus, you can grab a matching Ounne shockproof case for $20 as well. Also, be sure to check out our recent roundup of iPhone 8 case deals.

$20 on Amazon

Joy Factory Pinpoint X-Spring precision stylus – $15

Apple Stylus deal

Your iPad isn’t just another tablet, so it deserves more than just another stylus. The attractive Joy Factory X-Spring precision stylus allows you to work on any iPad or iPhone touchscreen, and helps expand the versatility of multitouch. Unlike many styluses with chunky nibs, the Pinpoint X-Spring features a unique rotating fine tip that can make contact with the screen at angles of up to 180 degrees for extra comfort and precision when drawing and writing. Need to jot something down on paper? Just flip the stylus around and use the other end as a traditional ballpoint pen. A $20 discount lets you score the Joy Factory Pinpoint precision stylus for $15 from the DT Shop.

$15 on DT Shop

Anker Folio iPad keyboard case – $32

Anker iPad Folio Case

Anker makes a wide lineup of great accessories, and if you’ve been craving a physical keyboard for your iPad, or just love iPad accessories, this is your new best friend. The Anker Folio keyboard case features Bluetooth connectivity and iPad shortcut keys, allowing you to remain productive no matter where you are. The case also offers two ergonomic viewing angles for both typing and handheld use. The synthetic leather exterior provides an attractive cover for your iPad, and the Anker Folio automatically engages the tablet’s wake and sleep modes when opened and closed.

$32 on Amazon

Beats Solo Solo Headphones – $200

Beats Apple Accessories

Music from Apple devices continues to improve and your listening accessories should do the same. These Beats Solo 3 Wired On-Ear Headphones help you hear all your music with near-perfect audio quality. They provide fine-tuned acoustics for audio clarity, breadth, and balance, as well as a streamlined design that gives you a unique custom fit. The headphones are foldable, so they’re easy to take with you on the go, as well as durable. These Amazon choice headphones normally retail for $300 but are currently marked down to $200 on Amazon, saving you $100.

$200 on Amazon

Anker PowerLine 3-foot Lightning cable 3-pack – $22

Apple accessory deals

Lightning cables are a must-have item for any Apple household. Anker’s PowerLine cables are some of our favorites for charging up Apple gadgets, and Amazon has this 3-pack of MFi-certified Lightning to USB cables that will keep your iPhone or iPad fully juiced. MFi certification, originally created for the iPod, ensures that these cables now work with other Apple devices as well. Each cable measures 3 feet, and the Anker PowerLine three-pack costs only $22 on Amazon after a 27 percent savings.

$22 on Amazon

Mbeat PowerTime Apple Watch charging dock – $35

Apple watch charging dock

The $79 Apple Watch Charging Dock is an add-on accessory that prominently displays your Apple Watch as it charges. However, if you don’t feel like dropping $79 on a dock designed to charge just one gadget, the Mbeat PowerTime Apple Watch charging dock costs $35 and provides three additional USB ports that let you charge any USB-compatible gadgets in addition to your Apple Watch. Like Apple’s dock, it displays your Apple Watch as it is charging so you can still use it as your alarm clock. It’s currently 28 percent off its list price from the DT Shop.

$35 on DT Shop

Oittm 5-port USB recharging dock – $38

Apple Charging dock

The Oittm 5-port USB recharging dock puts your iPhone, iPad Mini, iPod (remember those?), or Apple Watch on display while they charge. The attractive and sturdy aluminum and ABS plastic dock feature a variety of ports — two on top for a Lightning cable and Apple Watch charger, along with three USB connections in the back — for charging up to five devices simultaneously. The top is also removable to allow you to place your power cables inside the dock’s housing for easy cord management. At just $38 after a $62 discount, the Oittm 5-port dock is a solid and affordable all-in-one desktop charging station for all of your Apple gear.

