These Were May’s Coolest and Weirdest Gadgets


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Jul 07, 2023

These Were May’s Coolest and Weirdest Gadgets

May brings with it the first bit of chill for what’s about to be a freezing

May brings with it the first bit of chill for what's about to be a freezing winter. It also usually kicks off keynote season, with Google announcing lots of new hardware at its annual I/O developer's conference. But there was a lot more than just Pixel devices in May. There were lots of weird and wonderful gadgets revealed that you may have missed.

We’re not entirely sure why people feel the need to reinvent the bicycle wheel, but in addition to a bike with triangular wheels, May also brought us lots of new Dyson gear including a redesigned robovac. From other manufacturers, there was also an eye-melting 16K TV, a drool-worthy field recorder from Teenage Engineering, and a couple of weird calculators proving they’re not dead yet. Here's everything you may have missed.

Without a doubt, the weirdest gadget to debut in May came out of China, specifically, McDonald's, which celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Chicken McNugget by turning one into a super-sized Tetris-playing gaming machine. We don't understand it either, but we still want one.

Say what you will about the aesthetic and function of Dyson's first wearable, the Dyson Zone, but at least no one can say it's boring. Alice gave it a review and admitted her thoughts on the Dyson Zone have been mixed and fluctuating since her original WTF reaction to the announcement last year.

It's still hard to find even 8K content these days, but that didn't stop China's BOE from revealing a 110-inch, 16K TV at Display Week 2023. It didn't reveal a price tag, but if you have to ask, you definitely can't afford one.

For years we have wanted a device like the ROG Ally. But the ROG Ally far from impresses. From its awful battery life to its equally awful user experience, Zac gives us nearly 3,000 words on why this thing is a miss.

Staying on misses and the LG TONE Free T90 Dolby Atmos Wireless Earbuds are the first Dolby Atmos wireless earbuds and while they sound fabulous, this fabulousness can only be experienced in short bursts because they hurt Asha's ears.

Although we’ve been heartbroken by many of Teenage Engineering's recent releases, as they’ve come with very steep price tags, we still wake up every morning dreaming about its new TP-7 Field Recorder that perfectly balances a retro design with modern features. If only it wasn't $US1,499.

Even though this is LG's entry-level OLED, the C3 wowed us. It brings the best of what OLED has to offer with the class that is an LG TV. It’ll cost a pretty penny, though, at just under $3,000 for the model we reviewed.

Rumours swirled for a while that Sony was working on a new handheld gaming device, but instead of debuting the next-gen PSP, the company teased a device with an eight-inch screen designed specifically for streaming games from a PS5 console, instead of playing them on its own power.

Dyson revealed quite a few new products throughout the month of May, including vacuums, a wet floor cleaner, new air filters, but the standout is its new Dyson 360 Vis Nav robovac featuring better performance, more smarts, and a clever little arm that pops out of the side to suck up dirt along walls it can't get close to.

The Cupra Born feels a bit niche with its styling and non-SUV body, but Zac loved it. Of all the EVs he's reviewed, he declared the Born has felt sportier and more nimble than most. The Cupra Born is for a young and sporty customer. At an RRP of $59,990, it’ll be interesting to see if this target works out for the company.

Thankfully, there wasn't many Star Wars Day adjacent announcements this year, but there was this thing: "The ‘Smoke eVader’ is sized for children, aiming to shed light on climate-change-fuelled bushfires, integrating a P2 and A1 respirator to guard against smoke and ash". Wild.

While the company is focusing a lot on OLED (rightfully so, they’re quite impressive TVs), it also took the opportunity to show off its more lifestyle offerings, which includes the LG Posé and the StanbyME. For $1,999, you’ll get a portable TV on a stick on wheels that can be tilted to be either vertical or horizontal.

Google's annual I/O developer's conference took place in May, and the company took the opportunity to debut everything from new AI-powered tools, to Wear OS 4, to a Pixel tablet, to the first folding Pixel smartphone.

If you’re tempted by the Google Pixel 7 but are less interested in its $999 starting price, the $749 Pixel 7a is an absolute bargain, matching many of the Pixel 7's features, with the only downsides being 128GB of storage and an extra charge for mmWave 5G support.

Apple did some stuff this month, too. It launched its Emergency SOS via Satellite feature in Australia AND it's Tap to Pay on iPhone feature. And although the company hasn't revealed when the new features will arrive (WWDC 2023 is probably a good guess), last month Apple revealed several new iPhone, iPad, and Mac accessibility features including an AI-powered Point and Speak feature in the Magnifier app, making it even easier for those with reduced vision to identify things. There's also the ability for users to generate a synthesized voice that sounds just like them with just 15 minutes of training.

ASUS loves a goofy screen. Just a really silly screen capable of some tomfoolery, like an extra one pasted on the inside of a laptop, one located in the mousepad of a laptop, or one that is the entire laptop (a foldable). Now we got to experience ASUS’ latest wacky display – a 3D screen on a studio-level laptop (dubbed the ProArt Studiobook 16 3D OLED). It made Zac sick, but.

YouTubers have cornered the market when it comes to unorthodox approaches to reinventing the bicycle. First, it was a bike with square wheels that rolled around like a tank, and in May, The Q debuted a bike featuring triangular wheels and a clever suspension system so it can actually be ridden comfortably.

Chris is a pretty big fan of Jabra's wireless earbuds. In the past, he's reviewed both the Jabra Elite 7 Pro and Elite 85t earbuds, giving both fairly positive reviews, and May brought with it his opinion of the more budget-friendly Elite 4's.

