Test Drive Gadget Reviews with Bill and Phil

We’ve Got Gadgets to Squeeze the Most Out of Summer

We may be on the tail-end of summer, but it’s our favorite time of year. We make time to push away from the computer and get outdoors to enjoy the summer sunshine. But just because we leave our PCs and laptops behind does not mean we forsake all tech as we venture out on summer break. We have found some of the best summer tech gadgets to take with us and enhance our immersion back into nature. 

Bill & Phil

Here are some of the favorite tech gadgets we found this summer: 

Bose SoundLink Flex Bluetooth Speaker: No summer trip is complete without our vacation playlist — playing those tunes in the mountains or on the beach doesn’t have to sacrifice audio quality. The SoundLink Flex by Bose is the latest in a long line of Bluetooth speakers that we keep on the ready for travel, regardless of season. It’s extremely durable (“rugged” is the way Bose describes it) and is both dust and waterproof. Of course, Bose speakers have some of the best audio that we have found, and the SoundLink Flex is no exception. With a 12-hour battery life, this speaker will last probably longer than we will on a hot, summer excursion.

GasBuddy App: Yes, we noticed fuel prices were a wee bit elevated this summer. Even as prices start to dip, we still rely on the free mobile app, GasBuddy. This app operates sort of like Waze, but instead of crowdsourcing traffic conditions, it crowdsources gas prices. As users report gas prices at various stations along your route, the app will show you all the stations in your vicinity and what their gas prices are. This one is a no-brainer, especially on a long road trip.

Nimble CHAMP Portable Charger:  If you’re like us and like to get far away from the office during summer break, you’re not always going to be close to electricity to charge up all your gadgets. That is why we always pack our Nimble CHAMP. This ultra-compact charger, which weighs only 6.4 ounces, packs a powerful punch. The 10,000 mAh battery stores up to three days of power and is capable of fast-charging both Apple and Samsung gear.

MECO Solar Flashlight:  If you’re out camping, you will probably want to pack the MECO solar flashlight. This emergency flashlight has a solar rechargeable battery that also can be hand-cranked if the battery drains and you’re in the dark. Cranking for six minutes gives an hour of light. This essential gadget is tiny and light (less than a quarter pound).

“Just because we leave our PCs and laptops behind does not mean we forsake all tech as we venture out on summer break.“

NEBULA Anker Capsule: If you love planning a staycation in the warmer months, you might want to get the NEBULA Anker Capsule, a smart Wi-Fi mini projector that lets you have a movie night in the backyard. This compact projector has a 360-degree speaker and projects a 100-lumen image up to 100 inches anywhere you want to place it. The NEBULA runs Android natively and allows you to stream content directly from apps such as Netflix and YouTube.

Ontel Arctic Air Pure Chill 2.0, Evaporative Air-Cooler:  This is not an air conditioner — it’s an air cooler. But it works. You just pour water into the tank on top and plug it in. It will give you cool (not icy cold) air for 10 hours on one filling. It’s small enough to put on your desk or on the kitchen countertop. It also works great inside a tent, if you have power.

Magic Chef MCIM22/HNIM27 portable ice maker: This small portable ice maker has a reservoir that holds water for your ice. It makes about 27 pounds of ice in 24 hours. It’s very portable, and you can carry it with you to a party and fill your adult beverage glasses with ice. It holds about a pound-and-a-half of ice in its storage bin and it tells you when the bin is full. Drink away!

Cuisinart Cool Creations Ice Cream Maker: Bill and Phil love ice cream. In fact, we make sure to eat some every day, regardless of the season — ice cream, gelato, frozen yogurt, sorbet. We don’t care, as long as it is cold and sweet. With Cool Creations, you don’t need to crank and get all sweaty. You just put the bin in the freezer, put the mix in after it freezes and you get about 2 quarts of ice cream in 20 minutes. And it comes with a recipe book filled with our favorite frozen concoctions.

Wise Owl Outfitters DoubleOwl Hammock: Bill likes to sleep, and what could be better than to hang your hammock under the stars for a cool night’s sleep? Setup of the hammock is a breeze and it holds up to 500 pounds (which Bill needs after eating all that ice cream). And the Wise Owl is highly portable. It only weighs 24 ounces and folds up to the size of a Black Beauty eggplant.

Summer’s official days may be waning for 2022, but that doesn’t mean the fun has to stop. We hope these products help you get the most out of the season while you can!