TechFlesh Blog

12 Greatest Gadgets in April 2011

Healthy Squeeze – Withings Smart Blood Pressure Monitor

Withings’s home blood-pressure cuff connects to your iPhone and an app that tracks your pressure and pulse. The app graphs the history of your vitals to help spot trends; it can also e-mail your stats to your doctor.

Battery Backer – Sony VAIO S-series with replacement battery

A half-inch-thick lithium battery snaps onto the base of Sony’s new laptops, adding only about a pound of heft while doubling battery life to up to 12 hours.

Table Topper – iPong Pro

This ping-pong serving machine’s rubber guides provide enough friction to fire shots with deadly accuracy: 105 of its 110 serves fly true; the older model aced only 77.

Unshattered Glass – Sony BRAVIA XBR-HX929 series

Sony’s HDTVs can more than handle that blow from a flying Wii remote. Each screen is covered by a 0.03-inch-thick sheet of Corning glass strengthened in a bath of potassium nitrate.

Building on Blocks – Sifteo Cubes

With their 1.5-inch LCDs, Sifteo cubes can toggle among dozens of downloadable games. Motion and proximity sensors allow the blocks to interact, making them perfect for tile-based games such as jumbles and dominoes.

Note Taker – Livescribe Echo Smartpen

Never fear losing a hastily scrawled note or phone number again. The Livescribe Echo pen contains software that transfers your notes directly to Google Docs, Evernote or a PDF, so they’re archived in the cloud for all time.

Focal Flux – PixelOptics emPower

Look ahead, and the emPower! bifocals act like regular glasses. Tilt your head down, and a current flows through the lenses’ liquid crystal, changing how its molecules align with one another and bringing near objects into focus.

Photo Sticker – Isabella Products Mini

Using a 3G cellular connection, this USB dongle allows users to text photos directly to a digital photo frame—no computer uploads or importing required.

Eyes Wide Open – Canon ViXiA HF G10

The VIXIA camcorder takes clear video at night. Rather than squeezing 10 megapixels onto its sensor, it has only two megapixels—each 61 percent larger than average—so they grab plenty of light.

Instant On – GE Energy Smart

CFLs covered in glass to mimic the profile of incandescents take about half a minute to illuminate. GE’s new bulbs include a halogen element that lights up immediately and switches off once the CFL has warmed up, roughly 45 seconds later.

Smooth Sailing – Necky Vector 13

Necky’s kayak has the performance of a pro model but handles easily enough to keep amateurs afloat. Its race-inspired hull cuts water, while a widened deck gives paddlers a stable perch.

Couch Surfing – Logitech Couch Mouse

You can use Logitech’s mouse on sofa cushions alongside your laptop. It protects its optics with a clear piece of plastic to keep lint out, and its bottom is smooth to avoid catching on seams.