Skip to main content

Spring break gadgets and gear under $200

Portable Sounds Laboratories iMaingoX
Image used with permission by copyright holder

It’s that time of year again to grab a suitcase, toss in the sunscreen, and hit the beach, the slopes, or wherever your spring break travels take you. But it wouldn’t be a vacation without tunes, good food, and pictures and video to remember it by. Here are some of our favorite portable gadgets, adventure tech and more that will help you eek out maximum enjoyment from all your jaunts for under $200.

iGrill Wireless ThermometeriGrill Wireless Thermometer$100

Sure, you could use a regular old meat thermometer to determine the temperature of your steak, but why spend valuable time and energy poking, prodding, and otherwise molesting that pricey but delicious Wagyu cut when you can have the temperature beamed directly to your iGrill device or even your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch? The iGrill features a thermometer and probe and will alert you when your steak (or whatever) is cooked to perfection from up to 200-feet away thanks to Bluetooth. Since everyone likes their steaks cooked differently, you can monitor two or more items thanks to iGrill’s multi-probe capability. Perhaps best of all, though, is that you don’t have to constantly open and close your barbecue to determine doneness. Instead, sit back, relax, and wait for the beep.

Scottevest Fleece 5.0Scottevest Fleece 5.0$140

This jacket’s got four times as many pockets as a pool table, offering plenty of room for all your tech gear, including spots for your cell phone, your iPod or iPhone, Kindle, camera, sunglasses, business cards, travel documents, and more. There is even a PadPocket in sizes Medium and larger for your iPad. The soft, mid-weight microfleece is warm enough for the spring slopes or cool nights at the beach. If you are feeling a little stuffy, just remove the sleeves. It also has what Scottevest calls a Personal Area Network that help you manage all your wires, including headphones. With a jacket like this, who needs a carry-on?

USBCell AA BatteriesUSBCell AA Batteries$18 for two

We love these batteries because they are handy, not to mention environmentally friendly. Take them with you on your travels, and plug them into any USB port to draw a charge. This means less space in your pack for spare batteries, the ability to charge off the grid, and far less waste than disposable batteries.

Fuji FinePix XP30Fuji FinePix XP30 Digital Camera$199

How many times have you lost your camera, not to mention valuable adventure and travel photos, because you’ve dropped your digicam in the river, down the side of a mountain, left it in the snow, or flooded the chassis with sand from a day at the beach? If the answer is more than zero, you need to check out Fujifilm’s new 14-megapixel XP20 digital camera. This rugged model is waterproof to 16.5ft, shockproof to 5ft, freezeproof to 14°F, and dustproof. For $40 extra, you can upgrade to the XP30 and get GPS and geotagging capabilities.

iWatchz nanoclipziWatchz$50

If you want your tunes at the ready this Spring Break, check out iWatchz’s new Carbon Collection, which turns your iPod Nano into a wrist watch with a simple press, slide, and click. This latest addition to iWatchz lineup sports a sexy matte-black aluminum nanoclipz system and a carbon watchband with stitching available in six colors. The perfect travel companion.

Barnes & Noble NookBarnes & Noble Nook$150

Taking your first-generation iPad (which you purchased for more money than you care to admit) poolside means frantic glances back to your seat while you try to enjoy the water and angry threats to sopping-wet kids. If that doesn’t sound very relaxing, consider Barnes & Nobles’ Nook Wi-Fi. You get free Wi-Fi connectivity in Barnes & Nobles stores, digital lending of a wide selection of books, and the piece of mind knowing that if it gets damaged, lost, or even stolen, it’s not going to break you financially.

Muve MusicMuve Music$55

So you’ve got this great plan that lets you talk, text and browse the Web to your heart’s content. Well, Muve has got one better that includes all the music you want plus all of the above for a nominal monthly fee. Better yet, you don’t need your computer and you don’t even have to sign a contract. See what your fellow Muve Music friends are listening to, download their playlists, view their ringtones and more.

Portable Sounds Laboratories iMaingoXPortable Sounds Laboratories iMaingoX$70

Portable MP3 players are great when you’re alone, but when you’re camping or fishing this spring break with family and friends, wouldn’t it be nice to share the musical love? While mobile speakers can be anemic, Portable Sounds Laboratories iMaingoX offers big sound from a package a little larger than a pocketbook that everyone round the campfire can enjoy.

