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Groundbreaking Gear

Innovation zooms around us constantly at a breakneck pace. So, we’ve done the homework to bring you 10 innovative products.

Image Generated by Gabrielle Doré via Midjourney

Unveiling the future of innovation, our groundbreaking gear gift guide showcases cutting-edge marvels guaranteed to captivate. Dive into a curated collection of gadgets that redefine the limits of technology and luxury, designed for those eager to embrace the next big thing.

FENDI Insulated Bag $2,100

Courtesy of FENDI

I don’t usually walk around with a handbag, but when I saw FENDI releasing a $2,100 insulated bag, which is long form for “lunch bag,” I just had to look closer. If you need to keep your yogurt chilled for that midday tête-à-tête on Jeff Bezos’ ridiculous super yacht, this is your shoulder jam. 

That yacht crack isn’t too far off the mark, either. The insulated bag is part of what FENDI calls its lifestyle line, a series of products designed specifically for vacationers. Other members of the line include the bag’s sibling, the insulated flask holder (i.e. thermos), as well as a long list of games and recreational sporting goods.

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The bag closes using a zipper to keep whatever’s inside fresh. And it encapsulates those items in a beige fabric that’s attractively accented with white and brown braided natural raffia. 

Is it hyper-expensive? Yes. Is it worth it once you stand out during your boat’s lunch hour? That’s up to you, but if you’re lunching on a big boat, I expect so. 

DJI Mavic 3 Pro $2,999

Courtesy of DJI

Most of us have experienced the zooming joy that flying a drone will bring. But usually, it’s while your little niece or nephew is standing next to you, since it’s the favorite toy they got for Christmas last year. That’s not the Mavic 3 Pro. If you’re a professional photographer relying on drone imagery for work or an experienced enthusiast shooting videography for your enjoyment or social media, then the Mavic 3 represents the current pinnacle of the remote-controlled flying shutterbug.

We don’t want to drone on (ow!) about its hardware specs, but those cameras are fantastic. They come as a trio, each with its own sensors and focal lengths. If you’re unsure what that means, it’s this: unbelievably fast and detailed video at up to 50 frames per second (fps) and at an eye-goggling 48 megapixels. So, you’ll see the individual teeth in your subject’s mouth as they open it to scream because you just strafed their hairline. Even if your subject is very far away, the Mavic’s “hybrid zoom” will adjust on the fly and pop your view stunningly close.

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If you’re not such a great drone pilot, then the Mavic 3 Pro can help there, too. The device has enhanced omnidirectional sensors that work with a built-in GPS to help make sure you don’t crash in places with a complicated landscape. And if you lose it, the Mavic 3 has an advanced auto-return feature, so the drone can trundle on home if your remote drops contact. 

But the most remarkable feature of the Mavic 3 Pro is sold separately from the drone. Strap on the DJI Goggles, and you’ll get an excellent first-person experience of what your drone sees and how it moves. Just be careful if you’re prone to motion sickness. 

Pela Lomi Composter $350

Courtesy of Lomi

The Lomi Composter is a compact solution for a greener kitchen. About the size of a cooking pot, it has a tight-seal lid and two carbon filters, keeping odor inside. It comes with a list, so you’ll know what’s OK to drop in there. Pela estimates it can compost over 30% of the typical household’s food.

The basic cycle takes three to five hours, turning food waste into dirt that you should put into your green bin or yard. The second mode—Lomi Approved—allows it to compost certain bioplastics as well. Finally, there’s the Lomi Grow mode, a 15- to 20-hour process that results in nutrient-rich soil you can use on your plants.

izzo Four-in-One Oral Care System $125

Courtesy of izzo smile

My dentist loves me. I’ve put at least two of his kids through college with teeth that seem genetically inclined to cause me as much trouble as possible. Perhaps if I’d used the izzo Four-in-One Oral Care System, the people at my dental insurance provider wouldn’t be tossing darts at a picture of my face. 

The izzo kit is centered on an electric toothbrush. However, its abilities and accompanying attachments set it way out in front of those battery-operated jobbies you buy in the toothpaste aisle. 

For example, the brush has an ergonomic motor that lets you clean your chompers in three settings: daily, gentle, or ultra. It also has two separate heads: one oscillating head for your brushwork and another that’s a polishing head complete with polishing paste.

Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate $1,399

Courtesy of Asus

There are a load of new phones coming out this year, as there are every year. Shiny new rectangles with ever higher-rez screens and ever more megapixel cameras. Awesome, but a little boring after a while. Not so, says the Asus ROG Phone 7 Ultimate. 

The ROG 7 puts Asus in the leader’s circle of a relatively new category: the gaming phone. If you’re new to the trend, gaming phones, while still smartphones in the traditional sense, are optimized for those who want to play games on the go, not just check emails.

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Some gaming phones aren’t the best choices for those everyday tasks because they pack way more hardware and battery power than necessary. But if you’re looking to play one of the vast numbers of Android titles at its absolute highest settings, this is the device of choice. 

You can check out its hardware muscles on Asus’ site because that’s where the innovation comes in. Asus’ new OS has features specifically for gamers. One hardware aspect worth mentioning is the ROG 7’s battery. It’s a honker that provides excellent life even when you’re running power-sucking games. There’s no wireless charging, but Asus has included a super-fast 65-watt wired hookup. Finally, an AeroActive Cooler attachment (separate from the phone) will help with all that gaming hardware heat. 

Nike Air Penny 2 x Stüssy $200

Courtesy of Nike

It’s incredible that shoe companies can still improve on something that seems as simple and essential as a sneaker. But they do, especially Nike. This time they’ve collaborated with boutique designer Stüssy, a CA-based company founded way back in the day by a well-known surfboard maker. Stüssy began making athletic outerwear in the mid-80s, but never footwear, which is why the company collaborated with Nike on this offering. 