$38 on Amazon

Just Mobile Hover Dock – $28

Apple charging dock accessories

The low-profile Just Mobile HoverDock charging podium creates the illusion that your iPhone is hovering while docked. The aluminum base features a rubber bottom to prevent sliding, as well as retractable cable storage that keeps your wires neatly out of sight while your device is charging. The unit was designed to work with most iPhone cases and can also be used to prop up your iPhone while you FaceTime. It’s currently available for just $28 from our DT Shop.

$28 on DT Shop

Hussar Magicbuds Bluetooth headphones – $27

Apple iPhone headphone deals

Wireless headphones are the future of the iPhone, but not everyone can afford to spend $159 on Apple’s AirPods. Fortunately, there are plenty of affordable alternatives. Ideal for the gym, the ergonomic Hussar Magicbuds Bluetooth headphones are a highly rated and affordable option if you like the look of Dre Powerbeats but not their hefty price tag. The rechargeable battery offers up to nine hours of play time, and the Magicbuds can be paired with any Bluetooth-enabled device, which makes them ideal for current and older iPhones and iPads. Hussar’s in-ear headphones are currently just $27 from Amazon.

$27 on Amazon

Maxboost iPhone 7 and 8 3,200mAh battery case – $31

cool iphone accessories

Maxboost is no stranger to the market of affordable and high-quality batteries and portable chargers, so it should be no surprise to see its iPhone battery case in our roundup. Apple devices generally offer very good battery life, but even the best batteries can unexpectedly die while you’re on the go. For those dreaded moments, the Maxboost battery case for the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 has your back: The slim case houses a 3,200mAh battery that can increase the lifespan of your iPhone by up to 18 hours. The battery case doesn’t add much bulk to your iPhone and is currently just $31 on Amazon, saving you $39 off its normal price.

$31 on Amazon

LK Laptop Sleeve Bag

Apple mac accessories

Today’s 13-inch MacBook Air and MacBook Pro laptops are smaller and thinner than ever, so why not protect them with a durable sleeve? The LK Laptop Sleeve Bag is made out of water-resistant material and built-in shock absorbent padding and protects your device from daily drops, bumps, and other daily damage while on the go. The sleeve has a slim, portable, lightweight design with two-toned textured nylon to give it a modern look. The extendable top handle is easy to grip and can lay flat while not in use making it easy to carry or slide into a backpack for travel. The sleeve normally retails for $40 but is currently marked down to $13 on Amazon.

$13 on Amazon

Looking for more great Apple accessory deals and discounts on other electronics? Check out our deals page to score some extra savings on our favorite tech.

Update: Added deals for the LK Laptop Sleeve Bag and Beats Solo 3 Wired On-Ear Headphones.

We strive to help our readers find the best deals on quality products and services, and choose what we cover carefully and independently. If you find a better price for a product listed here, or want to suggest one of your own, email us at dealsteam@digitaltrends.com.

Digital Trends may earn commission on products purchased through our links, which supports the work we do for our readers.

Weekly Rewind: The new Moto, a 12-year-old’s lead-detection invention, and more

A lot can happen in a week when it comes to tech. The constant onslaught of news makes it nigh impossible for mere mortals with real lives to keep track of everything. That’s why we’ve compiled a quick and dirty list of this week’s top tech stories, from the Digital Trends 2017 Home Awards to what we know about Bohemian Rhapsody — it’s all here.

After a 2-year hiatus, the Moto X returns with an all-glass design

best Moto X4 cases

Once upon a time, the Moto X was the crown jewel of Motorola’s (and its parent company Lenovo’s) lineup. But that was back in 2015. Last year’s modular Moto Z shifted the manufacturer’s strategy a bit, and now Lenovo’s trying to rekindle some of the magic with a refreshed, revamped fourth-gen Moto X4.

Just like its predecessor, the new Moto X4 won’t break the bank. In the U.S., the Moto X4 costs $400 from Google’s Project Fi, Fry’s, B&H, Best Buy, Jet.com, Newegg, Motorola.com, Republic Wireless, and Ting. It’s available for pre-order starting October 19, and ships a week later on October 26.

