June brought with it another major Apple event where the company revealed its first headset device, the Apple Vision Pro, which could be its next iPhone or its next Newton. But the month also delivered lots of other new hardware announcements that may have slipped under your radar.
From even more folding phones, to super-sized backup batteries, to even a brand new Game Boy Colour game released by McDonald’s in 2023, make sure to check out all the coolest and weirdest gadgets that arrived in June before your brain completely checks out in July.
LG put a 27-inch touchscreen in a Briefcase
If you travel a lot and frequently find yourself working at a temporary desk without a big screen to connect your laptop to, LG’s second-generation StanbyME tablet/TV/display packs a pop-up, 27-inch, 1080P touchscreen into a portable briefcase complete with a rechargeable battery and speakers so it works as a portable home theatre as well.
Does the TruRest look like a more comfortable way to fly?
An economy plane seat is just about the worst place to try and grab some shuteye, but instead of wrapping a pillow around your neck and reclining back into another passenger’s personal space, the TruRest is a folding device that promises a comfier sleep by having you lean forward while it supports your face and torso.
The Ascender Robovac can climb and clean Stairs
Most robovacs are designed to avoid stairs at all costs, as they won’t survive the tumble. The Ascender is the first robot vacuum that’s promised to not only easily climb up and down stairs using a pair of extending, articulated legs, but also clean each step along the way using omnidirectional wheels that allow it to manoeuvre from side to side.
Reviewed: AirFly SE
The AirFly SE recently showed up at the Gizmodo Australia office. It’s a small gadget with an audio jack attachment, one that reminds us of the internet dongle you probably had during uni. Anyway, it’s a Bluetooth gadget that lets you use your own headphones/earbuds in places where only a jack can be found. We weren’t going on an international flight anytime soon, so we improvised.
A dog treat-dispensing Roomba
Dogs and vacuum cleaners are mortal enemies, but some engineers at iRobot (the company behind the Roomba robovac) want to change that with an optional attachment that swaps the bot’s dust bin for a treat dispenser, with the goal of eventually creating a positive connection between your pupper and the machine that’s cleaning up all (or most) of the messes it makes.
United’s making economy less nightmarish with 4K OLED screens
Passengers should receive a badge of honour every time they survive a flight flying economy, but United recently announced that it’s hoping to make the experience less gruelling by installing Panasonic’s Astrova in-flight entertainment system on several planes which includes large, 4K, OLED screens, Bluetooth connectivity to wireless headphones, and USB-C ports for charging smartphones or even powering laptops.
Reviewed: Hyundai Ioniq 6
The Hyundai Ioniq 6 is a breath of fresh air. While most electric vehicles available in Australia at the moment are SUVs, the Ioniq 6 is very proudly a sedan – and it’s just simply another brilliant electric car from the Korean carmaker. We review the Hyundai Ioniq 6 here.
McDonald’s served up a new Game Boy Colour game celebrating Grimace
McDonald’s in the U.S. is really going all in on Grimace’s birthday with special meals, a bright purple milkshake, and a brand new Game Boy Colour game called Grimace’s Birthday that has the super-sized piece of purple candy corn racing through McDonaldland to find his fellow mascots and bring them to his party. It’s playable online but also works with emulators and Game Boy clones.
Reviewed: Google Pixel Fold
Although companies like Samsung are several generations into their folding phone lines, the Pixel Fold is Google’s first folding device, and it feels like a first-generation product. The screen doesn’t entirely fold flat when opened, and the smartphone’s user interface doesn’t yet take full advantage of the extra screen real estate introduced. Anyway, it’s not available in Australia but our friends in the U.S. gave us FOMO regardless.
Samsung’s still as obsessed with Pokémon as you are
Following a Poké Ball-themed case it released for its wireless earbuds last year, Samsung is rolling out three new Pokémon-themed case options for its Galaxy Buds 2 and Galaxy Buds 2 Pro earbuds, turning them into Ditto, Jigglypuff, and Snorlax.
