Tile Tracker Keeps Track of Your Gadgets

Gadget Roundup Takes a Look at Tile Tracker, a 3D Scanner and More

This edition of Gadgetology, our gadget round-up, takes a look at an electronic tracker, a 3D scanner, a home camera, and one of the highest capacity portable USB battery chargers out there. 

Tile Phone, Key and Item Tracker

Tile Phone, Key and Item Tracker
Tile Phone, Key and Item Tracker. Tile

What We Like

  • Small, lightweight, and unobtrusive.

  • Eliminates worries about losing keys, wallet, and anything else you can attach it to.

What We Don't Like

  • Uses Bluetooth, so range is limited.

  • Can’t be used in an RFID-blocking wallet.

As advanced as technology has come these days, one thing hasn’t changed: people still lose stuff. Keys, smartphones, their wits — heck, the list has gotten bigger with all the contraptions people now carry. One thing that’s different nowadays thanks to technology, though, is that you have better options to track down your missing stuff.

One such option is tracker tags like the Tile, which you can sync with your phone via an app so you can keep track of it and the stuff that it’s physically attached to. Put it on your key chain, for example, and you can make it ring if you ever lose track of your keys in the house. Left it somewhere outside your home while doing errands? You can use the app to bring up a map and locate where it’s at.

Cost: $25

Occipital Structure Sensor Rapid 3D Scanner

Occipital Structure Sensor Rapid 3D Scanner
Occipital Structure Sensor Rapid 3D Scanner. Occipital

What We Like

  • Great concept with many applications in CAD, real estate, and more.

  • Works with Windows, Linux, Android, and MacOS on iPad and other tablets.

What We Don't Like

  • Steep learning curve.

  • Scan quality can be marginal, often with corrupted color detail and erroneous measurements.

As someone who remembers when mass market colored televisions were a big deal, I continue to be amazed with how far technology has come in recent years.

Take the Occipital Structure Sensor 3D scanner, for example. To think that you can have a compact camera that you can attach to an iPad (or personal computer, if you wish) and scan objects or even people to create a 3D representation for projects — or even making a 3D-printed a figure of yourself — just boggles my mind. I mean, dude, I remember video cameras that used large, honking VHS tapes!

In addition to scanning objects and actual homo sapiens, the Structure Sensor also can be paired with a variety of apps for things like, say, augmented reality hijinks. Then there are other potential applications still in the works from inquiring minds so you never know what’s down the road.

As with most new tech, however, there are some downsides. One is the price, which ain’t gonna come cheap. The other is that it is by no means perfect and you’ll encounter some niggles while scanning stuff. It’s more for early adopters for sure.

Cost: $379, $499 with USB hacker cable

EZVIZ Mini 720p Indoor Wi-Fi Camera

EZVIZ Mini 720p Indoor Wi-Fi Camera
EZVIZ Mini 720p Indoor Wi-Fi Camera. EZVIZ

What We Like

  • Compatible with a wide range of devices.

  • Easy to use.

What We Don't Like

  • Video not always smooth.

  • Can’t move camera’s position using the app.

Think they’re out to get ‘cha? Sounds like you need an extra pair of eyes in your personal abode for that added peace of mind.

Seriously, though, it’s never a bad idea to have a security camera in the house, especially when you’re traveling for an extended time. If you’re looking for a not so bulky option, the EZVIZ Mini is a tiny indoor camera that lets you view what’s going on before it via an app on your iPhone, iPad or Android device.

Setup is pretty easy and you can actually view multiple cameras in the app if you have more than one. The Mini also has a nice expansive bubble view and performs well in low light. You can even snap pics or record video from the app and save it on the cloud or your device.

Video can be a bit choppy, though, and the mic is kind of weak. You also can’t move your camera’s orientation via the app like you can with the Kodak Home Video Monitor CHF-V15. On the plus side, it’s nearly half the price of the Kodak.

Cost: $70

RAVPower Xtreme 26,800mAh External Battery Pack

RAVPower Xtreme 26,800mAh External Battery Pack
RAVPower Xtreme 26,800mAh External Battery Pack. RAVPower

What We Like

  • Can charge three devices simultaneously and rapidly.

  • Reliable, very high-capacity source of power when you're away from home.

What We Don't Like

  • Rather heavy.

  • Lacks connectors for laptop computers.

As someone who owns a bazillion portable devices, I’m a big proponent of having multiple options for portable USB battery chargers. I even put together a handy dandy guide for how to choose a portable battery charger.

If tons of juice is your top priority, RAVPower has released yet another high-capacity option as part of its Xtreme series of external battery packs. This one comes with a whopping 26,800mAh, which is enough to charge any portable device out there with ample juice to spare for powering up a slew of other devices. It also charges at high speed and comes with three USB ports to plug your devices into.

Although it’s size is still relatively compact for its capacity, it weighs nearly a pound and a half so it’s a bit heavy. It also doesn’t come with the assortment of connectors you get in its cousin, the 23,000mAh RAVPower Xtreme Power Bank, which makes it possible to charge laptops as well. When it comes to pure capacity, however, it’s pretty tough to beat.

Cost: $50 to $150