Read: After a 2-year hiatus, the Moto X returns with an all-glass design

Middle school student wins $25k award for device that detects lead in water

water-testing device

A seventh grader that we featured in July for inventing a lead-testing device in drinking water has won a prestigious award for his invention. Gitanjali Rao, who competed in a distinguished science competition in the United States, won the 3M-sponsored science competition and was awarded the title of “America’s Top Young Scientist,” along with a $25,000 prize.

Her invention, a sophisticated method for testing for lead contamination in water, could significantly improve the response to chemical disasters like the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. In fact, Rao’s water-testing device was partially inspired by stories of chemical contamination such as the situation in Flint.

Read: Middle school student wins $25k award for device that detects lead in water

Everything we know about ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ the Queen biopic

bohemian rhapsody queen movie news cast trailer rami malek freddie mercury crop

One of the most iconic musicians of the modern era, Queen frontman Freddie Mercury is the focal point of the upcoming band biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. Mr. Robot star Rami Malek is portraying the multifaceted singer, songwriter, and producer, widely regarded as one of the greatest vocalists of all time.

Set to be directed by X-Men franchise veteran Bryan Singer from a script penned by Academy Award nominee Anthony McCarten (The Theory of Everything), Bohemian Rhapsody will chronicle the period between the band’s formation in the 1970s and Mercury’s tragic death in 1991. Queen band members Brian May and Roger Taylor are serving as producers on the film.

With Bohemian Rhapsody now scheduled to hit theaters December 25, 2018, here’s everything we know about the film so far.

Read: Everything we know about ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ the Queen biopic

Digital Trends 2017 Home Awards

hestan cue

The ever-expanding list of smart home products — from security systems to smart locks, lightbulbs, ovens, smoke alarms, and baby monitors – presented us with a unique problem when we set about choosing winners for the 2017 Home Awards: How do we compare the newest appliances to products like Wi-Fi connected vacuum cleaners or BBQ grills? Does a better dryer beat a connected egg timer? What if it’s a really great timer?

In the end, we opted to focus on the one thing that makes all the products on this list award-worthy: innovation.

Our 2017 Home Awards recipients are game-changers in their respective fields. They don’t just improve on their predecessors; they change our expectations entirely.

Read: Digital Trends 2017 Home Awards

Just in time for Halloween, this spooky robot mask will help teach you to code

creepy robot mask coding novaedit09

There are plenty of cool educational robotics projects we see rolling out on a regular basis but, to the best of our knowledge, only one promises to give you a creepy Phantom of the Opera-style mask to learn to code with. The makers of Nova have presented this spooky gift to the world with their new Arduino-based artificial intelligence robot, now available on Kickstarter.

Creoqod’s Nova is a do-it-yourself kit that lets users build their own artificially intelligent robot, while practicing their coding and engineering skills. It’s compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux, and promises to be both a great tool for newcomers, and also a fun testing platform for seasoned professionals. Building it will provide a good overview of various engineering and computer science concepts, ranging from computer vision and image processing, to kinematics and control theory. The finished robot can recognize and track faces, identify colors, measure distances, and move in five different axes — all while looking like a cross between The Terminator and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s aforementioned scarred musical maestro.

Read: Just in time for Halloween, this spooky robot mask will help teach you to code

Asics wants to microwave you a custom, crazy-colored pair of sneakers

asics microwave sole

Getting voted best dressed is a lot harder when you’re wearing the same thing as everyone else around you. Luckily, Asics is here to ensure that you never commit such a fashion faux pas again. For its next trick, the athletic company is unveiling a new giant microwave intended not for your culinary pleasure, but rather for your customization needs. In just 15 seconds, these large microwaves will be able to “bake” a pair of custom soles for eager customers, giving them the ability to customize their footwear on-site in stores.

