A roundup from Comica, EZQuest, Kensington and Acoustic Sheep
With the holiday season in full swing, here are a few gift ideas to help make life a little easier for your loved ones.
Affordable Transformable Broadcast Mic
The Comica Traxshot is a great gift, especially for those who truly strive to capture broadcast-quality sound on their smartphone or DSLR camera, even under extremely challenging indoor or outdoor conditions.
The innovative transformable all-in-one cardioid shotgun mic can be adjusted to change shape to switch to one of four recording modes.
Its two capsules can record in mono for a personal interview or two stereo modes where the mics can be set at 30 or 90 degrees for recording music at a concert or ambient sound. It also has a Bi-Directional Front and Rear Mode for two-person interviews.
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Its mics are highly directional, meaning sounds captured at a distance will also be clearer. This can be handy when recording those concerts or ambient sounds from nature, such as seagulls and crashing waves at the beach or wherever things are far away.
Comica’s proprietary Internal Windproof Technology helps reduce wind noise to enhance recordings like interviews and voice-overs in noisy environments. Rounding out the features to keep your sounds pure is the Air-Float Shock-Absorption which absorbs shocks in all directions (front and back). It also has onboard gain control and a low-cut filter.
You can use the built-in headphone jack for real-time monitoring to hear what’s passing through the mic.
While constructed entirely of metal, Traxshot is lightweight and portable enough to bring everywhere. It weighs a mere 4.5 ounces and measures 4.8 x 2.5 x 2.4 inches (122mm x 65mm x 62mm).
It runs on a built-in rechargeable battery, comes in a stylish yet practical carrying case and includes both 3.5mm TRS-TRS & TRS-TRRS audio cables, USB-C charging cable and windshield muffs.
The Comica Traxshot Super-Cardioid Condenser Microphone sells for $239, but you can find one now at Amazon.ca for $190.
Compact 8-Port Multimedia Hub Adapter
A super companion and a great gift for the laptop lover is the EZQuest USB-C 8-Port Multimedia Hub Adapter. It gives all the extra functionality no longer found on our laptops or computers in one pocket-sized gadget.
It offers USB-C Power Delivery (3.0) with pass-thru charging up to 100 watts and 5GBs for data. This enables you to charge your USB-C or Thunderbolt-enabled computer while it’s plugged in while maintaining high-speed throughput. (You will, of course, need to supply an external charger.)
It also comes with a 4K HDMI port for streaming video and audio – ideal for connecting an external monitor to your laptop. It also has a high-speed Gigabit Ethernet network connection when you need wired Internet, as well as an SDHC Micro and SDHC card reader. There are three 5GBs (high-speed) USB 3.0 ports and one BC 1.2 capable of charging smartphones.
It has a sleek modern design made from anodized aluminum. It’s compact, weighing only 85 grams and measuring only 52mm by 105mm by 13mm. It has a built-in 15 cm USB-C cable, so no additional cables are necessary.
A great little stocking stuffer, the EZQuest USB-C 8-Port Multimedia Hub Adapter is compatible with all USB-C computers, USB-C smartphones and tablets with OTG support. It retails for $89.99 and, at time of writing, is available at Amazon.ca for $76.49.
Happy Back, Happy Life
For those who spend oodles of time in a desk chair, no matter the task, the SmartFit Conform Back Rest by Kensington makes for an ideal gift.
It features a patented back support technology designed to easily attach to almost any chair.
Its colour-coded SmartFit System makes it a snap to measure and adjust your backrest to ensure you get the perfect fit. The independent springs then conform to fit your back’s shape, giving you maximum support for your spine and lumbar.
The backrest is made of microfibre and has an interesting s-shape that makes it look like either a pair of floppy ears or a set of lungs. Regardless of how you view it, those support panels are ventilated, allowing your body heat to dissipate, so your back should stay cool and dry as you sit through the day.
In the event of a spill, it has a removable, machine-washable fabric to keep things fresh.
The Kensington SmartFit Conform Back Rest would certainly make for a welcomed gift. It comes with a two-year warranty and a 90-day money-back guarantee. It sells for $89.15 and is available at Amazon.ca.
SleepPhones by Acoustic Sheep
If your loved one likes to listen to their favourite tunes or podcasts while drifting off to sleep and standard earbuds are just not practical, SleepPhones Wireless by Acoustic Sheep – literally headphones in a headband – may be the solution.
Nestled between the layers of comfortably fitting fabric is an easily accessible and removable tiny rechargeable wireless Bluetooth module connected to a pair of flat speakers. The lightweight hypoallergenic headband stays snuggly on the head – even for those who tend to sleep on their sides. It allows listeners to enjoy their audio without worrying about their earbuds falling out or getting strangled by wires as they toss and turn throughout the night.
They are designed for sleeping but are also great for working out or walking outside in the cold while keeping the ears covered.
They come in three sizes, various colours and a choice of two fabric styles: Fleece – for a more soft, warm and luxurious feel – and Breeze – a breathable, cooler style ideal for exercising. Both are non-pilling, made from pre-shrunk and washable 95 per cent polyester and five per cent spandex.
SleepPhones offer basic audio play functions, including a power on/off switch. The battery is now rated for up to 24 hours of play with a recharge time of about four hours.
Wireless SleepPhones retail for US$99.95 and are available directly from SleepPhones.com or Amazon for C$133.95. Models with a built-in mic, wireless charger or a budget-friendly corded model are also available.
Happy Shopping and Holidays!
Greg Gazin, also known as the Gadget Guy and Gadget Greg, is a syndicated veteran tech columnist, communication, leadership and technology speaker, facilitator, blogger, podcaster and author.
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