We all knew this day would come, but that doesn't make it any easier to say goodbye to the relatively carefree summer months. Still, even with work coming back into full swing as the heat-induced malaise begins to lift, there is at least one bright spot—new gadgets. In the summer, the whole world goes on break, including the men and women who design on tech toys. So though August saw a bit of a dearth of new gadgets, the month ahead is going to more than make up for it. And besides, the ones we did see were fantastic.
The Excalibur Dehydrator is a high-end, high-capacity electric food dehydrator that lives up to its legendary name. The $300, all-plastic, nine-tray version with the timer and variable heat is a solid buy, provided you'll actually use it. The stainless steel doesn't add enough value to justify the additional $200 and 18 pounds. The biggest downsides are the amount of space it takes up (it's a better garage gadget than a kitchen gadget) and somewhat annoying noise of the fan. Three hundred bucks is still steep when you compare it with a $40 alternative, but if you're really going to use it, the quality and ease of use make it worth it. [More]
Sigma's new 18-35mm f/1.8 lens brings zooms where they have rarely ventured before with an unprecedented f/1.8 aperture. The future is bright. For $800, you're getting wide-to-medium angle zoom lens for Canon, Nikon, or Sigma DSLRs with APS-C sized sensors. It has an 18-35mm focal range and an f/1.8 aperture. And it's the aperture that really sets this sucker apart. At f/1.8, it boasts a spec previously found only in prime lenses and unusually wide for a zoom. That means the lens is more sensitive to low light than most high-end zooms, which top-out at f/2.8. In almost all cases, if you have regular need for a serious zoom lens, then this is what you want. The price is an extremely reasonable $800, and there is currently no lens out there quite like it. [More]
Acer's Aspire S7 is an almost perfect totem for that growth and refinement of laptops over the past few years, with once-maligned Acer going from the dumpy-but-pleasant S3 to the trying-a-little-too-hard S5 to last year's not-quite-there-yet S7, Mark 1. Acer's second try here is a few points closer to perfect, even if it's not quite there yet. The design isn't quite beautiful, but the computer always feels well made. And, once you tweak what you want within Windows, the underlying performance of the keyboard, trackpad, and display are all on point. Those are the three most crucial points of interaction for any laptop, and the S7 nails them. [More]
The Best Ultrabook - See ya never, Lenovo X1 Carbon.