Read: Asics wants to microwave you a custom, crazy-colored pair of sneakers

Using drones to charge your EV while you’re driving is Amazon’s latest idea

amazon drone delivery chute prime air 2 1200x0

Whether or not Amazon’s R&D team comes up with most of its ideas during Friday night drinks is immaterial. The reality is that, possibly on a Monday morning, it files those ideas with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). And after a period of time, the USPTO grants Amazon the patent.

Some of those patents will be forgotten by the Seattle-based company over time and therefore never see the light of day, but as technology develops, others may eventually come to fruition.

Read: Using drones to charge your EV while you’re driving is Amazon’s latest idea

Innovative new spray-on cement helps old buildings survive earthquakes

earthquake proof cement seismic resistant concrete prevention ubc014259 1

Earthquakes can cause massive amounts of devastation. Using modern building materials and designs, architects have created a number of impressively reinforced buildings around the world that are able to survive quakes that would level many structures. However, what can you do to earthquake-proof an existing building? That’s a question that civil engineering researchers at the University of British Columbia took on in a recent project.

As a result of the research, they’ve developed a new type of concrete that can be sprayed onto walls, which will successfully protect buildings from being damaged in the event of even major quakes. This is possible thanks to a fiber-reinforced design which allows the concrete to bend, rather than fracture, when it is violently shaken. In simulation tests, the “eco-friendly ductile cementitious composite” (EDCC) was able to withstand an earthquake with a magnitude equal to the 9.0 – 9.1 quake that hit Tohoku, Japan back in 2011.

Read: Innovative new spray-on cement helps old buildings survive earthquakes

Google Pixel 2 vs iPhone 8: The next generation of smartphone combat

At its October Pixel event, Google made a point that may have surprised followers of the smartphone wars: You can’t expect massive hardware changes every year. That didn’t stop Google from unveiling a bevy of new devices, however, including new versions of its flagship smartphone: The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. While the Google Pixel 2 will look familiar to owners of the original, it does make a number of small improvements to a device that we consider the pinnacle of Android smartphones. So how does it compare to the latest incarnation of Android’s rival, the iPhone 8? We break down each phone’s capabilities in search of an answer.

Specs

The Pixel 2 sports a shiny, new Snapdragon 835 processor. It’s a ferocious chip in a tiny package, with eight cores, and a 2.45GHz clock speed. While we haven’t had a chance to formally review the Pixel 2, the 835 offers a marked improvement over the already impressive Snapdragon 821 found in the previous Pixel phone. The Pixel 2 comes with 64GB or 128GB storage, and 4GB of RAM. Given the improvements over the original Pixel, the Pixel 2 should be able to handle any smartphone games you want to run on it, and Google is even pushing it as a solid device for virtual and augmented reality.

The iPhone 8 uses Apple’s new A11 Bionic chip which, true to its imposing name, is a beast. In our tests using Geekbench 4 and the AnTuTu benchmarking tool, the iPhone 8 blew away the competition, including the Snapdragon 835-equipped Galaxy S8. The iPhone 8 does have a mere 2GB of RAM, however, and we found the augmented reality apps devoured the battery life.

Overall, the iPhone 8 is more powerful, but both phones should be able to handle any app or game you would conceivably throw at them.

Winner: iPhone 8

Display, design, durability

Google Pixel 2 v iPhone body

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

In our review of the iPhone 8, we noted that the design, aside from some minor refinements, is basically the same as that of the previous generations. In this instance, that’s not as great a knock against it, since the Pixel 2 — much like the Pixel — emulates the iPhone’s general design. Both embrace minimalist color schemes, but the Pixel 2 has a two-tone back. Both phones are IP67 dust- and water-resistant, and both lack headphone ports; if you want to listen to music privately, you’ll need Bluetooth headphones (such as Apple’s AirPods or Google’s new Pixel Buds), or a USB-to-headphone jack adapter.

