- Buyer's Guide
My Favorite EDC Tech Gear from CES 2020
The Consumer Electronics Show, aka CES, is a ridiculously huge convention, the largest in the world, bringing nearly 200,000 people (source: my Lyft driver) to the sandy edges of reality in Las Vegas each year. It spreads out through the Las Vegas Convention Center and overflows into several other hotel convention centers, ballrooms, and even onto the street with car tech.
I shuffled with the masses past mountains of 8K TVs, robot helpers, human Google assistants in colorful beanies, and 3D printers for a total of nearly 35 miles (source: the fitness tracker in my phone) over 4 days in search of gear that would improve my travel or everyday carry experience. And though standing in front of see-through TVs that took the place of windows made me feel like I’d seen a piece of our future, there really wasn’t much that stoked the fires of my minimalist packing heart.
That is, except for these few items, which got me unreasonably excited (source: my wife).
I won’t fly without noise-canceling headphones. There are very few things in life that can improve an experience so dramatically for me as a pair on a flight. I use the Bose QuietComfort 35 wireless headphones II. They work. They’re comfortable. They’re huge. I usually travel very, very compactly. For instance, I went to London for a week with only a Tom Bihn Co-Pilot (a 600 cu. in. / 10-liter bag) and the headphones took up nearly a quarter of the bag. I have noise-canceling headphones that are little, individual wireless earbuds – so nice and tiny! But they run outta juice after an hour or so, not long enough for even a short flight.
That’s why I was very excited to see the MPOW M20’s. I haven’t had a chance to test them yet, but they are supposed to last 6 hours on a single charge, fast charge in the case for 10 minutes and get an extra 2 hours. The case holds enough juice for a total of 106 hours and the whole thing easily fits in your pants pocket or disappears in a bag. And they’re only 50 bucks. So hey, I’m going to get a pair and test them out on my next flight.
I’m a filmmaker with photographer tendencies. I like lighting. When I first saw the MOON Ultra, a selfie light designed to clip to your phone, I was drawn in by the clean design and the sheer tinyness of it. It’s so cute. But then Ed, the CEO of the company, ran me through the features and I was really impressed. It’s rechargeable via micro USB, dimmable from 0 to 400 lux and you can even change the color temperature from 5000 to 2700 Kelvin to match the light temperature of your location. It’s even rated over 90 CRI, making it more color accurate than I expected.
The light is controlled by touch – which is incredibly intuitive – and comes in a super small little hard case. They gave me one to test out and I’ve been having a lot of fun with it. Though it’s designed to clip to a phone, tablet or laptop, you can use it off the phone to create more dramatic lighting, which is how I’d use it most of the time. I’m excited to see what these guys come up with next!
Whether it’s for hands-free Skype calls, watching movies on long plane flights, or standing it up so I can type with a little Bluetooth keyboard to catch up on emails as quickly as possible, having a phone stand that is always attached to my phone case has been one of my travel requirements for years. The guys over at Ohsnap have created a very clever multi-use phone accessory that works as a grip, stand, magnet and sticky mount that dramatically improves where you can put your phone.
To get the full idea, it’s best to check out their promo video, but basically it sticks to the back of your phone case. It’s only 3mm thick so your phone still slips into your pocket. But when you want to use it as a grip or a phone stand you pop the rubber back and it snaps out. It also has magnets built into it so you can stick your phone to various metal surfaces in the kitchen, at the gym, etc. Handy! It even comes with a small metal plate that has reusable sticky on the back, so you can put the plate on something like the headrest of the seat in front of you and then use the magnets on the Ohsnap to stick your phone to the metal plate.
You can slip the magnet mount off your phone pretty easily if you want to use a wireless charger, but for me it’s a bit of a hassle to do that, so I would only use it on a phone if I was going to plug it in to charge. So keep that in mind. Not that I’ll get to use it anyway. I brought one home from CES to play with, but my wife and son both want to keep it for themselves. Oh well.
Asus showed off the ROG Zephyrus G14 – a new 14″ laptop that’s coming out in a few months. It’s designed for gamers, but that usually means it’ll work great for editing video, too! I’ve checked out the specs and it’s got me very excited. It looks like I’ll finally be able to do some real editing on the road and in the air. I cut 4K raw video in DaVinci Resolve and it looks like this G14 will be able to handle that easily. There are going to be different versions, but the one I like will have an 8-core AMD Ryzen 7 4800HS CPU and a GeForce RTX 2060 GPU. The screen covers 100% of the sRGB spectrum too! And all this in a package that weighs about 3.5lbs. There’s no price listed on it yet, but it’s going to be spendy, for sure. Still, I’m going to grab one the second it hits the streets.
But what good is a compact laptop if you have to bring along a giant power brick? Enter the Eggtronic Sirius Universal Laptop Charger. It spits out 65W of power yet weighs only 95g and measures just 2.70 x 1.98 x 0.77 in. That is smaller than a deck of cards! And thanks to the fold-flat prongs this is easier to carry than my phone charger. They gave me one to test and though my wife doesn’t understand why I’m so excited about it, it’s been a joy to use. It seems to work just as well as the giant brick that came with my laptop, but I could carry it around in my pants pocket if I wanted to. And I kind of do. This is the future I want from technology. Now bring me my flying car!
The Sirius includes a very nice 6-foot USB C to USB C cable, which is just what I needed for my computer, but they do sell USB C to DC tips separately if your laptop is still living in the past. I’ve used this charger with my headphones, mobile phone, backup batteries, wireless charger, and my Lenovo X1 Carbon laptop and it’s worked great all around. I have lots of gear that if I lost it, I’d think twice about replacing it with the same one, but this is one of those things I’d re-order right away and probably wait by the door for it to arrive.