It’s starting already. With the holidays coming up, it seems like a cool new tech gadget is being released nearly every day. Below are some of the most exciting pieces of gear now available for purchase, from crash-proof drones to VR headsets that are actually comfortable to wear.
The Lenovo Phab 2 Pro is the first smartphone to include Tango, one of the most ambitious pieces of VR/AR technology currently in play. It uses a multi-camera and multi-sensor setup to detect depth and motion, so it can digitally map the space around you and locate you within that space. The Phab 2 Pro uses this software for things like augmented reality games and an app that lets you virtually test out a new piece of furniture in your home. The device is huge—more tablet-sized than phone-sized—but that’s because its capabilities are far more advanced than the AR we’re used to (think Pokémon Go on steroids).
The Google Daydream View, released earlier this month, is a step up from the Cardboard, but it still has the same basic function—as a holster for a VR-equipped phone. Lighter than the Gear, the Oculus, or the Vive, and made from soft fabric, it’s the most comfortable VR-viewer yet. It’s also less expensive than other viewers (it currently retails at $79). Although the Daydream is definitely a step forward design-wise, it still has some downfalls: light leaks in through the sides, and the device is only compatible with the Google pixel phone, which also gets extremely hot during use. The Daydream is definitely not there yet, but it’s a good example of a potential form for VR viewers to take: more like clothing than tech. If you’re in New York, you can test out the technology in Google’s pop-up shop in Soho through the end of the year.
Also at the pop-up shop is Google’s response to the Amazon Echo—a digital personal assistant that aspires to turn your apartment into Disney’s Smart House. The Google Home can manage your calendar, give a personalized overview of your day (including weather and traffic predictions), and link to your stereo, TV, light switches, and thermostat. The device comes in seven colors, and promises to get more exciting features as time goes on.
Finally, if you’re looking for some tech to get you outside, check out the DJI Phantom 4 Pro Drone, which became available for pre-order this week. It can fly 31 miles per hour while avoiding obstacles, is nearly impossible to crash, and has upgraded photo capabilities with a larger sensor and dynamic range. It’s currently at the top of the game for amateur drone photographers, and at $1,500, you’ll be glad for those extra built-in anti-crash measures.