If you want to blast music from your phone for all to hear, both the Pixel 2 and iPhone 8 rock powerful (for smartphones) speakers in stereo configurations.

The displays are where the differences really start to appear. The iPhone 8 has a 4.7-inch LCD screen with a resolution of 1,334 x 750 pixels. The Pixel 2 sports a 5-inch AMOLED display, meaning it can display deeper blacks, has better contrast, and a higher pixel density (1,920 x 1,080).

Although the Pixel 2 may draw on the iPhone design for inspiration, its two-tone design and sharper display give it the edge.

Winner: Pixel 2

Battery life and charging

One of our biggest complaints about the iPhone 8 was the battery life; its battery weighs in at 1,821mAh and you’ll need to charge it up at the end of most days. The Pixel 2 has a much larger 2,700mAh battery, and even with a bigger, sharper screen to power it should outlast the iPhone 8. Both support fast charging, though you’ll have to pay extra for the right cable and adapter to fast charge your iPhone 8. The iPhone 8 also supports wireless charging, which the Pixel 2 doesn’t. But overall, the Pixel 2 edges this category.

Winner: Pixel 2

Cameras

Both phones come with the standard front and back camera setup. The Pixel 2 has an 8MP front camera with an f/2.4 aperture, and a 12MP rear camera with an f/1.8 aperture. The iPhone 8 sports a 7MP front-facing camera with an f/2.2 aperture and a 12MP main camera with an f/1.8 aperture. Both offer optical image stabilization, but the Pixel 2 uses machine learning to enable a bokeh mode, similar to the iPhone 8 Plus’ Portrait Mode, which, sadly, the iPhone 8, lacking the Plus’ dual-camera, cannot match.

We have not yet had a chance to formally review the Pixel 2’s camera, however, respected image-rating site DxOMark gave it the highest rating it has given to a smartphone camera, a score of 98 (slightly higher than the iPhone 8’s 94 rating). The site singled out the Pixel 2’s color rendering and consistent exposures for praise.

Winner: Pixel 2

Software

Google Pixel 2 v iPhone software

Simon Hill / Digital Trends

Few debates get more heated than iOS vs Android, with partisans of each side marching in lockstep to tear down the other, so if you champion either system, you probably already know which phone to get. For the neutral among you, the Pixel 2 runs the latest version of Android, Android 8.0 Oreo. In our review of Oreo, we noted that it is not a radical update, instead streamlining the interface while offering some nifty, if non-essential, features such as Vitals and picture-in-picture mode.

Apple’s iOS 11 offered users a redesigned control center, with quick access to a number of critical features. It also added a number of new photo-editing options and effects, for those who want to step up their Instagram game.

Overall, you can’t go wrong with either operating system; both have similar strengths and few noteworthy weaknesses. It all comes down to whichever you feel more comfortable using.

Winner: It’s a draw

Price and availability

The iPhone 8 is currently available, and comes in two models: A 64GB model for $700, and a 256GB model for $850. You can buy an unlocked model, or get one from any of the major carriers in the U.S.

The Pixel 2 is currently available for pre-order. You can purchase a 64GB model for $649, or a 128GB model for $749. Google is also offering a bonus for a limited time: If you purchase a Pixel, you will get a Google Home Mini for free through October 19 or while supplies last.

If you want a lot of storage space, the iPhone 8 is your best option, albeit at $850. The Pixel 2 is cheaper, and the inclusion of a free Google Home Mini is enticing. That’s nice added value!

Winner: Pixel 2

Overal Winner: Pixel 2

Both phones are lovely, and the choice will likely come down to whether you prefer iOS or Android — although if you are an iPhone loyalist it seems like you might be better served waiting for the upcoming iPhone X.

While both phones are powerful (the iPhone 8 perhaps more so) the Pixel 2’s superior display, stylish look, and mighty camera, as well as its lower price, combine to make it the more attractive option.

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