Reviewed: Dyson 360 Vis Nav robot vacuum
Say what you will about Dyson, but it’s a company that knows how to make a fancy and expensive vacuum cleaner that works. The Dyson 360 Vis Nav is the first robot vacuum cleaner the company has launched in Australia. In fact, the 360 Vis Nav is only being launched in Japan and Australia, likely because we’re being used as test markets before it’s rolled out wider (or maybe I’m reading too much into it). At $2,399, it’s the most expensive vacuum-only robot vacuum cleaner without an auto-empty station in the market. Here’s our review.
How many colours is too many?
The LG InstaView refrigerator with MoodUP LED colour panels was shown at CES this year, but it’s now finally making its way to Australia this month for $7,999. The fridge is customisable, with the ability to select the colour of the LED panels (there are four of them) from up to 170,000 colour combinations. The upper two door panels can be changed to 22 different colours and you get 19 colour options for the lower door panels. To change the colours, you just use the LG ThinQ app.
A disposable-looking digital camera that makes you wait 24 hours to see your shots
Would you be more deliberate and careful with the photos you took if your screen-less camera was limited to just 27 shots and you had to wait 24 hours to see how they turned out? That’s the idea behind the Flashback ONE35: a digital camera that acts like a film camera, sending photographs to a smartphone app a full day after they were taken.
Reviewed: Nissan Leaf EV
While we were impressed with the Hyundai Ioniq 6, we were less impressed by the new Nissan Leaf. The TL;DR? It’s not cheap, its range isn’t competitive, it feels dated to be inside of, and it’s quite a small car. Read more over here.
Zuck announced the Meta Quest 3
Just days before Tim Cook took the stage at WWDC 2023 to reveal Apple’s AR/VR ambitions, Marc Zuckerberg took to his social platforms to reveal the third-generation Meta Quest VR headset which is slimmer, has twice the processing power, and higher-res screens, with a price tag that will start at $829.99.
Hands-on: The Apple Reality Pro is finally a reality
Rumoured for years, June finally brought with it the reveal of Apple’s first VR/AR headset: a slick-looking visor with incredibly high-res screens allowing the Apple Vision Pro to recreate a home theatre experience, or even run multiple mobile apps turning anywhere you’re sitting into a desk covered in giant screens. Does it have what it takes to topple the recently announced Meta Quest 3? With a $US3,500 price tag, many are doubtful. We went hands-on with it here.
Reviewed: Colgate Pulse 2 electric toothbrush
The Colgate Pulse Series 2 electric toothbrush was released in May and will cost you $130. We reviewed it last month and were stuck somewhere between “oh my god I am terrible at cleaning my teeth” and “why does everything have to have a MAC address?”.
IKEA redefines flatpack furniture with a sofa in an envelope
How far can IKEA take its obsession with stuffing large furniture pieces into flat-packed boxes? Apparently, well past the limitations of a box. Designed with the help of an AI used for brainstorming ideas, the company recently revealed its Couch in an Envelope, made from aluminium and biodegradable “cellulose-based fabrics and mycelium foam,” which can be shipped in a vacuum-sealed envelope and weighs just 10 kg.
Reviewed: Google Pixel Tablet
Google’s on-again/off-again relationship with tablets continues with the new Pixel Tablet which hopefully won’t fizzle out again. Although not an industry-leading device by any means, the Pixel Tablet runs Android 13 and manages to distinguish itself from the competition with a very useful speaker dock turning the tablet into what is essentially a passive Nest Hub device when not in use. Still deciding between an iPad and a Pixel Tablet? We’ve got some help.
Anker Solix whole home battery backup system
Anker announced quite a few products last month, but the stand out is its Solix line of super-sized batteries that are large enough to keep an entire home powered for a day, or weeks on end, depending on how many you can afford to install. Designed to be charged by solar panels on a roof, or from the local grid overnight when rates are low, the Solix line isn’t cheap, but you’re buying peace of mind more than anything, which is invaluable.
