Staff Picks

The Tech Gear We’re Testing Right Now

March 17, 2017 Tech By

Welcome to the latest installment of Staff Picks. Each week, we’ll tell you about the tech we’re currently testing — everything from cameras to headphones, 2-in-1 laptops and home appliances — as well as the grail items we wish we could buy. For last week’s selections, visit here.

Tivoli Audio Model One Digital

I guess I have a thing for clock radios. I’ve had a Tivoli Model 3 on one side of my bed for the last five years or so and I just recently tested (and kinda sorta liked) the Como Audio Solo. But both can take a hike now that Tivoli’s Model One Digital has been announced. No, it doesn’t quite have the analog charm of the Model 3, and it’s a little less intuitive than the Como, but it’s just so damn beautiful. Get it in walnut, use it with Spotify connect and pray to the gods of knob-feel that the big rotary dial around the display feels as good as the radio tuning knob on Tivolis of old. — Henry Phillips, Manager of Photography

FujiFilm 2x Teleconverter

In my ongoing quest to minimize all of my belongings, my camera setup has been the steepest hill. To that end, Fujifilm’s renowned bang-for-your-buck prime lenses have been instrumental, but a teleconverter, the add-on that allows a lens to multiply its focal length, has always been a bit of a dark horse. To me, they’re a compromise; they usually slow down a lens’s focus speed, diminish light-capture capability and degrade sharpness.

Fujifilm, however, has the benefit of designing and manufacturing peripherals for its own flagship products. The result is seamless integration. Combined with my 55–140mm lens (a popular 70–200mm equivalent), the 2x teleconverter has blown away my expectations. It extends the lens to a whopping 140–400mm (very, very long) without sacrificing any real-world capabilities; weather resistance is retained, autofocus speed remains intact, and all the pertinent information is passed to the camera (and EXIF data). It’s also very sharp.

Granted, it’s a bit pricey at $450, nearly the price of a lower-end lens. But the convenience has empowered my kit as much as it’s shrunk it. Consider me a fan. — Eric Yang, Editor in Chief

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1

Here’s a Windows 10 device that could make me question my new MacBook Pro. It’s not a clamshell like its predecessor, the widely-praised Dell XPS 13, but the new XPS 13 2-in-1 works fluidly in both tablet and laptop configurations. It’s powerful and beautiful, and it comes with Intel’s latest processor and a beautiful Quad HD+ display. If you spring for Dell’s stylus, you can take notes, draw or color over screenshots. Also, it’s notably cheaper than the new MacBook Pro and comes with a built-in microSD card slot. Expect a full review in the coming weeks. — Tucker Bowe, Tech Writer

Bluesmart One

Among my many weird personal tech rules is a ban on embedded tech that anchors you to one specific item in its category. Case in point: backup batteries embedded in things. Why not just have the battery, and put it wherever you want it?

The Bluesmart One, a battery-packing, smartphone-enabled rolling suitcase, goes against everything I hold dear. Yet it’s awesome. The smart-looking carry-on can charge your phone six times via dual USB ports, and the weight of the 10,400 mAh battery is distributed nicely in the case, rather than in your backpack or pocket. The app also lets you weigh the bag with an internal sensor, lock it if it leaves your side, and track it if it gets lost, with no additional fees or charges. Lastly, it has a built-in laptop sleeve for easy access. — Eric Adams, Tech Contributor

More Staff Picks

Nikon’s latest entry-level DSLR, the SteelSeries Arctis 3 Gaming Headset for Xbox One and Nintendo Switch, and a smart bike trainer. Read the Story