The M-Care Sonic Electric Toothbrush and its accompanying charger/disinfection box has been a great performer for the past 6 months. It does its job and is a good value when compared to some of the other rechargeable toothbrushes on the market. I like that it dries and disinfects my toothbrush after each use. Get one at BESTEK Direct.
The Unite 20 has wonderful low-light performance (important in my cave — I mean “study”) while working equally well in normal room lighting as well. The built-in microphones are above average and are adequate for basic video conferences, but they don’t really compare to my big Blue microphone. We’ve used the Unite 20 for the past many months for Zoom chats with family, and it has worked well. They are $129.99 on Amazon.
The Kingston 7-in-1 record player has kickstarted my younger son on his journey into the world of vinyl.
I was barely able to finish my review before he laid claim to it. We haven’t really used some of the advanced features, but it has served as a good multimedia device and freed up space in my son’s room. Available from Amazon.
Julie has tasked us with coming up with our three favorite products from 2020 we reviewed. These are my top three (bring on 2021)…
My #1 product I reviewed this year was the Holife Cordless Cyclonic Stick Vacuum. As I mentioned in my review, it is a must have to clean up the daily small jobs on our laminate floors. With 2 dogs and 2 children, this product was one that I did not know I needed, but now I do not know what I would do without.
The Botley 2.0 is a product that my family enjoyed coding and playing with. We also gladly took the opportunity to pass along and share it with other friends and families to have STEM activity time during their virtual learning days at home. I am always grateful for screen-free learning gadgets and this was a good one! Currently $60.88 on Amazon.
STARESSO portable espresso machine (my review is not published yet)
What is not to love about a compact, portable, convenient way to make espresso at home or on the go? I love coffee and I love this product for a quick delicious espresso shot at home.
I am very excited to discover and review new gadgets in 2021!
This was a Kickstarter product that fully funded. Not only was the 3D Printer actually delivered, but it worked wonderfully. What could be better than printing your own gadgets? I have printed dozens of items for around my office and house.
Another Kickstarter product that actually funded. This knife is an absolute beast. Its build is sturdy but precise. I use it almost every day.
This projector got quite a bit of use this last summer. Movie night became more than just a weekend activity. Along with a nice big screen in the back yard, this high quality projector was a hit! Available on Amazon.
I know this isn’t your traditional gadget, but the Ergotron Mobile Sit/Stand Desk has become my go-to for just about everything. From morning coffee on the front porch to doubling as a serving station at Thanksgiving, this mobile workhorse just goes wherever needed and gets the job done. Currently $379 on Amazon.
While it is expensive, the Jabra Panacast camera is so very worth the price in the world 2020 has seen fit to give us. This intelligent camera adjusts to the number of people in the room without cutting off attendees like a standard webcam will do. Plus, at 4k resolution, the video it produces is sharp and clear. Zoom meetings and family gatherings are more enjoyable with this camera, and believe me, that is a sentence I never thought I would write. Currently $695 on Amazon.
The Minisforum EliteMini desktop has become my favorite prototype and test device. Its small size but substantial power has lent itself to everything from serving up video for a party (don’t tell 2020 we had people over!) to running automated processes for development in my day job. A small amount of money that brought a wealth of savings in time and effort. Shop on Minisforum.
A highly portable, multi-level power source that can charge multiple items simultaneously- what’s not to like? Except for the bright blue LED, this unit is perfect to carry around the house for long computing sessions on whichever device you’re using at the moment. Grab one for $79.95 on Amazon.
We’ve been doing a lot of “spelunking” of late: daughters are moving into new places, trying to get rid of some of our accumulated attic and basement junk, plus the all-important evening grilling sessions. All have been improved by this bright, rechargeable, focused lighting unit. They are $49.99 on Amazon.
This super powerful and flexible lighting unit has become my go-to for photos where I need background, fill light, or just a mood light. Long battery life and infinite color and brightness options make it easy to find the right lighting for any project.
Paperlike is one of those set-it-and-forget-it items. It’s a screen protector for your iPad that makes the screen feel like you are drawing on paper when using your Apple pencil. What’s cool is that while it works as advertised, any scratches I’ve encountered on the iPad are on Paperlike, not the screen! And they give you two, so I can replace it with a scratch-free one when the time comes. Check the Paperlike store on Amazon.
I’ve said it before, this is the audio bargain of the year. This little speaker is portable, turns on and off instantly, and sounds great! Plus, when two are paired, you get true left/right stereo. That’s easy to recommend because the StormBox is so cheap, you can buy two. Currently $39.99 on Amazon.
2020 is the year I became enamored with graphics display tablets—brought on by working from home due to the pandemic. The XP-Pen Artist 24 Pro Drawing Pen Display has made my job much more productive and dare I say it—fun. Plus, this tablet makes a great monitor for my desktop when I’m not drawing on it. Some of the built-in shortcut buttons don’t work properly due to driver issues, but since I use my keyboard exclusively for all my shortcuts, I don’t care. Shop XP-Pen on Amazon.
This scooter is well built, fun to ride, and can go the distance.
This mini-computer is quite capable and has become an integral part of my podcasting workflow including handling my incoming calls while other applications are open as well and handling other functions. They are $199.99 on Amazon.
This has become my go-to 3D printer. It levels easily and reliably produces very nice prints. You can buy one for $469.00 on Amazon.
I reviewed five items in 2020. The ones that topped the list are:
The Asmoke pellet grill/smoker was brought out for making game hens in November, and just recently for a prime rib with roasted garlic and mushroom rub. Smoked low and slow for the afternoon, it was awesome for dinner (and many leftovers). The outer crust was beautifully roasted and smoky, and the inner roast was rare-to-medium-rare all the way through. The roast barely fit into the smoking chamber, so my review comment/recommendation about the volume of the smoker continues to be a factor in BBQ planning.
This bag continues to be the perfect protective carrying case for a phone and a wallet for bicycle rides. It fits into the center jersey pocket in my summer and winter jerseys, and I’m reassured that the essentials will stay safe and dry no matter what the weather conditions. The zipper is starting to show some wear, and sometimes does not engage at the corners. (Lots of torque needed to close a serious waterproof zipper around small curves.) But the fix is to fully open the zipper and then close again, plus a little zipper wax a few times a year. I’m delighted with its function.
The carbon iPhone 8+ case went into use in May of 2020 and has stayed there ever since. I have been doing some house projects in the summer that involve both sweat and water, and the previous leather-wrapped phone case would not have survived. It snaps onto its magnetic mount for use in the car – mainly for navigation. And it has definitely protected the phone from a few drops that – if unprotected – could have been expensive. I’ve been very happy with it, and pleased with its durability.
I liked the comfortable fit, the light weight, and the sound quality, especially for the price. These have been my favorite headphones to wear when I’m mowing the lawn, vacuuming the house, or any scenario where I wanted a full-range sound that my smaller earbuds don’t always provide. Even though these aren’t really noise cancelling headphones, they still help isolate the outside world when that’s what you desire.
In many ways this is a great alternative to an Apple Pencil. It’s small, about the size of a regular pen or pencil (compared to the longer Apple Pencil), it’s solid, and made from lightweight aluminum. Even though it doesn’t support all the features of the Apple Pencil, it’s a great alternative when you want to draw, sign, or hand-write in just about any app on your iPad.
This is a great lightweight, powerful portable battery. This is one of the smallest power banks I’ve used but it has enough capacity to charge up just about all of my gadgets, some of them several times over. Top it off with a solidly built case and a neat carbon fiber design, this is the perfect battery for most of your charging needs.