Welcome to the latest installment of Staff Picks. Every other 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. To see what we’ve previously been testing, click here.
Anker Nebula Capule
Anker first announced the Nebula Capsule in 2017 as an Indigogo campaign — advertised as “the world’s most advanced pocket cinema,” the Nebula raised its funding goal many times over and now it’s available for order. Essentially, it’s a portable projector that can create a 100-inch screen and produce 360-degree sound. It’s a neat little gadget that runs on Android OS so you can download apps like Netflix and watch shows or movies; plus, there’s an HDMI input you can connect to your laptop for presentations. The Nebula can act as a standalone Bluetooth speaker, too. Its picture, at 720p, isn’t the greatest, but my first impression is that this could be a really neat travel or camping gadget. Expect a longer review in the coming weeks. — Tucker Bowe, Staff Writer
Caavo 4K UHD
Imagine not needing to ever switch inputs on your television again? That’s the promise of Caavo. The box has eight HDMI ports and two USB ports and a single remote controls them all. The Caavo can also detect which device that you’re using, be it a Nintendo Switch or Roku stick, and will help you jump directly to their screen. There are a few drawbacks that jump out at me, such as the lack of HDR support and the box’s $400 price tag, but it could be worth it if have a bunch of devices that connect to your TV and you want to simplify your home entertainment experience. I’ll know more once I play around with it, but the concept is really interesting. — Tucker Bowe, Staff Writer
Lighthouse Home Security Camera
What makes Lighthouse different than other smart security cameras? At first glance, it can do everything that the best-in-class Nest Cam IQ can do, including recording 1080p video, 24-hour live streaming, and two-way talk; but what really makes it unique is that you can ask it specific questions about the area it is watching — “what time did the Brian get home?” or “Did anybody came in the house today?” — and it’ll answer them. The camera can be set up to message you if somebody isn’t home at a certain time, too, or if somebody enters the house that it doesn’t recognize. The Lighthouse was launched by a company with roots in artificial intelligence, so it has to be the potential to be the new smartest home security camera you can buy. — Tucker Bowe, Staff Writer