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The Gadgets We’re Testing This Week

Including a 4K baby monitor, Fender’s first Bluetooth speaker, a compact mobile charger and B&O Beoplay E4 headphones.

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Welcome to the latest installment of Staff Picks. Each week, we’ll tell you about the tech we’re currently testing — everything from cameras to hi-fi headphones, extremely large desktop monitors to smart home appliances — as well as the grail items we wish we could buy. For our last selections, visit here.

NIFTY Mobile Charger

I was traveling all last week, and between layovers, Ubers and being on set in an abandoned hangar, I had to charge my phone up a lot. The Nifty charger came through. It’s as sleek as the box it comes in, it can charge phones or your MacBook via Type-C, it has a next gen chip-set that detects the device and safely charges it at the fastest speed, it holds four full charges and it completely recharges itself in about two hours. It also has an LED light around the USB port so that in low light I don’t have to fumble around like an idiot…not more than normal, at least. — Bradley Hasemeyer, Contributor

Buy Now: $80

B&O Beoplay E4

There’s a thing that happens when you put in a well-designed pair of noise-canceling earbuds — the world melts away. Few earbuds actually accomplish this, but those that do get slotted into my kit without question. The Beoplay E4s are one of those pairs. I’ve used them on subway commutes, flights to far-off destinations and even tuning out the ruckus at work. Even without playing music through them, the noise-canceling function does an admirable job of tuning out disruptive noise. As an added bonus, they come with foam tips for those who just want to put the whole world in their rearview. AJ Powell, Associate Editor

Buy Now: $249

Fender Monterey Bluetooth Speaker

The Monterey and the portable Newport are Fender’s first-ever Bluetooth speakers. They were announced this week and both look like Fender’s iconic guitar amps: Bronco vinyl covering and silver grille cloth. I had the opportunity to test the Monterey over the last month, and it’s a beautiful, loud and customizable powered speaker; you can easily adjust the volume and EQ via switches and knobs rather than buttons. If you’re willing to spend $350 on non-multi-room or surround-sound speaker, this is a great option. Tucker Bowe, Associate Staff Writer

Buy Now: $350

Nest Cam IQ

We’ve been testing the Nest Cam IQ, the “most intelligent” home security camera, for the last few weeks, and it works great. Its 4K image sensor captures 1080p video and it has a 12x digital zoom. The camera can also identify familiar and unfamiliar faces with Nest’s “Supersight,” and then zoom in and track those faces while they’re in frame. However, at $300, it’s substantially more expensive than other smart security cameras on the market that can do almost as good of a job. Is it worth shelling out for the smartest home security camera? It depends on your own needs. Tucker Bowe, Associate Staff Writer

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