Staff Picks

The Tech Gadgets We’re Testing This Week


September 29, 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 hi-fi headphones, extremely large desktop monitors to smart home appliances — as well as the grail items we wish we could buy. For last week’s last selections, click here.

iPhone 8 Plus

The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are officially out now. I’ve had the 8 Plus (256GB) for a few days now and I have to say, it feels like a normal iPhone. It’s got the same look and feel as the iPhone 7 Plus, plus a dual-camera system and dedicated home button with Touch ID. Wireless charging is kind of cool if you’re willing to pay extra for a charger, but the coolest feature on the iPhone 8 Plus is Live Photos; because its camera system is slightly better than last year’s iPhone 7 Plus, you can take a photo on the iPhone 8 Plus and then afterward turn that photo into a GIF, Vine-like loop or long exposure. Those are my initial impressions — expect a full review shortly. Tucker Bowe, Associate Staff Writer

Anker PowerHouse

Gear Patrol sponsored a retreat at the end of this summer called the Mid-Atlantic Overland Festival, where we basically camped out in middle-of-nowhere Pennsylvania and hung out with like-minded adventurers who wanted to get off the grid. There was dirt, beer, gadgets and off-road vehicles. For those three days we used this miniature generator to power all of our gadgets. It’s small and fairly lightweight, and packs 434 watt-hours of power — enough to recharge a bunch of iPhones several times over. (Anker claims it will recharge a phone 40 times over.) Tucker Bowe, Associate Staff Writer

MixPre-3 by Sound Devices

The MixPre-3 from Sound Devices won’t put audio guys out of a job, but it will certainly make a dent in smaller-budget productions that can’t afford a seasoned audio mixer on set. With easy-to-use knobs, three input channels and Sound Devices’ new Kashmir preamps, plus built-in hardware to make sure your mic’d subjects virtually never peak, the MixPre-3 is a one-stop shop for conducting interviews, podcasts, live streaming or recording. It’s compact enough to fit in your camera bag and the dual 1/4-inch mount makes it perfect for connecting to a camera and putting the whole rig on a tripod. For about the day rate of a non-union audio guy, you can get the MixPre-3 and not worry about leaving another scene on the cutting room floor simply because of bad audio. Bradley Hasemeyer, Contributor

Moment Battery Photo Case for iPhone 8 (and iPhone 7)

Just in time for iOS 11 to ruin my battery usage on my iPhone 7s, Moment released their new battery case. It uses the same simple mount system for their razor-sharp lenses; it holds a full charge; it comes with an electronic shutter button; and it still slides into your pocket. Bonus: to recharge, the case uses the same Lightning port as your phone. Bradley Hasemeyer, Contributor

Last Week’s Gear

Including a Logitech’s new wireless charging system, the Blackmagic Web Presenter, and a transmitter that turns your iPad into a wireless display for your MacBook. Read the Story