We’ve all heard the expression “it’s a luxury we just can’t afford,” and it rings true especially in the field of tech, where the sky’s the limit. Luxury items are not essential items to own, hence the term “luxury.” There are audiophile components that reach stratospheric prices, fancy high-end watches that break the bank, and new computers that cost a small fortune. Would that we all had bottomless budgets.
Well, we took a look at the current line of luxury tech gadgets and found a few that won’t necessarily put you in the poorhouse. We gathered together a bunch of them that some of you might still be able to afford if you stretched your budgets a bit… or maybe put junior’s education on hold for a while.
In this modest little list we included watches, headsets, cellphones, tablets, digital cameras, and other gadgets that might make you feel a little happier about your station in life, arranged from the just-relatively-expensive to the nearly unaffordable. Here’s hoping we can actually afford them—or afford them eventually. Hey, it doesn’t cost anything to dream, right?
Secure Luxury Techcessories; US$550
Carrying cash and credit cards around is a disappearing practice, particularly with the emergence of electronic payment methods like Apple Pay. But those of us Luddites who insist on doing things the old-fashioned way will be glad to know that overstuffed analog wallets are still in fashion, and are still being updated as we speak. Presenting the iWallet, a secure and advanced biometric locking physical wallet for your cash and cards that you can slip in your pocket. It uses a built-in fingerprint scanner to verify your identity before opening up, much like how iPhones do. Better yet, it’s made of a material that blocks radio frequencies that can hack RFID-enabled cards from afar, and also warns you via Bluetooth on your phone if you leave your iWallet behind or vice versa. Cool!
Avegant Glyph Headset
Virtual Reality is all the rage now, and while the Avegant Glyph may look like a VR headset, it’s not quite that. It looks like a typical headset, but you wear it with the headband across your eyes and not on top of your head; there’s a visual component in the band that sets it apart from regular audio headphones. You can connect the Glyph to almost any device that allows for external displays, and you can watch video or play games on this virtual big screen TV that’s strapped to your face. It doesn’t immerse you in a 360-degree world, but instead provides you with a private viewing experience while still allowing you to view your environment above and below the visor.
Turing Robotic Industries; US$750
This is an extremely secure Android 5.0 Lollipop cell phone made from “liquidmorphium,” an alloy of zirconium, copper, aluminum, nickel, and silver. Its atomic structure is more like glass than metal, but it’s much stronger than steel or aluminum. It locks down your data with a security chip inside the handset called the Turing Imitation Key, as opposed to connecting with an outside server that issues security certificates. The locally-managed security is the phone’s best feature, ensuring hackers will never get to your data. It has a 13-megapixel camera on the back and an 8-megapixel one on the front, and a fingerprint reader on the left side that unlocks the phone when you want to use it.
The Audeze LCD-X is a very luxurious open-backed audio headset with planar magnetic transducers and neodymium magnets, and uses Audeze’s new “Fazor” technology to manage the flow of sound through the headphones for better imaging and a smoother frequency response. In plain English, this means the cans sound really good. It handles bass and delicate notes equally well, and while the big LCD-X is slightly heavy on your head, it’s a small tradeoff for the excellent sound. Well worth the price.
DEV-50V/B Digital Recording Binoculars
Sony’s DEV-50V is an astounding pair of electronic binoculars that can capture both stills and video at a 0.8-25x zoom ratio, and is great for anything from birdwatching to spying on your neighbors. Its dual sensors are excellent for shooting in 3D with 2.4M-bit XGA OLED viewfinders, and it has active optical SteadyShot, which is great considering the subject of your footage may be hundreds of feet away. It can capture 20.4-megapixel still images and record 1080/60p video. Plus, it’s water and dust proof, and has a two-channel mic that lets you add your wry commentary to your video. What’s not to like?
ToughPad FZ-G1 Windows Tablet
Panasonic’s ToughPad FZ-G1 is a completely ruggedized Windows tablet. We know that talking about a gadget built to take abuse and inclement weather might go against the concept of “luxury”, but you can never tell when you’re going to need it. The ToughPad gives the slim tablet the ability to resist dirt, moisture, drop, shock, spray, heat, and cold with metal port covers, a magnesium alloy case and chassis, and elastomeric bumpers at every corner. This baby is built to take abuse, and isn’t a terrible tablet either: the ToughPad’s got a 1.9MHz core i5 processor and 2GB of RAM, with a 10.1-inch touch display, a 128GB SSD, and runs (currently) Windows 8 Pro. You can tell your iPad to go suck it.
M (Typ 240) Digital Rangefinder Camera
It may be slightly too soon to call it the best digital rangefinder compact camera ever made by Leica, but the M is certainly the one many photographers have been waiting for, and it doesn’t come cheap. For its price though, you get a full-frame CMOS image sensor that allows for live view, a big and bright optical viewfinder, a great rear LCD, and detailed images at almost every ISO setting. It’s also compatible with virtually any similar lenses through adaptors, and improves on its predecessors’ controls by a great deal. The body’s brass and magnesium construction make it a little hefty at 1.5 lbs., but it makes up for it with long battery life and superb image quality.
Apple Watch Edition 42mm 18-carat Yellow Gold Case with Black Classic buckle
Apple Computer; US$15000
The Apple Watch is finally out in the market, and you can get an entry-level model for the relatively inexpensive starting price of US$349 (that’s the 38mm aluminum-cased Apple Watch Sport), but you can also get other, fancier models for considerably more. That said, it’s the same exact watch inside: touchscreen face, interactive taptic menus, real-time notifications and thousands of different apps. The difference is how it’s dressed up. Among the most expensive ones are the Apple Watch Edition with an 18-carat yellow gold case, real leather strap and classic buckle—at least on the Apple site; there are specially made ones with diamond-studded straps that cost a great deal more. We’ll be realistic and stay with the more sane gold case, leather strap and classic buckle. It’ll be a big hit at parties.