That alliance has resulted in an ultra-cool custom sneaker housed in Nike’s Penny line. True to a positive commitment to sustainable materials, the shoe is constructed from hemp and synthetic suede materials. That gives it a two-tone look, available in several styles, though my favorite is the Rattan and Limestone version (pictured). This one isn’t overly loud and easily fits into most ensembles, yet is still eye-catching.

Nike’s Air Penny line honors Anfernee Deon “Penny” Hardaway, a former college and NBA great who is now coaching the Memphis Tigers. He’s also a noted philanthropist, funding things like the University of Memphis Sports Hall of Fame.

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So aside from the Stüssy styling, this sneaker remains a prime example of that Air Penny line, one of the company’s most popular athletic shoes. It is known for excellent traction and a comfortable cushion based on Nike’s front foot and heel Zoom Air feature. What it’s really known for, though, is its support. 

As long as you take the time to fit it properly (something best done in person rather than online), an Air Penny will keep your feet comfortable but also ensure that they can’t slide inside the shoe while maneuvering around the court. It’s an excellent overall athletic shoe, even when compared to other Nike offerings. And the fact that it’s now even more stylish, honors an NBA great, and is made from sustainable materials makes it one of the best sneakers you can buy in 2023.  

Netgear Meural Canvas II $599

Courtesy of Netgear

If you’ve got a digital picture frame on your desk or mantle that cycles through your wedding photos off a USB thumb drive, you can put that setup in the rearview. The Meural Canvas II changes the digital frame game.

Netgear is known mainly for its home networking gear, things like Wi-Fi routers, and range extenders, but with its acquisition of Meural in 2018, Netgear has also stepped into digital art. 

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The Meural relies mainly on a Wi-Fi connection to gather its images, but there is a separate (and separately corded) docking station with slots for SD cards and USB drives. With its mobile app, you can set up the Meural, upload your personal photos, and browse the device’s massive library of digital masterpieces. 

The Meural supports gesture control, so you can swipe through images with a wave of your hand. You can get more information about paintings and their artists, change settings, or even schedule different playlists to run at other times. 

Konnected Joe $1,700

Courtesy of Kamado Joe

Kamado grills are known for their flexibility—grill, smoke, roast—incredible heat efficiency, and all-day cooking on a single load of charcoal. They are not known, however, for being terribly innovative; humans have been cooking in ceramic pots for more than 20,000 years. With the release of the Konnected Joe, all of that is about to change.

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The challenge with Kamado grills has always been controlling the temperature; the only means of doing that is to control the airflow by adjusting the vents. But in the new Konnected Joe, you can set the temperature and let the device manage it for you. The Wi-Fi enabled Konnected Joe comes with multiple internal thermometers and a “Kontrol” fan that allows it to reach and maintain a constant temperature. You can monitor the Joe from your phone and even follow one of the hundreds of recipes found in the app.  

Yes, you will need access to a power outlet and a Wi-Fi network to make the most of the Konnected Joe, but with that, you can get the best, most convenient grilling experience available.

Nix Hydration Biosensor $129

Courtesy of Nix Biosensors

If you’re athletically inclined, you should know the importance of staying hydrated while working out or playing. That was especially true in 2023’s dog days of summer when the world broke temperature and humidity records.

There is a load of athletic devices out there that’ll remind you to hydrate, but the Nix goes way beyond that, personalizing itself to your body and doing a deep analysis of what it finds. The Hydration Biosensor is a data-gathering device that works using two components. The sensor pod is the brain, transmitting data to your phone using Bluetooth. The sensor patches are single-use and get attached to you like athletic tape. 

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Once the biosensors are positioned, the Nix will constantly analyze your body fluid levels and how fast you’re losing electrolytes. That’s essential data on an extra-hot day, but athletes can sweat anytime. Fortunately, the slim design of the patches mean you won’t have trouble with them catching on sleeves if you’re running in colder weather.

As it does its thing, the Nix will give you dynamic prompts when it’s time to hydrate, based on its monitoring. The sensor can issue these to your smartphone, but you can also pair it to an Apple Watch and several versions of Garmin’s smartwatches. 

The Nix shines when collecting long-term data. After you’re done with your workout, you can prompt the sensor pod to download that workout’s data to the phone app, and the software will automatically correlate it over time and toss up recommendations for a more efficient hydration routine. It also lets users know how they perform at different hydration levels, so I can feel a little worse about myself.  

Valve Steam Deck $474

Courtesy of Valve Corporation

If you’re a gamer, you began hearing about the Valve Steam Deck last year, and the news was undoubtedly mixed. When it was introduced in 2022, many doubted this handheld console’s viability, mainly because it’s a Linux device that wants to play Windows games.

The Steam Deck is a truly portable Windows gaming platform that doesn’t sacrifice playability or performance. This thing has the GPU power to run all but the latest PC games at their full graphics settings, right in the palm of your hands. Competitors often have complex or even buggy operating systems on these kinds of devices. But the Steam Deck runs on an easy OS that’s not only smooth but lets you tailor your gaming experience in several ways, including the GPU’s speed, the frame rate, or even more granular things like how much juice the CPU will consume.

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Other things that set the 2023 Steam Deck apart from its competition: Not only does it work for the vast majority of PC games, but it does not compromise on anything. The closest thing to the Steam Deck might be the Nintendo Switch, and while that product works well, it lacks the power to run games at the performance level you’d be able to enjoy them on a PC. 

If it’s a PC game, it’ll play on the Steam Deck, a claim that’ll be true for all but the most bleeding-edge titles. It’ll probably take a bit for Valve to get those working reliably, but they’ll get them working sooner rather than later.   

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