Hasbro's Nerf blasters are designed for kids, but the custom 3D-printed MOAB — aka, Mother of All Blasters — is not. Powered by an electric motor, it can empty a backpack full of 500 foam darts in just nine seconds, leaving opponents stunned (and your room with a huge pile of darts to clean up).

The new Beats Studio Buds + can't quite compete with the latest generation Apple AirPods Pro, but with a $269.95 price tag, they’re a much better alternative to Apple's entry-level AirPods.

Dyson's second hair straightening product, the Airstrait, trades flexible heated metal plates for hot air, like its Supersonic hair dryer, so it can be used to straighten both wet and dry hair while also reducing the risk of heat damage.

The Kobo Elipsa 2E is its upgraded Elipsa eReader, now made from recycled plastics. It boasts a speedy processor, efficient stylus, plenty of import options, long battery life, and built-in notebook, but it’ll set you back $629.95, without anything to read.

Amazon introduced a few new products to its Echo range, bringing the new Echo Pop speaker and a second go of its Echo Auto device to Australia. The Echo Pop is just the Echo Dot in a different packaging, but it's got a nice vibe. Plus, it's only $79 and sounds fine. Review to come.

Nintendo finally added GoldenEye 64 to the Switch's retro gaming lineup, but to truly enjoy the experience, you need to play it with the classic, much-loved and much-hated N64 controller. 8BitDo's new kit allows an original N64 gamepad to be easily upgraded with Bluetooth connectivity, a joystick that will never drift, and a rechargeable battery, all without needing you to have any soldering skills.

There are plenty of reasons to hate on this design for an OLED TV that can fold away into a coffee table, but it's actually notable for being the first 65-inch, 8K TV manufactured using inkjet printing. The process promises to dramatically reduce the price of OLED TVs in the future — hopefully.

Toyota's yet to release its first electric car in Australia. While we know what car that's going to be, the BZ4X, an SUV built in collaboration with Subaru (which is releasing its own version of the EV called the Solterra), Toyota has been noticeably slow to the game when it comes to electrification and moving on from petrol and diesel. That's where the Toyota Mirai hydrogen car comes in – a car that Zac just had the pleasure of driving. Here's what he had to say.

Are people (at least those not in school) still actually buying calculators in the age of smartphones? Apparently so, because HP is once again re-releasing its iconic, 40-year-old HP-15C with an upgraded processor inside — but that same old, super-basic LCD display.

If you have to buy a calculator for work or school, why not opt for the GHLBD? This Android-powered device can be found for under $US25, and often as cheap as just $US10. It features a basic calculator button layout, but packs a full colour touch screen, a 32-bit quad-core Allwinner A50 processor, 1GB of RAM, and Android 9, allowing retro gaming emulators and game streaming platforms to be installed and used.

Luxurious doesn't always mean tasteful, as is evident with the Caviar Daytona iPhone case made from luxe materials like 24K gold and titanium. What attempts to justify its $US180,000 (like what, $250,000 in Aussie terms???????) price tag is exclusivity — just three are being made — and the inclusion of a strapless, self-winding, 40mm Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Oyster watch finished in yellow gold with a black dial.

Although Sony has long been known for its excellent electronics, its audio gear, including headphones and speakers, particularly stands out these days. The SRS-XV800 (yes, Sony still struggles with product naming) is a 28-inch tall wireless party speaker on wheels with built-in karaoke functions, but it can also double as a sound bar with an optical cable connection to your TV.

Interest in retro gaming continues to grow, but while most handheld gaming devices are growing in size, Anbernic devices keep shrinking. We don't know what the pricing will be like for the RG Nano, but it looks like a Game Boy that was shrunk to the size of a pack of gum.

Segway-Ninebot has revealed its 2023 range of e-scooters for the Australian market, including a powerful premium model, three mid-range models and two budget entry-level models. We took ’em for a ride around the Gold Coast.

E Ink screens still aren't a suitable replacement for LCD or OLEDs, but they can offer better readability, so Philips slapped a 13.3-inch E Ink panel on the side of its 24B1D5600 monitor, which also features a 23.8-inch LCD, allowing text documents to be sent to the e-paper display, while other content can be enjoyed in full colour.

Sony continues to prioritise vloggers and other video content creators with its lower-end digital still cameras, and three years after the debut of its groundbreaking Sony ZV-1 that helped anyone churn out high-quality video, the company is back with a sequel — the unsurprisingly named Sony ZV-1 II — featuring a wider lens that allows more creators to squeeze into frame at once.

If you’re a parent who remembers spending weeks trying to hunt down a Tickle Me Elmo or Hatchimal during the holidays: be forewarned. Spin Master's new Bitzee digital pets could be the next big holiday fad, recreating the Tamagotchi experience with a screen that appears to float in mid-air, and digital characters you can reach out and touch.

The original Casio G-Shock DW-5000C, which debuted in Japan back in 1983, remains one of the most iconic digital watches of all time, gracing the wrists of millions of users over the years. Last month, Casio revealed an updated version that still carries forward the highly recognisable square faced design, but with an updated LCD screen and new features like fitness tracking and even a heart rate monitor.

Nokia has announced a rugged new phone that has an incredible approach to durability, capable of lasting in 1.5 metres of water for up to an hour and surviving a 100-bar water jet at 80 degrees Celsius. It's called the Nokia XR21.

The electric Lamborghini GoKart isn't new, but we only just took it for a drive. Plus, it was a bit of May fun.

Head over here if you want to see what happened in March and here for the gadgets from April.