Reviewed: Amazon adds a pop of colour and calls it a new product
Amazon’s range of Echo speakers haven’t overly impressed us, mostly because they were late to the Aussie smart home market that was saturated by Google devices and presented in a way that was very American. The Amazon Echo Pop changes this. At only $79, its a cute and relatively affordable way into a new smart home.
The mystery of 2,000 ‘80s PCs showing up on eBay
Looking for a good mystery that doesn’t involve murder or other atrocious crimes? For some reason, thousands of NABU (Natural Access to Bi-directional Utilities) computers have become available through eBay, which could be a fun collector’s item for PC fans as the NABU was actually one of the first computers to stream everything from the cloud: games, software, even its own operating system. It was unfortunately too ahead of its time, which is why you can now buy one for just a few hundred bucks.
Reviewed: 15-inch Apple MacBook Air
Although the 15-inch MacBook Air revealed at WWDC 2023 might seem like a small bump in size over the existing 13-inch MBA, we found the larger screen, and its boost in resolution, provided just enough extra real estate to not be completely dependent on a second monitor when working at a desk. The Air models continue to be some of Apple’s best bargains, but we really wish this 15-inch laptop came with more than just two USB-C ports.
The Insta360 GO 3: A thumb-sized action camera
It’s finally time to start considering the Insta360 GO line of action cameras a serious alternative to GoPro and DJI’s offerings. The latest model, the GO 3, gets rid of all recording length limitations, while also boosting resolution and battery life. The GO 3 also connects to a Pod accessory that finally gives the thumb-sized action camera a preview screen for framing shots, that also doubles as a video-streaming wireless remote.
Reviewed: Sony’s 2023 range
Sony has been pretty quiet lately. Well, it’s been busy showcasing its plans for the ‘everything car’, finding you stock of PlayStation 5 consoles, making movies now the COVID-induced fog has lifted (pre-writers strikes), and delivering sweet tunes to our ears. But, the company still considered a heavyweight in the audio-visual space was noticeably missing from CES TV land this year. We take a quick look at Sony’s 2023 TV and soundbar range here, diving deeper on the Sony Bravia top TV here, and we gave its latest soundbar a run for its money, too.
Hands-on: The Razr+ and its folding screen
The Motorola Razr was once the undisputed queen of flip phones with an incredibly slim design paired with awful software that users were happy to ignore. Reborn again in 2019 with a folding screen and running Android, that Razr also felt less than polished, but the latest model might be one of the best folding phones on the market now that it includes a sizeable half-height screen on the outside and starts at $US999.
A wheelless bike that somehow works
The Q on YouTube (not affiliated with the conspiracy group) has shown the world its latest venture: the wheelless bike. The wheelless bike follows a long list of strange bike creations. Previously, as we have (happily) written about, The Q has created a square-wheeled bike and a triangle-wheeled bike.
A flame-throwing robot dog called the Therminator
With wildfires raging across North America that are spreading smoke as far away as Europe, now’s probably not the best time to introduce a flame-throwing robot dog. But that didn’t stop Throwflame from revealing its Therminator last month, which can make short work of what’s left of Canada’s forests using a 9.14 m shooting flame that can also wander across nearly any terrain.
Your smartphone might already have a built-in body thermometer
Many wearable devices, including the latest Apple Watch models, can measure a user’s temperature through their skin but aren’t accurate enough to be used as medical devices for detecting fevers. However, a new app could turn a stock smartphone into a near medical-grade thermometer when the device’s screen is held against a user’s forehead for 90 seconds, without requiring any hardware upgrades or accessories to be attached.
Gaming chairs? We prefer the world’s first gaming sofa
A gaming chair seems like a great accessory if gaming is your job, but if you just want to relax, Bauhutte’s new Gaming Sofa Deluxe seems like a more comfortable alternative. It’s an extra-plush, single-seat sofa that can recline but also includes connection points on each armrest for attaching articulated arms to hold mobile devices or handheld consoles. It’s also got wheels, so you can wheel it to the dining table, or into the living room for watching TV.