This month’s roundup of The Goods includes hiking boots with sliding plates in the heels, a lightbulb with a speaker in it (or a speaker with a lightbulb in it? We’re still not sure), a blast-chilling fridge that cools a beer in five minutes, and much more.
Click to see the hottest gear of the month.
Etón Rukus Solar
Sunlight can double the Etón Rukus Solar speaker’s battery life to more than 10 hours. A 40-square-inch monocrystalline solar panel provides the 7.4-volt battery with power to play songs from a Bluetooth-paired phone or MP3 player. A low-power E Ink display shows battery status.
Etón Rukus Solar $150 (available May)
Helly Hansen H2 Flow Jacket
The H2 Flow jacket’s unique fleece lining helps keep wearers warmer than other shells. The lining has some 230 13- to 30-millimeter air pockets, which trap heat much the way the spaces between down feathers do. The holes also let cool air rush in quickly when the wearer unzips the jacket’s front vents.
Helly Hansen H2 Flow Jacket $180 (available Sept.)
With the Simple.TV box plugged in at home, viewers can watch or record live TV anywhere. The box connects to a TV signal via coaxial cable and to the cloud via Ethernet. When logged into their device through Simple.TV’s iPad or GoogleTV app, users will eventually be able to stream live TV and DVR’ed shows they’ve saved on the company’s cloud servers.
Simple.TV $149 (plus $5/month subscription)
Samsung Series 7 Gamer
Samsung built its new 17-inch laptop with a dedicated gaming mode. A toggle on the right side of the keyboard simultaneously deactivates the trackpad to prevent errant mouse clicks and turns on a red backlight to highlight the WASD action keys. There’s also a library mode, which dims the screen and mutes the sound.
Samsung Series 7 Gamer $1,800
Craftsman Electric Pressure Washer and Steam Cleaner
Craftsman’s pressure washer is the first to include a steam-cleaning unit to help get grime off grills and patio furniture. For pressure washing, the machine’s pump converts residential water pressure to 1,700 psi. To generate steam, the machine passes water through a 1,500-watt heating element before compressing it.
Craftsman Electric Pressure Washer and Steam Cleaner $220
Adidas Terrex Fast X Mid GTX
Rocky trails can be rough on a backpacker’s knees. Adidas’s Terrex boots reduce the strain associated with heavy foot strikes. Each boot has a plate in the heel that slides forward with every footfall, more evenly distributing the force of impact. The plates rebound between steps.
Adidas Terrex Fast X Mid GTX $175
GiiNii AudioBulb Mini
The AudioBulb Mini combines a 35-watt-equivalent LED with a compact speaker driver, allowing users to add music to a room without taking up extra space. At about five inches tall, the bulb is small enough for table and floor lamps, unlike other speaker-toting bulbs. Users employ a dock, paired over the 2.4-gigahertz frequency, to control the volume and brightness.
GiiNii AudioBulb Mini $90 (bulb only)
LG’s fridge can bring room-temperature beer to 42ºF in five minutes. Users place a can in a compartment and start a high-pressure fan that blows cold air from the freezer below onto the can. Meanwhile, a motor rocks the drink holder to prevent the formation of ice crystals.
LG LFX31935 $3,500 (available midyear)
A pair of Disco2 Bluetooth speakers can play back well-separated dual-channel audio from a paired mobile device better than your average boom box. With two of the seven-inch towers, users may be able to assign one to the left audio channel and one to the right. SuperTooth Disco2
Most noise-canceling earphones contain their audio processing circuitry in a small box strung onto the cable, adding heft to otherwise lightweight pairs. Sony engineers downsized the drivers in the new XBA-NC85D earphones, leaving extra space for a silicon microphone and a quarter-inch noise-canceling processor in each bud.
Sony XBA-NC85D $500
Espro Press 10-cup
Filters on traditional French presses don’t catch all the coffee grinds, leaving mud at the bottom of a drinker’s mug. In its new 10-cup press, Espro added a second filter that’s 12 times as fine as a standard one, so plunging the filter through a brewed pot will trap what a single filter can’t. Espro Press 10-cup