ARTICLE – Yesterday, I posted my favorite products of 2023 post and now it’s time to let you know what the rest of the Gadgeteer team thinks. In part 2 of this series, we hear from 10 members of the Gadgeteer team in no particular order, let’s get to it! Also check out Part 1 and Part 3 of this series.
Oladance Open Ear Headphones
The Oladance Open Ear Headphones stay securely in place every time I use them. I lost a previously reviewed earbud to a lake this summer when I leaned over a bridge and looked down. Plop! I should have had the Oladance Open Ears on. They wouldn’t have gone swimming. The Oladance Open Ears have great sound and I like the non-isolation they offer in many settings. My wife hates my ‘huh’ when I have noise reduction headsets on. Oladance helps us keep the peace.
Where to buy: Amazon
Yoose Alloy Mini Rechargeable Shaver
I’ve taken the Yoose Alloy Mini Rechargeable Shaver on two international and four domestic trips since I reviewed it. It continues to deliver a close shave. I can only compare it to my three head shaver that I use at home and while the Yoose takes a couple more minutes and a bit more pressure on the face, it delivers a good shave while taking up minimal shaving kit space. It weighs an ounce less than my regular shaver, but I like its smallness when traveling and it charges quickly.
Where to buy: Yoose and Amazon
KBO Flip e-bike review – a folding e-bike that you’ll flip over
I love this little foldable e-bike! It fits in the back of my car easily, takes but a minute to unfold, and gives a great ride that lets me exercise, but I’m not at the end of my rope after just a few miles. Twenty years ago, I could ride ten miles into work, and ten miles back home over some moderate hills, which wasn’t too bad for someone not in peak condition in their fifties. After moving to an area with little safe biking areas for the last dozen or so years, getting back on a bike is tough. The KBO Flip e-bike makes it much easier, and it’s perfect for me. I joined the Bike Durham Move-a-Bull City ride for the first time in years, where we rode (about 40 of us!) around town learning about bike and pedestrian projects the group is working on.
We traced a bull on the map (above), after a send-off from our local team mascot, Wool E. Bull. (Mascot for the Durham Bulls, of the movie Bull Durham fame.) That’s me on the KBO Flip, circled in red.
Where to buy: KBObike.com
Rattan Quercus Premium Long Range Utility Ebike
My favorite item I reviewed in 2023 was the Rattan Quercus Long Range Utility Ebike. It was my favorite for many reasons, but the main reason is it was just what I was looking for from an e-bike. It’s well built, offers a smooth, comfortable ride, is fast (top speed of 30+ mph), and has a large integrated rear rack with a max capacity of 450 pounds. The Quercus is the perfect commuter bike for me. It allows me to ride to the gym and make trips to my local grocery store, and it is a heck of a lot of fun to ride. I also like its excellent safety features, like a large bright headlamp and a rear brake light with turn indicators. You can also add an extra onboard battery to extend its range to over 100 miles. Be on the lookout for my review update about the battery coming soon.
Where to buy: Rattan
EcoFlow BLADE and Mammotion Luba 5000 AWD robot lawnmowers
The first robotic lawnmower I reviewed this year was the Ecoflow BLADE. A futuristic looking robotic lawnmower. It is the darker one with the crazy front wheels in the pictures. This lawnmower is equipped with a 10 inch mowing deck, and has the ability to actually pick up grass clippings and leaves with the optional EcoFlow BLADE Lawn Sweeper Kit. To be fair, the Robotic Mower worked much better than the Lawn Sweeper Kit. Deploying the mower 3 or 4 times a week left me with only mowing the boundary of the mapped mowing area plus all the unmapped area of course saving me about 50% of my lawn mowing time.
Where to buy: EcoFlow Store and Wellbots.com ( Save $75 when you use code GADGMOW )
In the case of the Mammotion Luba 5000 AWD, the white one in the pictures, I lent the all wheel drive 16 inch mower deck to my neighbor, who could almost map his entire yard, and ran the mower every day alternating between the two halves of his lawn, leaving about 10% at the most to manually clean up. The only issue he really had was that the mower would occasionally lose the signal from the base station, which to be fair was completely blocked by the house. A simple connection with the associated phone App was all that was needed to bring the Luba back to life finishing exactly where it left off.
Finally, both of these products are expensive, and may not be a feasible purchase for many. That said, the time savings that are afforded are real, and a purchaser of either of these robot mowers can expect to reclaim time which is one of our most valuable possessions.
Where to buy: MAMMOTION and Amazon
It’s that time of year to reflect on favorite review items from the past year. I typically fall back on whatever my current robot vacuum is. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the Ecovacs DEEBOT T20 OMNI robotic vacuum and mop, but it didn’t make the coveted top two this year. My favorites for 2023, in no particular order, are:
Rest Evercool Cooling Comforter
This has been a sleep game-changer for us. It keeps us cool at night without chilling. It’s just heavy enough to be nice but light enough so it doesn’t smother. We wish it laundered just a little better as some wrinkles bother my wife, but that’s a small complaint compared to cool sleep.
Where to buy: Restduvet.com and Amazon
Washwow Cup2 Electrolyzed Water generator cup
I travel. A lot. In fact, I’m sitting in my hotel in Dubai as I type this after flying 14.5 hours from Sydney this morning. What does that have to do with anything? I’ve struggled with plaque for years. A few years ago, my dentist had me start rinsing with mouthwash twice a day, and that solved the problem. The issue is when I take extended trips (this one is 105 days), I have to schlep a huge bottle of mouthwash with me or waste time in different places finding a pharmacy or grocery store to buy some. Enter the Washwow 2. It produces a solution of hypochlorous acid and sodium hydroxide using tap water and a little salt. The resulting water can be used as a disinfectant. And, it is USB-C rechargeable. Now, I just travel with my Washwow 2 cup and a tiny travel salt shaker. No muss, no fuss, no TSA liquid issues.
