Summer is almost here. These gadgets will help you make the most of it:
Sounds great, works with my existing remote control, and is easy and quick to install (even without reading the instructions).
That’s my description of the Cambridge Audio TV2, an amplifier TV speaker base with Bluetooth audio.
The desktop sound-base product might not be familiar, but it’s a rapidly growing category because of the lackluster sound from TVs and the advance of Bluetooth wireless audio technology.
The sound is a product of Cambridge BMR technology, which is short for the Balanced Mode Radiator drivers inside. The sound base is promoted to fill your room with true-to-life sound, drawing you into the action, which I can say firsthand is 100 percent true.
With a manageable 21.65-by-3.9-by-13.3-inch size, it’s designed to sit on any flat surface.
Inside the matte black box is a pair of front facing 2.25-inch BMR drivers and a 6.5-inch subwoofer is built into the bottom.
In addition to Bluetooth you have RCA ports, 3.5 mm headphone jack or a digital optical input for connecting the audio. I paired it with my satellite TV remote for controlling the volume.
It will remember up to eight Bluetooth devices including TVs, smartphones and tablets. There are four preset EQ settings (film, music, TV and voice).
This system definitely gets my coveted “wow” recommendation. $299 at www.cambridgeaudio.com.
The T-fal OptiGrill is so easy to use and produces such great results that you can now call me a chef.
I know calling me that is a stretch, especially if you know me personally, but the tabletop grill is so simple to use that it impressed me beyond belief.
My initial meal was a hamburger, which I normally cook on a few burners on my outside grill, burning a whole lot of propane in the process.
With the OptiGrill, I followed simple instructions to turn it on, selected what I was cooking (in this case, beef) and if I wanted it cooked from rare to well-done using the button on the front handle.
After pre-heating the grill for a few minutes, my burger started out frozen and the built-in sensor changed as it was cooking; from yellow (rare) to orange (medium) and then I took it off for consumption.
The automatic sensor adjusts according to the thickness of the meat and will cook to a well done (red) setting; each setting alerts you with a beep so you don’t have to hover.
Over the next few days I cooked salmon and chicken on the clamp-like cooker. Whatever you choose to cook gets sandwiched into the non-stick burners so each side is cooked to your preference.
Unlike other tabletop grills I’ve used, this one has a pan to trap the grease so it does not run all over the countertop.
The cooking plates are die cast aluminum and dishwasher safe. After I cooked with them and they cooled, I soaked them in water and then ran them in the dishwasher and they came out like new. $179.99 at http://optigrill.t-falusa.com.
The ClipMic digital from Sennheiser produces crystal-clear, professional-quality audio recordings on Apple products with incredible ease.
It features an Apple-certified lightning connector on one end to use with the latest iOS devices running version 8.0 and later – compatible with iPhones, iPads and the iPod touch.
The other end has a Sennheiser ME 2 Lavalier microphone. It can be used to combine with a video, for podcasts, recording family moments or any other audio recording.
The microphone records directly to Apogee Maestro or Apogee MetaRecorder apps (free in the Apple App store) or any Core Audio-compatible recording app.
Each app should recognize the microphone and feature many adjustments and settings for your specific needs such as removing unwanted background noise.
Recordings can be saved to multiple sources, including cloud-based storage.
Technical features of the microphone: frequency response is 30 – 20,000 Hz, the bitrate is 16 Bit, 24 Bit and the cable is 5.2-feet long. Available in June for $199 at http://en-us.sennheiser.com.