We have all had this experience at one point or another when we hoped and wished someone would buy us that cool piece of travel tech. But usually unless we drop serious hints those travel tech masterpieces we want will not simply appear at the holiday party or family gift exchange at your Aunt Mathilda’s house that ended with you being the recipient of an intolerably ugly holiday sweater. Maybe it has Rudolph the Reindeer on the front and his nose lights up just to draw more attention to you.
Now, a large portion of holiday sweaters may not be aesthetically attractive but it does not rob them of their usefulness. It is a whole new year, so who knows what holiday gifts thankfully given with a gift receipt are worth? It could buy you a gadget, a gizmo or even some HD Quality DJ Headphones the blew our minds.
Automatic Connected Car Adapter with Engine Diagnostics and Crash Alert Protection:
If you ever wanted an OBD2 sensor that could read the coded mechanical faults that trigger things like a check engine light in your car, then this gadget is perfect for you. Instead of having to read what the code means from a guidebook or the internet, the meaning is explained by Automatic on the Automatic smart phone app. In addition to being able to check your car mechanically, Automatic also monitors where you travel, if you go over 70 miles per hour or the one we are always failing—how hard we brake and how quickly we accelerate. The system also will notify three contacts of your choosing should it detect you were in an accident.
Automatic claims to be trying to persuade drivers to actions that will make their cars more frugal and cost efficient. Sure, using less gas and having to replace brake pads less often would be nice. But clearly the target market for the Automatic device and App is the parents of newly licensed drivers. What a great way to keep track of where your kids go, when they do it and how well they are driving the car.
Cleer Professional DJ Headphone
Cleer may not be the most well-known headphone brand on the market (yet) but our first test headphones of the new year impressed us in a big way, not only because we found them for sale online at two outlets for about $250 whereas other retailers were asking more than $100 extra. That is a serious bargain for a set of seriously good headphones which might not have the volume of last year’s best $400 headphone, the Oppo PM-3 Planar Magnetics.
Before that we loved the Bowers & Wilkins P7s and their robust build quality which surprisingly the Cleer DJ headphones we sampled mirrored effortlessly. All that and the around the leather lined around the ear buds are adjustable forward the back and well as in and out. These headphones can fit anyone’s head. In addition, the Cleer Professional DJ headphones boast 50mm Neodymium Drivers as well as the innovative PASC system (Psycho-Acoustic Spectral Compensation) which helps emphasize the low-level bass sounds other headphones miss. So we think these Cleer Audio DJ Professional Quality Over Ear Headphones are perfect for any audiophile looking for the best sound reproduction who still has to consider their budget.
The other unique factor that the Cleer DJ headphones boast is the ability to so easily and capably switch from a Stereo Mode where one side gives you the audio mix while the other gives you the live playback. The Stereo setting makes you feel like you are in the recording studio whereas when you select Mono then both channels will be folded into one harmonious sound into both ears. We still haven’t decided we prefer, so well executed are both settings. The Cleer DJ also comes with a handy and nicely shaped hard case where you can store your cords and accessories and thanks to some headphone origami magic, the case can easily slide into any carry-on bag.
(Note: The Cleer DJ headphones have 20 hours of battery life from a 3-hour charge but will always work when they are plugged into your music player. The battery powers the LED lights on the sides of the headphones as well as the internal processor.)
GoGroove FlexSmart 2:
Not everyone has a new car with all the latest gadgets, bells, whistles, whatchamacallits or even basic connectivity. Yes, most new cars sold today are used cars and a lot of us are keeping our vehicles for ten years or more. And a ten plus year old car might if you are lucky have one USB port. BMW still hasn’t made them standard across its model line whereas Hyundai/Kia made them standard years ago.
But the GoGroove FlexSmart 2 also gives you an auxiliary input jack as well as the ability to make phone calls or stream music via Bluetooth. It’s easy to install because all it takes is to plug it into your 12V socket and tune both your radio and the FlexSmart X2 to the same empty radio channel. You know, the stations that are just static and play no music. For our test of this product we plugged it into a 2015 model with a USB port and Bluetooth connectivity to see if it would still work.
Much to our surprise, the USB port in our test car took at least a minute to re-sync to our iPod whereas the Flexsmart 2 connected to the system in 2 seconds. Yes, we counted. We admit that the Flexsmart 2 uses what is essentially like a Bluetooth connection but again our test car routinely loses connection mid-song and takes longer to connect its Bluetooth. Not by much time but the Flexsmart 2 has a trump card in sound quality. The GoGroove Flexsmart 2 never during its time with us dropped connection and its reception was crisp, clear and offered good volume. This gift is perfect for anyone with a used car with no infotainment or connectivity options.
High Road Wag n’Ride Doggie Car Organizer:
Have dog park toys, dog water bottles and doggie pick up bags become so plentiful that they have taken over your vehicle? Does it feel sometimes like your dog thinks he owns you and therefore your car? Well, worry no more about doggie detritus because the High Road Wag n’ Ride Doggie Car Organizer has a main compartment for toys, bones, bowls and snacks along with side pockets big enough for large dog water bottles and a leash. There is also a slim front pocket perfect for a Frisbee. All of this and it hangs from the back of your front seat.
EPAuto Waterproof Trash Bin with Leak Proof Lining
No, this product has not been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency but if it was, we think it would serve the purpose of that Governmental Agency quite well. If you have kids, a minivan or both then you know how much trash can accumulate in your car. We remember when Honda was so revolutionary by adding a trash bin for a redesign of the Honda Odyssey. So why has no automaker introduced a similar contraption? We don’t know why but we do know that a smart compromise comes in the form of this EPAuto Car Waterproof Trash Bin. Trash also won’t get on you ever because this item hangs from the back of your front seat. This goes to show that being clever doesn’t have to cost a lot.