The Best and Biggest Gadgets of August 2021

Amora R Jelo

The summer is drawing to a close. Here are all the most important releases from August that you should know about as we head into the fall. JBL L52 Classic Courtesy The JBL L52 Classic are the company’s newest vintage-inspired bookshelf speakers. They’re effectively a smaller and cheaper version of […]

The summer is drawing to a close. Here are all the most important releases from August that you should know about as we head into the fall.

JBL L52 Classic

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The JBL L52 Classic are the company’s newest vintage-inspired bookshelf speakers. They’re effectively a smaller and cheaper version of the company’s $2,500 L82 Classic, which were released last year. They have the same walnut wood veneer enclosure and striking foam grille (available in black, blue or orange), only the L52 Classic will be small enough to actually fit on your bookshelf. They’ll go on sale sometime this fall.

Price: $1,000

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Google’s Nest Cameras + Video Doorbell

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Google announced an entirely new line of Nest smart home cameras this week. There are four new models to choose from — a Nest Cam ($99) for indoors use, a battery-powered Nest Cam ($180) that can be used inside or outside, and the Nest Cam with floodlight ($280) — that are replacing the company’s older Nest IQ cameras. Each of these new cameras has a similar-yet-slightly-softer design and is more feature-packed than their predecessors. They’re slightly more affordable, too.

Additionally, Google announced a new battery-powered video doorbell to replace the Nest Hello. It’s called the Nest Doorbell ($180). Like the new speakers, the new video doorbell has been upgraded with improved features like better face, animal and object recognition.

Everything is available for preorder right now.

Price: $99 — $280

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Klipsch T5 II ANC

klipsch black earbuds

Klipsch

The Klipsch T5 II ANC are the company’s newest wireless earbuds and they share a similar look, feel and name to their 2019-released predecessors, the T5 II. The new models add active noise-cancellation (as the name gives away), but Klispch also gave these new buds a couple other improvements, including wireless charging, hands-free gesture controls, better overall sound quality (thanks to a redesigned driver) and the ability to tweak the EQ settings via a companion app. They are available to purchase right now.

Price: $299

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8BitDo Remote for Xbox

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If your Xbox (Series X, Series S and One) is your family’s primary streaming device, you might want to invest in a remote other than a gaming controller — it’s definitely easier for non-gamers to use. That’s where 8BitDo’s newest remotes come in. They’re officially license to work with Xbox as each remote has a dedicated Home button to wake your Xbox. 8BitDo offers a “short” and “long” models, the latter of which costs $5 more and comes with an additional number pad. Both remotes are available for preorder now.

Price: $20 —$25

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JBL L75ms Music System

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The JBL L75ms has similar retro vibes to the company’s also-just-announced L52 Classic, but it’s a much more modern system. It’s actually a five-channel powered speaker system — two tweeters, two woofers and a midrange driver — that’s capable of streaming high-resolution audio (up to 32-bit/192kHz). It’s also extremely versatile. You can connect to your TV (via HDMI ARC) or your turntable (thanks to its built-in phono preamp). It also supports a range of streaming options, including AirPlay 2, Chromecast or Bluetooth. It’ll go on sale sometime this fall.

Price: $1,500

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HP 2021 X-Series of Gaming Monitors

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HP revealed its 2021 lineup of X-Series gaming monitors this week — and there are seven of them. They range in includes 27-inch and 34-inch gaming monitors that have flat and curved screens, screen resolutions that are either 1080p or 1440p, and come in prices ranging from $260 to $460. Each monitor has the same number of ports, support for the VESA mounts (which can be lowered or raised) and a panel with the same peak brightness.

Price: $260 — $260

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Logitech Zone True Wireless Earbuds

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The interesting thing about Logitech’s newest wireless earbuds, the Zone True Wireless, is that they were designed with a specific type of people in mind: somebody who spends a lot of time on video conferences. They are the first wireless earbuds that certified to be used with Google Meet, Microsoft Teams and Zoom, which basically means that have certain features that work well with all three platforms. For instance, there’s a dedicated button for muting yourself. The earbuds also come with a USB receiver (just like most of the company’s wireless mice), which promises better connectivity. And each earbud has three-mic array for tip-top sound quality.

The Zone True Wireless are available for preorder now and will ship sometime this fall.

Price: $299

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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3

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The Galaxy Z Fold3 is the third-generation of its Samsung’s smaller foldable smartphone, and despite looking very similar to its predecessor, the Galaxy Z Fold2, it’s better in a couple key ways. It’s more durable with an IPX8 water-resistant rating). It works with the S Pen2, making it the first foldable smartphone that works with a stylus. It’s more powerful and has an improved camera system. Also, Samsung made it a little more affordable than previous models. The Galaxy Z Fold3 starts at $1,800 and is available for preorder now.

