We're testing the waters with a new series on connected devices and accessories that play nice with your Windows gear. Everything we showcase here will have been made available recently, and should enhance your experience with Microsoft stuff no matter your platform - desktop, tablet, mobile, Xbox - you name it.
Accessories span the range of new systems, games, controllers, cases, speakers, and anything in between. Take a gander at what we've found and let us know what you're digging!
BRAVEN announced a new waterproof Bluetooth speaker just in time for the peak summer season here in the northern hemisphere. You can crank out a whooping 18 hours of wireless music and charge your Windows phone with the built-in 4000 mAh battery. There's a microphone on there so you can take calls as well. A variety of bright colors offer plenty of style choice to boot. Snag one of these if you figure you'll be spending some time on the beach this summer.
Racing fans who have made the leap to a next-gen console yet will want to scope out the Forza Motorsport 6 edition of the Xbox One. First off, it includes a download code for the game itself, and access to a ten limited edition cars. Second, the 1 TB console and controller are decked out in a particularly sweet teal paint job, complete with racing stripes. It's even been rigged up to make motor sounds when you power up and down, or eject a disc. Preorders just kicked off this week, and will be shipping September 15.
Sound Blaster has a new feature-packed speaker that can handle just about anything you toss at it. You can stream your tunes to the Sound Blaster FRee over one of two simultaneous Bluetooth connections. You'll find an SD card slot on the back to play music locally. There's also USB functionality if you want to play sound directly from your Windows PC, which can be tweaked and enhanced with a dedicated software suite. Both upright and horizontal orientations ensure it will fit into whatever your set-up may be. Between the 10 hours of playback, extra-loud, 360-degree audio, and water resistance, this speaker is built to handle life on the move.
For those that are super-serious about shooting video with their Windows phone, there's a new three-axis motorized gimbal system that makes sure your shots are particularly smooth. Phones up to 3.5 inches wide can be mounted with minimal fuss. A handful of shooting modes allow the system to follow where you're pointing smoothly, or stay locked in orientation. The on-device buttons also allow you to tweak orientation to make sure your Windows phone is level before shooting. Larger Windows phones will need to use an included counterbalance, but on the whole, this looks leagues easier to use than traditional mobile gimbal systems, such as the Smoothee.
BenQ announced a great high-end gaming PC monitor recently. The XR3501 has a curved, extra-wide 35-inch display with a 144 Hz refresh rate. On the back, you'll find inputs for DisplayPort, mini DisplayPort, HDMI, and audio passthrough. Though you won't find any of the fancy anti-tearing technology from NVIDIA or AMD here (Acer has one of those monitors coming out soon), and the 2560 x 1080 resolution is a little disappointing, the XR3501 has the biggest curve available on a PC screen to date. As for the resolution, upsampling for video games should do the trick for most users. Hardcore gamers will want to check out the BenQ XR3501.
6. Your favorite new gadgets?
We're eager to hear your feedback for this weekly series, so shout out in the comments and let us know about what kind of tech you're interested in hearing about.