Our time at the Pepcom Digital Experience introduced us to several favorites worth sharing. Pepcom is a massive electronics showcase, where new and innovative products are unveiled the night before the CES floor actually opens. Drones, portable speakers, tracking devices, projectors and smartwatches all mingle together, showcasing the latest advancements in each category. This year’s offerings were groundbreaking and fantastical as usual, but the following absolutely made our short list.
A New Favorite: Sen.se SensePeanut
Sen.se takes smart integration in a different direction than most. The SensePeanuts are a series of tiny devices that work as thermometers, anti-theft devices, sleep aids and alarms and medical reminders. Each peanut has a unique function and color coding, but they all connect to the same free app. You connect the peanut to your phone via Bluetooth and motion sensors activate notifications and information sent straight to your phone. For instance, if you don’t pick up your medicine bottle with the attached MedPeanut, you’ll get notification to take your pill. With the ThermoPeanut, if your cooler drops below a safe food temperature, you’ll see a notification. The SleepPeanut has a soothing, quiet wake-up sound, and if you don’t get up, it sends a louder notification to your phone. The GuardPeanut rings out an alarm and simultaneously sends you a notification if anyone tries to move or walk off with your bag, purse, laptop or anything else you attach the peanut to. These tiny plastic devices have a four to six-month battery life and attach to objects via self-adhesive tape. Most of these peanuts are available now, but look for more releases on Amazon coming in Q1 2017.
An Old Favorite: JBL Flip 4
We’ve reviewed previous versions of the JBL Flip Bluetooth speaker, and each one gets a little better than the last. This year’s Flip 4 offers a 12-hour battery life, which is more than double the original Flip’s. While it has the same great JBL tuned soundscape, this Flip has enhanced bass, along with a noise- and echo-cancelling feature for phone calls. It can also play Spotify with one button. The portable design also gets better with time. The small Flip 4 is now completely waterproof, so it can survive a full submersion. New tough fabric covering and a rubber exterior make the Flip 4 a good choice for outdoor use. The Flip 4 and all the other new speakers from JBL also integrate together to connect to one device. You can link more than 100 JBL speakers together for surround sound entertainment, such as in a whole-home sound system or for a sophisticated party or event. Available in six colors, the Flip 4 will be available in Q1 of 2017.
A Wearable Favorite: Garmin Fenix 5
Garmin announced three new multisport watches this week. These Mercedes-quality devices are designed for all-day wear. Traditionally, feature-packed watches for women have been on the bulky and heavy side, but Garmin’s new Fenix 5S has a smaller design that doesn’t sacrifice functionality: it’s packed with GPS, heart rate monitoring and more. For men or women, the larger Fenix 5X offers wrist mapping and unique navigation features in addition to traditional sports tracking. You can map your runs, find points of interest and use handy map overlay features. Fenix 5 and the other two watches in the series are all capable of handling an extensive list of sports, including hiking, biking, swimming and golf. Garmin also announced a collaboration with Uber, making it easier to locate your ride right from your watch. All three versions in numerous colors will be available in Q1 of 2017.