Price: $1,800+

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Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3

samsung galaxy z flip3

Samsung

The other foldable smartphone that Samsung announced, the Galaxy Z Flip3, is the one you’re more likely to buy. This is because it starts at under $1,000, putting it in line with other flagship smartphones. In addition to making it more affordable, Samsung has give the Galaxy Z Flip a larger cover screen (the screen you see when it’s folded), a better camera and a more durable design; it now has an IPX8 rating, like the Z Fold3. It starts at $1,000 and is available for preorder now.

Price: $1,000+

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Satechi USB-C Clamp Hub

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Satechi’s newest USB-C accessory adds ports to your M1 Mac in a pretty clever way: a clamp. It attaches to the base of the display, right near its rear-port array, and adds six ports — USB-A (3x), USB-C (1x) and SD and Micro SD card readers — while also elevating off of your desk. The other neat thing is that Satechi is making the Clamp Hub in silver and blue so that it will match the colorful M1 Mac. (If you have an M1 Mac with one of the other five colors, you’re out of luck for now.)

Price: $55

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Twelve South PlugBug Slim

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Twelve South

The PlugBug Slim is a 20-watt USB-C wall adapter that’s capable of fast-charging any iPhone. The neat thing about is that is thin and vertical design, so that it can fit in tighter spaces (like outlets right next to furniture). It’s the ideal companion to the Apple’s MagSafe Charger, which requires a USB-C adapter, and it also can work with the HomePod mini.

Price: $25

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Kodak Luma 400

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Kodak makes a variety of different portable projectors, the latest one being the Luma 400. The new model has a variety of connections (including HDMI, USB and Bluetooth) so you can easily use it with your smartphone, laptop or video game console. It has a built-in Android operating system so you can also stream shows and movies from the likes of Netflix or Amazon Video straight from the projector (so long as there’s a Wi-Fi connection or you’ve downloaded the shows ahead of time). And it can produce up to a 150-inch screen.

Price: $450

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Samsung Galaxy Watch4 (and Watch4 Classic)

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Samsung announced two new smartwatches this week, both of which are redesigned to look small, slim and sleek — similar to the Galaxy Watch Active 2. There’s the Galaxy Watch4 and the Galaxy Watch4 Classic, and they are the first smartwatches to run the new Wear OS that’s designed by both Samsung and Google. The big difference between the two smartwatch is that the “Classic” model is slightly larger and more premium, plus it has a wonderful rotating bezel. The Galaxy Watch4 and Galaxy Watch4 Classic are available for pre-order right now.

Price: $250+ (Watch4); $350+ (Watch4 Classic)

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Samsung Galaxy Buds2

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Samsung

The Galaxy Buds2 are Samsung’s newest wireless earbuds, joining the Galaxy Buds Pro and the Galaxy Buds Live (the bean-shaped ones) in the company’s lineup, and they deliver active-noise-canceling and wireless charging at a pretty affordable price: $150. Samsung also redesigned the Buds2 so that they are smaller, lighter and (potentially) more comfortable to wear. You can expect these new earbuds to fall short of the Buds Pro in terms of sound quality, noise-canceling and water-resistance, but the Buds2 might be go-to wireless earbuds for people with a Samsung smartphone who are shopping on a little bit of a budget. They’re available for preorder now.

Price: $150

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Q Acoustics M20

q acoustics

Q Acoustics

Q Acoustics announced a wireless music system consisting of two bookshelf-sized powered speakers. The all-new M20 isn’t as big or as expensive as the company’s recent Q Active 200 speakers, but it does carry over some similar features, such as Point to Point (P2P) cabinet bracing technology and support for high-resolution audio (up to 24bit/192kHz). Maybe most importantly, it houses both wireless (via Bluetooth 5.0)and analog connections (via optical and minijack) so you can easily stream music or connect it directly to your TV or turntable. There’s no built-in Wi-Fi or HDMI connection.