Where to buy: Indiegogo INDEMAND
iKier K1 Pro Max laser engraver
The iKier K1 Pro Max is currently my go-to laser engraver. There are five things that I enjoy about it:
- Power switching (24W/48W laser module): This feature allows you to change the amount of power needed to engrave material (24W) or cut it (48W) with the flip of a switch.
- Automatic air assist: The air assist’s power cable is plugged into the control box so that when the laser engraver is connected to LightBurn, LightBurn can automatically turn it on or off according to the settings I use.
- Autofocus: The Z-axis is motorized so that you can adjust the height of the laser module to the correct focal length automatically with the click of a button that you set up in LightBurn.
- Auxiliary positioning: The Auxiliary positioning infrared laser is attached to the side of the engraver’s laser module. When the laser engraver is powered on, the infrared laser emits a red crosshair pattern on your material. When you properly calibrate it, you can position your material under that laser, and with the click of a button that you set up in LightBurn, the laser head will move to that precise position.
- Automatic sinking: The Automatic sinking feature helps you to cut thicker materials. The Z-axis motor lowers the laser head with each pass over your material so that the focal spot descends into the material until it is cut all the way through. You still have to figure out how many passes it will take to cut the material, but this feature makes it possible to cut up to 20mm thick wood.
Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 5 smartwatch
I love the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 5 smartwatch. It’s fast (2 GB RAM), has ample storage space for my purposes (32 GB), and provides me with all the exercise data I want. Also, receiving an audible notification about incoming calls and texts is paramount to me – if someone calls or texts me, it’s usually important. When I can’t find my phone, I can still answer the call because the speaker works so well. And I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the design. Both the raised flattened lip of the bezel and the crosshatch pattern on the top of the bezel handle bumps well and protect the glass face of the watch, so even now after wearing it every day for the past four months, it still looks new. You can purchase the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 5 smartwatch from Amazon for $349.99 (it is available in black or sandstone colors).
Where to buy: Amazon or Mobvoi
Monster DNA Max wireless speaker
For quite some time I used the same wireless speaker to listen to music out loud. That speaker was retired this year and replaced with the Monster DNA Max wireless speaker. It has a fantastic sound quality, great battery life, and best of all, I can pop it on its wireless charging pad and always be ready to have music on the go. It has enough bass that I am satisfied without getting my walls hammered on by neighbors in my apartment. It is by far my favorite and one of the most used gadgets I have reviewed this year.
Where to buy: Monster Website and Amazon
Oneisall Pet Grooming Kit & Vacuum
The Oneisall Pet Grooming Kit and Vacuum really surprised me when I reviewed it. I wasn’t sure how effective it would be on the thick coat of my mom’s Chow mix, Rosey. However, after using it for months, I couldn’t imagine life without this all-in-one kit. Having the vacuum integrated into the system means we can give Rosey weekly trims without the hassle of her hair going everywhere. Now that we know which attachments work best on her coat, we’re much more efficient, which keeps her calm. I love this kit so much.
Where to buy: Oneisall and Amazon
Able Carry Daily Plus Backpack
For years after buying my GORUCK GR1 in 2015, I swore that I’d never need to get another backpack ever again. Then I reviewed the Able Carry Daily Plus. This pack has quickly worked its way into my daily routine and has yet to show any signs of wear. It’s designed incredibly well, with pockets and zippers placed intuitively and an incredibly durable build. While my GR1 still sees lots of action, it’s more of a battle tank while the Able Carry serves as a stealth fighter.
Where to buy: Able Carry
GL-iNET Beryl AX GL-MT3000 Travel Router
Since reviewing the GL-iNET Beryl AX GL-MT3000 Travel Router, I haven’t taken a single overnight trip without firing it up as soon as I walk into my hotel room. This brilliant hardware makes a security-paranoid traveler like me feel safer both while traveling and when using local public internet hotspots. It’s easy to set up and use, even for a novice, and for the price, it punches way above its weight. This is definitely one of my ‘never-leave-home-without-it’ pieces of tech.
Where to buy: GL-Inet and Amazon
Happy Holidays, everyone! This was another great year for cool tech and innovative gear. My absolute favorite thing from 2023 is a combo package: the LIT Method Strength Machine and Axis Smart Resistance Bands.
LIT Strength Machine
LIT Resistance Bands
The quality of the devices is outstanding, and has shown no wear & tear over the past year. But the thing that keeps me coming back is the commitment to continuous improvement of the app product. The catalog is constantly growing and adding new features. I’m currently in the middle of a program that is custom-built to meet my fitness goals, for example. And now the app is fully integrated with Apple Watch. I can manage my workouts from my phone, and my data is fully integrated in Apple Fitness.
It’s not an inexpensive solution, but I think the whole package continues to deliver tremendous value.
Where to buy: Go to the product page at the LIT Method web site
Polarries E-Cube 100 portable travel adapter
My favorite gadget that I reviewed in 2023 is the Polarries E-Cube 100 portable travel adapter. Yes, it’s heavy, but it plugs into your foreign hotel room (It works in over 200 countries) and lets you plug in your hair dryer and a whole bunch of devices. the Polarries E-Cube 100 features 100W and 2 USB-C ports, 2 USB-A ports and a multi-regions socket. Blow a fuse? I have packed travel adapters halfway across the globe, blown a fuse and then I realize I have a really ugly paperweight. Not with this one because it has an auto-resetting fuse. So I know you are now probably wondering where you can get one of these bad boys for yourself. Well, you can’t. Apparently, the Polarries people made this on a crowdfunding platform and never marketed it outside of that. Bummer.