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 last week’s last selections, click here.
Revl Arc 4K Action Camera
GoPro has been THE go-to action camera for nearly a decade, but Revl looks to disrupt this by a simple innovation: building the stabilization into the camera itself. This means you can get 4K footage in a stabilized waterproof camera and you don’t need one piece of extra equipment. After playing around with it for a few days harassing my wife and daughter whenever we went for a walk or got on the train, I can say I’m impressed. Worth noting the stabilization is only lateral, so if you are bouncing up and down you’ll still need a gimbal but this thing is brilliant, durable and even worked when guys shot it out of a rocket! — Bradley Hasemeyer, Contributor
Pacsafe Vibe 40
If you are planning a trip into a dicey part of the world, you’ve probably looked into travel brand Pacsafe. Known for bags with exomesh slash-resistant panels, triple redundancy locking zippers and straps with wires to prevent someone with scissors leaving you bagless they are essentially the Jason Bourne of travel bags. Their Vibe 40 offers all those features plus the versatility of using it as a knock-around city bag or your carry-on piece. I was a little skeptical about the latter use case because I like wheels on my bag, but tested it on a four day trip to LA and it shined. It’s quickly becoming my go-to for adventures at nearby coffee shops or faraway islands. — Bradley Hasemeyer, Contributor
C by GE Sol
In the ever-expanding field of gadgets that are integrated with a smart assistant, meet C by GE Sol. It’s one of the first lighting fixtures with Alexa built-in, so you can ask standard questions like “What’s the weather?” and “When do the NFL Playoffs start?”, or you can turn the light on/off by saying “Alexa, turn the Sol light on/off.” It works with other C by GE smart lights so you can set scenes if you’ve been bitten by the smart home bug. The lamp is actually stunning, in the way it lights up and how it looks, but don’t expect it to replace you’re Amazon Echo or Echo Dot. From my early tests, the Sol isn’t nearly as quick in answering your questions and requests. It’s not super seamless when using voice commands to adjust the brightness and warmth of the light, either — it’s much quicker just using the app. From a visual perspective, there’s a lot to like about the lamp, but the software and user experience can use some firmware updates. Fortunately, its $150 price tag has been dropped to $100, making the C by GE Sol much more appealing. — Tucker Bowe, Staff Writer
Powerdot Smart Muscle Stimulator
Professional athletes have been using electronic muscle stimulation (EMS) before, during and after their workouts for a long time but it hasn’t been as easy, portable or affordable until Powerdot. Packing into a case about the size of travel headphones, the “dot” connects to your smartphone and uses an app offering numerous options for EMS. I was admittedly a little nervous about purposely sending electronic pulses through my body, but the app makes it easy and even if you aren’t an Olympian, the recovery mode is great for muscles after a long run or even a nice relaxing massage. — Bradley Hasemeyer, Contributor
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