Balanzza Mini ScaleBalanzza Mini Scale$25

How many times have you gone to the airport, only to find that your bag is over the weight limit and you’ve got to either pay exorbitant extra baggage fees or start trashing your packed items? The three-ounce Balanzza Mini scale will have you smugly smiling at the airport desk clerk because it allows you to pack your suitcase to the ideal weight before you even get to the airport. A great tool for the travelling outdoorsmen and habitual over-packer alike.

Kodak PlaySport Video CameraKodak PlaySport Video Camera$150

What a long way we’ve come since the first mega-expensive HD cameras! Kodak’s PlaySport lets you not only capture stunning 1080p video, but do so in up to 10 feet of water, making it an excellent companion on your snorkeling adventures. It has built-in image stabilization, making an ideal videocam for the slopes, as well! Better yet, it costs paltry $150!

Krissy Rushing
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Digital Trends’ Tech For Change CES 2023 Awards
Digital Trends CES 2023 Tech For Change Award Winners Feature

CES is more than just a neon-drenched show-and-tell session for the world’s biggest tech manufacturers. More and more, it’s also a place where companies showcase innovations that could truly make the world a better place — and at CES 2023, this type of tech was on full display. We saw everything from accessibility-minded PS5 controllers to pedal-powered smart desks. But of all the amazing innovations on display this year, these three impressed us the most:

Samsung's Relumino Mode
Across the globe, roughly 300 million people suffer from moderate to severe vision loss, and generally speaking, most TVs don’t take that into account. So in an effort to make television more accessible and enjoyable for those millions of people suffering from impaired vision, Samsung is adding a new picture mode to many of its new TVs.
[CES 2023] Relumino Mode: Innovation for every need | Samsung
Relumino Mode, as it’s called, works by adding a bunch of different visual filters to the picture simultaneously. Outlines of people and objects on screen are highlighted, the contrast and brightness of the overall picture are cranked up, and extra sharpness is applied to everything. The resulting video would likely look strange to people with normal vision, but for folks with low vision, it should look clearer and closer to "normal" than it otherwise would.
Excitingly, since Relumino Mode is ultimately just a clever software trick, this technology could theoretically be pushed out via a software update and installed on millions of existing Samsung TVs -- not just new and recently purchased ones.

Read more
AI turned Breaking Bad into an anime — and it’s terrifying
Split image of Breaking Bad anime characters.

These days, it seems like there's nothing AI programs can't do. Thanks to advancements in artificial intelligence, deepfakes have done digital "face-offs" with Hollywood celebrities in films and TV shows, VFX artists can de-age actors almost instantly, and ChatGPT has learned how to write big-budget screenplays in the blink of an eye. Pretty soon, AI will probably decide who wins at the Oscars.

Within the past year, AI has also been used to generate beautiful works of art in seconds, creating a viral new trend and causing a boon for fan artists everywhere. TikTok user @cyborgism recently broke the internet by posting a clip featuring many AI-generated pictures of Breaking Bad. The theme here is that the characters are depicted as anime characters straight out of the 1980s, and the result is concerning to say the least. Depending on your viewpoint, Breaking Bad AI (my unofficial name for it) shows how technology can either threaten the integrity of original works of art or nurture artistic expression.
What if AI created Breaking Bad as a 1980s anime?
Playing over Metro Boomin's rap remix of the famous "I am the one who knocks" monologue, the video features images of the cast that range from shockingly realistic to full-on exaggerated. The clip currently has over 65,000 likes on TikTok alone, and many other users have shared their thoughts on the art. One user wrote, "Regardless of the repercussions on the entertainment industry, I can't wait for AI to be advanced enough to animate the whole show like this."

Read more
4 simple pieces of tech that helped me run my first marathon
Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar displaying pace information.

The fitness world is littered with opportunities to buy tech aimed at enhancing your physical performance. No matter your sport of choice or personal goals, there's a deep rabbit hole you can go down. It'll cost plenty of money, but the gains can be marginal -- and can honestly just be a distraction from what you should actually be focused on. Running is certainly susceptible to this.

A few months ago, I ran my first-ever marathon. It was an incredible accomplishment I had no idea I'd ever be able to reach, and it's now going to be the first of many I run in my lifetime. And despite my deep-rooted history in tech, and the endless opportunities for being baited into gearing myself up with every last product to help me get through the marathon, I went with a rather simple approach.

Read more