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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Three gift suggestions for the techie on your Christmas list – Daily Freeman

Jim Rossman | Tribune News Service (TNS)

This week we have three more gadgets I’ve been testing that would make great Christmas gifts.

Just a note on pricing. I don’t post affiliate links. I don’t benefit monetarily from any of these suggestions. Also, I post the retail price, but most of these are discounted for the holidays.

The Dabbsson DBS2300 Plus Power Station.  (Dabbsson/TNS)
The Dabbsson DBS2300 Plus Power Station. (Dabbsson/TNS)

Dabbsson DBS2300 Plus portable power station

I’ve reviewed a lot of portable power stations, and the rate at which they are improving is almost stunning.

The Dabbsson DBS2300 Plus ($1,799, dabbsson.com) is a 2,330 watt-hour power station that can expand to 16,660 Wh with the addition of a second DBS2300 Plus and up to four external 3,000 Wh DBS3000B batteries ($1,599). This is a system that can power your entire home in the event of an electrical outage.

The DBS2300 Plus has an AC output capacity of 2,200 watts with a 3,000W surge capacity.

The batteries are Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePo4) and they are rated for 4,500 charge cycles before they dip below 80 percent capacity. This system is rated for a 15-year lifespan.

The DBS2300 Plus can recharge from a wall outlet in a little over an hour. It can also charge from solar panels. An 800W solar array can charge is up in just three hours. It can also combine solar and AC inputs for faster charging.

The DBS2300 can run a refrigerator for 19 hours, a 10W lamp for 750 hours and charge your laptop 83 times. You can also use it to charge up your electric vehicle for about 13 miles.

There are 14 power outlets, including four AC outlets, three USB-A, and three USB-C, two DC5521, one Anderson output and a 12V car output. They can all be used at the same time. There is also a built-in flashlight.

A color LED shows the power remaining along with the amount of electricity flowing in and out.

The system also has a smartphone app to allow the user to easily set up and control all the inputs and outputs.

This is a great system to keep on hand for emergencies or to set up as a whole-home backup. The expandability is amazing and the technology is state-of-the-art.

The Ekster Grid Backpack.  (Ekster/TNS)
The Ekster Grid Backpack. (Ekster/TNS)

Ekster Grid Backpack

The Ekster Grid Backpack ($195, ekster.com) is like a suitcase and a backpack had a baby.

It’s a great looking black backpack, made from recycled plastic bottles with a water resistant body with waterproof zippers.

There are dozens of backpacks that have multiple zippered compartments that may or may not get used. The Grid Backpack has just many useful compartments — many of them are hidden. One is a thin side pocket perfect for your boarding pass and another unzips from the top to reveal a full-depth pocket for files with a padded pocket for glasses, phone or earbuds.

The main compartment opens 180-degrees like a suitcase. Inside there is a padded compartment for a laptop up to 16 inches. There are stretchy zippered pockets inside along the top and bottom. The rest of the interior is a big open space.

The backpack measures 12 inches by 18 inches by 6 inches.

Ekster offers a few options for helping you organize that big open main compartment.

Think of them like packing cubes. They are smaller cases with specific organizational advantages.

One is a camera cube ($60), with customizable dividers for camera bodies, lenses and accessories.

Another is a tech case ($50), which is like a shaving kit for your cords and chargers. It also zips open to reveal multiple dividers and zippered compartments to keep your tech gear in place and ready.

I think the Grid is a great looking backpack with a unique design that I’d be proud to carry into a meeting at work.

The Dangbei Mars 1080p Laser Projector.  (Dangbei/TNS)
The Dangbei Mars 1080p Laser Projector. (Dangbei/TNS)

Dangbei Mars 1080p Laser Projector

I’ve reviewed a few cheaper Dangbei projectors in the last year, but the Mars is the first one that I’d consider using in a home theater instead of a TV.

The Mars ($999, us.dangbei.com) is a 1080p HD projector. Dangbei also makes a 4K Mars Pro projector for $1,799.

The Mars is an ALDP (advanced laser phosphor) projector with a very nice 2,100 lumens of brightness. This means it can be used in a room with windows during the day. The maximum image size is 180 inches (diagonal).

Cheap projectors with dimmer projection systems really need a darkened room to look good.

The Mars has Netflix, Amazon Prime and YouTube apps built-in. Dangbei projectors are Netflix certified, which means the Netflix experience should be a smooth one (and it is).

The Mars can automatically focus itself, adjust its image size to fit your screen and square up the edges of the image (keystone). It also supports HDR (high dynamic range)

The Mars has two 10-watt speakers built in and it supports Dolby audio. I’d say the sound is good, but not great, depending on where you have the projector placed in your room. You’ll likely want to connect an external speaker system.

The Mars has two HDMI inputs, two USB ports, an S/PDIF optical audio output and an ethernet jack for wired internet. It also can connect to your wireless network. It also has Bluetooth so you can connect a wireless speaker.

The Mars has a great looking picture, even in the daytime. It is easy to use and the Netflix and Amazon Prime apps work great. If you’d like to add more streaming services, I’d suggest adding a Roku stream box or Apple TV.

Jim Rossman is a tech columnist for Tribune News Service. He may be reached at [email protected].

©2023 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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