Tech review: More gadget gift ideas for the holidays – Brainerd Dispatch

18/04/2024

Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday are over, but the holiday shopping season is still in full swing.

Here are three more gadgets I’ve been reviewing that I think would make nice gifts.

The prices listed here are manufacturers suggested retail pricing, and you may find them cheaper when you shop.

Laifen Swift High-Speed ​​Hair Dryer

You probably can’t tell it, but I’m pretty bald.

I haven’t needed a hair dryer in many years, so when I was asked to review the Laifen Swift High-Speed ​​Hair Dryer ($199.99, laifentech.com or Amazon) I wasn’t too sure.

Luckily, I’m married to a woman with lovely hair, and she’s been testing it out for me.

The Swift looks a lot like the more expensive Dyson Hair Dryer. It has a long handle, very short, round head and the air intake is at the bottom of the handle.

The Laifen Swift Hair Dryer.

The Laifen Swift Hair Dryer. (Handout/TNS)

Handouts/TNS

Its slim size makes it easier to store and pack in a suitcase. It comes with one magnetic concentrator nozzle attachment. There are additional attachments available, including a diffuser and a different concentrator, as well as a carrying bag which is handy for travel.

Laifen says it can dry your hair 5.5x faster with zero heat damage. It’s described as a negative ionic blow dryer, and it has an 110,000 RPM brushless motor.

It has three temperature settings — cool, warm and hot — and it has two speed settings — low and high.

There is an LED light around the back of the dryer that glows blue, yellow or red to show the current temperature. Cycling through the temperature settings is done with a button.

My wife’s only complaint about the Swift has to do with the fan speeds. She wished the low speed was lower. She says the Swift blows harder than she’d like on the low speed.

The Swift is a very nice hair dryer. It’s very quiet and certainly gets the job done quickly.

Poly Voyager Surround 80 UC

Where I work, we use our computers with Microsoft Teams as our telephone system. We make and take our calls through a headset.

I like to think there are two kinds of headsets that you’d wear at work, and which one you use depends on your type of work environment.

If you are in an office where there is a lot of interaction between you and your coworkers, you’d probably want a headset that only covers one ear, so you can carry on conversations without having to remove your headset.

If you work in an office alone, or if you work from home, an over-ear set of headphones that cover both ears will give you the best sound quality.

The Poly Voyager Surround 80 UC Teams headset.

The Poly Voyager Surround 80 UC Teams headset. (Handout/TNS)

Handouts/TNS

I’ve been reviewing the Poly Voyager Surround 80 UC ($449.95, bhphotovideo.com), and I’m surprised at how good they sound and how good my voice sounds to callers, considering there is no boom microphone.

The Surround 80 has a six-microphone array to pick up your voice clearly. For about the first week, I asked everyone on the phone how I sounded, and they were all very positive.

It also has four microphones that are used for the active noise cancelling. Those microphones listen to the sound happening around you and then work to quiet that sound as it happens.

The Surround 80 ships with a pre-paired USB-C Bluetooth dongle that makes setup a snap. It can also connect to your phone and a computer at the same time. Once you have things set up as you like, it does a good job of reconnecting each time you put them on and press the power button.

The headset has smart sensors to know when you’re wearing them. You can set the preferences to automatically answer a call when you put them on. You can also set them to mute an active call when you take them off.

The headband is cushioned, along with the ear cups, and the Surround 80 is very comfortable to wear for extended periods.

The Surround 80 is certified to work with Microsoft Teams and all other conferencing services and music playback is also clear and crisp.

EZQuest Ultimate USB-C Multimedia Hub Adapter

If you’ve got a MacBook Pro or MacBook Air with two Thunderbolt/USB-C ports on the left side, you probably wish it had more ports.

The Ultimate USB-C Multimedia Hub Adapter from EZQuest ($99, eqz.com or Amazon.com) is a great solution for these laptops.

This adapter has 13 ports, and it can provide up to 100 watts of pass-through power.

Ports include two HDMI, VGA, gigabit Ethernet, two USB-A 2.0 and two USB-A 3.0, USB-C, SD and MicroSD card readers and a headphone jack. There is also a pass-through USB-C power input.

To connect all these ports, the adapter connects to your MacBook with both Thunderbolt ports.

The adapter can connect your Intel MacBook Pro to three external monitors, while laptops with M1, M2 or M3 can support different numbers of external monitors depending on the chip. Check with Apple for the number of monitors your laptop can support.

Do yourself a favor and pick up one of these for your computer bag and you’ll always have the ports you need.

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