This week in the world of tech and gadgets, Apple invested big in the company that makes the protective glass on its iPhones; the first leaks of Sony's upcoming wireless earbuds, the WF-1000XM4, appeared; Xbox announced a convenient way for consumers to register to purchase its next-gen consoles; and a company called Facer announced a neat way to get customized faces for your Apple Watch.
Of course, a bunch of new gadgets were announced, too. We've rounded them up below.
Bluesound Node and Powernode (3rd-gen)
Bluesound announced new and refreshed versions of its Node and Powernode digital music streamers. They don't look drastically different, but Bluesound decked each new model with a more powerful processor and an improved DAC that supports high-resolution audio (up to 24-bit/192kHz and MQA files). They also have touch preset controls so you can quickly start playing music (from your choice of source) just by touching the device. As before, the updated Node is designed to work with powered or active speakers, while the Powernode has a built-in power amplifier so it can work with a pair of passive speakers.
Price: $549 (Node); $899 (Powernode)
Wyze Buds Pro
Wyze has just announced its first pair of truly wireless earbuds, the Wyze Buds Pro — and they look almost exactly like Apple's AirPods Pro, just in black. They also have many of the same features, such as active noise cancellation and wireless charging. The big difference is price. While Apple's AirPods Pro cost $249 (although they're often on sale for around $200), the Wyze Buds Pro are priced at just $60.
The Wyze Buds Pro are available for preorder right now. Wyze expects them to start shipping in late July.
Naim Uniti Atom HE (Headphone Edition)
Naim is releasing a version of its beautiful all-in-one streamer, the Uniti Atom, that's optimized for audiophiles listening on headphones. It looks very much like the award winning streaming streamer — same LCD display and wonderfully large volume knob — but Naim engineered it with a new discrete headphone amplifier. It's compatible with a wide-variety of headphones and works with most streaming services, including Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal and Qobuz. It supports AirPlay 2 and Chromecast streaming, too. If you want, the Uniti Atom HE can work as streaming preamp, as well, for those who pair it with a set of powered speakers or an integrated amplifier. It's available now.
Fluance A-Series Bookshelf Speakers
Fluance is a Canadian-based audio company that's best known for its line of affordable yet high-end turntables. This week, it announced two new pairs of powered bookshelf speakers that can partner those turntables. There's the Ai41 and Ai61, the latter being the slightly larger, more powerful and better-sounding of the two — but besides that, they're basically identical. Both speakers can be connected to any turntable with a built-in preamp. They have built-in Bluetooth so you can stream directly from your smartphone or computer. And you can even use them as TV speakers via an optical or RCA connection. The best part? Both pairs cost less than $300.
Price: $249/pair (Ai41); $299 (Ai61)
SteelSeries Rival 5
The Rival 5 is SteelSeries's newest gaming mouse. It's affordable and versatile, and should be a good fit for most gamers, whether they're playing Valheim, Fortnite or Minecraft. It has a number of primary and thumb buttons, toggle bars, an RGB-backlit scroll wheel and a DPI switcher. It also has a TrueMove Air optical sensor for accuracy. Its lightweight and ergonomic design should make it comfortable, too. And at just $60, it's a good chunk cheaper than a lot of other gaming and standard mice (like Apple's $79 Magic Mouse).
The Rival 5 is available now.
Bose SoundControl Hearing Aids
Bose announced its first-ever pair of hearing aids, the SoundControl Hearing Aids, this week, and they're designed to help adults with perceived mild to moderate hearing loss. There are two really cool things about the SoundControl Hearing Aids. First, you can buy them and get them up and running without going to the doctor, getting a hearing test or prescription. And secondly, they cost $850, which is actually very affordable compared to most other hearing aids. According to Bose, the SoundControl Hearing Aids were "optimized, conceptualized, developed, and tested solely to improve hearing and does not stream music or calls."
Amazon Echo Show 8 and Echo Show 5 (Updated)
Amazon quietly announced slightly refreshed models of its Echo Show 8 and Echo Show 5 this week. The larger of the two, the refreshed Echo Show 8, has been outfitted with a camera system with a wider field of view; this allows it to pan, zoom and track a subject as they walk around the frame (this is the same thing that the Echo Show 10 has been able to do). The Echo Show 5 has a slightly better camera, too, (but can't do track the subject around the frame like the refreshed Echo Show 8); more significantly, Amazon dropped the price by $5.
Price: $85 (Echo Show 5); $130 ( Echo Show 8)