Rad and random things I found this week
The end-of-week dispatch from PopSci’s commerce editor.
My job is to find cool stuff, so I spend hours each week scouring the web for goods that are useful, innovative, fun, or ridiculously cheap (but still quality). Often times, these choices coalesce into a guide of like items—for example, the best air purifiers, great headphones to rock or run with, or simply pizza makers. But I often stumble across awesome gear that’s so unique, they don’t fit any list. And that’s the story of how we ended up with this Rad and Random Catalog.
The smart little toaster
Revolution Cooking 2-Slice High Speed Smart Toaster
A smart toaster might sound unnecessary, but having the extra finesse is actually nifty. You’ll be able to choose what type of food you want to eat—bagel, waffle, Pop-Tart, etc.—and then pick how well-cooked you want it on the device’s touchscreen. You can even note whether bread is fresh, frozen, or just needs to be reheated.
Once you’ve made your choice, the toaster will automatically lower the food and trigger a countdown. (No more eggs sitting there for an extra 30 seconds as you wait for your bread to toast.) The Revolution Cooking toaster also has a removable crumb tray, so it minimizes that counter mess.
Sennheisser’s Momentum 3 wireless headphones produce epic sounds with 42mm transducers that deliver complex, super-wide mixes. They’re pricier than other high-end pairs, but the sound quality is truly superior. The sheepskin and leather ear cups adjust on stainless steel sliders and fit around your lobes rather than on top of them, making them way more comfortable.
Tech-wise, the Momentum headphones have three active noise-cancelling modes—max, anti-wind, and anti-pressure—that help phase out unwanted outside noise. The controls are accessible on the right ear pad, with buttons to adjust the volume, answer phone calls, and access Siri or Google Assistant. A transparent hearing mode uses the headphones’ external microphones to deliver surround sound, so you don’t need to take off your headphones when someone’s asking you a question. These same microphones also deliver audio on phone calls. Within Sennheiser’s Smart Control app you can adjust the ANC modes, toggle transparent hearing on and off, and use the visual equalizer.
The headphones come with a 3.5mm wire, USB-C to USB-A adapter, and USB-C cable. They are available in black and off-white and are already looped in with the Tile app, in case you misplace your beloved tech and need to locate it.
A sensible trash can
Open Simplehuman’s smart trash bin with a wave of your hand or by saying “open can.” The sensor motion and voice sensor solves a common wastebasket problem: Sometimes your hands are too full to lift the lid, or your foot is too heavy and breaks the hinge. With Simplehuman, just speak your mind and dump everything in. It also traps smells inside and has an antimicrobial and anti-fingerprint coating.
This device comes in two models: a 58-liter option for just landfill garbage or one that has a 24-liter recycling section and a 34-liter trash compartment. The recycling bucket has a handle, so it’s easy to lift it out of the trash can. The built-in bag repository also makes it easy to know when you’re running low.
Among my favorite affordable, over-ear headphone options right: Status Audio’s BT One Wireless Headphones. I was skeptical at first—they didn’t feel quite as sturdy as other pairs I’d tried, and I was wary they’d break. But I was wrong. They are sturdy and made it through two weeks of me haphazardly mashing them into my bag. I also sat on them more than once. You know, for the review.
The bass is solid and warm, while the treble is crisp and clear, making these one of the better-sounding pairs of headphones under $100. They have 40mm drivers and feature Bluetooth 5.0 for reliable connectivity and the ability to connect two devices at the same time. They also boast 30 hours of battery life, which is huge for someone like me, who is pretty terrible about plugging in my devices at night. Controls on the left ear cup allow you to answer phone calls and adjust the volume. In the box you’ll find a carrying case and 3.5mm cable for plugging in your headphones.
Stress-relieving sleep companion
Purple + Gravity weighted products
I’m a sleep skeptic. I struggle at getting shut-eye and can’t believe that others manage it so easily. So, yes, you could say I’m interested in tech that helps me get those zzz’s.
Purple recently partnered with the makers of the Gravity Blanket to create some surprising gear that will be available until the end of the month. One is ta weighted sleep mask, which didn’t necessarily help me fall asleep any faster, but I think it helped me sleep longer by keeping out light and gently holding my eyelids down. Similar to weighted blankets, the evenly distributed glass beads are intended to reduce stress and bring calm. The mask weighs half a pound, is made of fleece, and uses adjustable velcro straps to stay around your head. (Mine fell off anyway.) I was most nervous about the extra material on my face causing me to overheat, but the mask felt pleasantly cool through the night.
A plain gray tee
There’s no shortage of quality sheep’s wool products, but I’m really digging Unbound Merino’s products. Their garments, like the wool crew-neck t-shirt, are comfortable and flattering, plus they’re made of odor-resistant, sustainably sourced materials. The fabric is surprisingly breathable, too.