Price: $599

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Jabra Enhance Plus

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Jabra

Jabra announced a different kind of wireless earbuds. The Enhance Plus look like traditional wireless earbuds, but they are designed to help people with hearing loss; there’s a companion app that allows you to tweak settings like noise reduction and ambient sounds. The Enhance Plus are not as permanent, powerful or expensive as traditional hearing aids, so they are more of an entry-level option. The other cool thing is that, if you want, use can use them as traditional wireless earbuds to stream music or answer calls. They will be available later this year

Price: TBD

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Devialet Phantom II Sage Green

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Devialet didn’t announce a new speaker. Rather, it announced a new finish for one of its existing speakers. The Phantom II (previously named the Phantom Reactor), which is essentially a smaller and more affordable version of the company’s flagship Phantom I (previously named the Phantom Premier), is now be available in a sage green finish; it was previously only available in either white or black. Devialet is only making 1,000 of these sage green speakers and they cost $1,600 a pop, which is $200 more than the same speaker in either white or black. It’s also worth noting that Devialet makes the Phantom II in two models, 95dB and 98dB, and the sage green model will only available in the more powerful 98dB model.

Price: $1,600

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Dell 14 Portable Monitor (C1422H)

dell portable monitor

Dell

Dell announced its first portable monitor designed to work with your USB-C laptop. The 14-inch monitor (C1422H) has a 1080p display, slim bezels and weighs less than two pounds. It also just looks like the perfect companion to your laptop. There are two USB-C ports, both of which can transmit power and video, and the monitor supports passthrough power so you can change your laptop through the monitor when connected to power. When not connected to a power source, the monitor will draw power from your laptop. (The Verge has more on the story, below.)

Price: $350

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Xbox Stereo Headset

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Microsoft announced a wired version of the Xbox Wireless Headset headset that it released several months ago. The Xbox Stereo Headset looks basically identically its wired counterpart, but it requires you to connect it directly to your Xbox controller (old school style). The good news is that it costs $60, which is $40 bucks cheaper than its wireless brethren.

Price: $60

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Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2

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Audio-Technica’s just announced ATH-M50xBT2 wireless headphones are a new and improved version of its 3-year-old ATH-M50x. The new cans have faster USB-C charging and add support for Alexa voice commands. Most importantly, they now support multi-point pairing over Bluetooth, so you can connect them to your smartphone and computer and it’ll automatically switch between sources depending on which device you’re listening to. Other than that, they look and sound just like their predecessor.

Price: $199

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Fitbit Charge 5

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Fitbit

Fitbit finally announced its newest and much-leaked fitness tracker, the Charge 5, and (as anticipated) it has a much-changed design from previous “Charge” wearables. It has a larger, brighter and more colorful display; it’s actually the first Charge that can actually show colors. It has a thinner and a more rounded look. It also has an always-on display, but if turned on it will cut the Charge 5’s “up to seven day” battery life to just two days. The other potential downside is that it’s $30 more expensive than the Charge 4 at launch. That said, it’s still about half as expensive as the latest Apple Watch. It’s available for preorder now.

Price: $180

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Bowers & Wilkins 800 Series D4

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Bowers & Wilkins

Bowers & Wilkins has updated its flagship 800 Series Diamond range of loudspeakers. The fourth generation series — aka “D4” — have a new cabinet design, a new suspension system, and a redesigned housing for the tweeter, all of which are meant to further eliminate distortions and deliver a lifelike and unrivaled sound. Like with the previous D3 line, the D4 line consists of seven speakers (two standmounted, three floorstanding and two center channels) that range from $5,500 to $35,000. These are serious audiophile speakers.

Price: $5,500 — $35,000

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Audio-Technica ATH-S220BT

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Audio-Technica

The ATH-S220BT is Audio-Technica’s newest pair of budget wireless headphones — they cost just $59. Yet despite their affordable price, the ATH-S220BT have a bunch of convenient features (including multipoint pointing and USB-C charging), a long 60-hour battery life and a design that, well, feels distinctly Audio-Technica. They’re available in several different colorways.

Price: $59

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OnePlus Buds Pro

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One Plus

OnePlus’s latest wireless earbuds, the Buds Pro, deliver a lot of premium features —including active noise-cancellation and super-fast charging (thanks to the company’s proprietary Warp Charge technology) — at the relatively affordable price of $150. You’ll probably want to have a OnePlus to pair them with, however, as these earbuds will pair quickly and have some other exclusive features, like a low-latency mode for gaming.

Price: $150

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V-Moda BoomPro X

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V-Moda

V-Moda announced a new boom microphone for its headphones (but it can be used with any pair of wireless headphones that have a 3.5mm jack). The BoomPro X is essentially an upgraded version of its previous BoomPro. It has improved internals, but the real reason why you’d want to get it: a colorful mic cover. That’s right, you can finally get a colorful mic cover to match the colorful “shields” on V-Moda’s headphones. Just like you wanted.

Price: $45

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