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The best gadgets to enjoy summer now that you’re vaccinated

·Technology Editor
·6-min read
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So you’re vaccinated, tired of staring at your own four walls, and ready to get out and party for the first time in a year? Then it’s time for your hot vax summer, baby! What’s HVS, you ask? It’s your time to cut loose after a year of anxiety that seemed like it was going to drag on until the next Ice Age.

And if you’re getting out there, hitting the beach, dropping by some bars, and generally living it up, then you’re going to want a few gadgets to make the most of it all. We’re talking smart watches to stay connected and fit, speakers to bring the beats, and video games for those times when you’re too partied out and want to stay home without being forced to by lockdowns.

These are the gadgets you’ll need to rock your HVS as hard as possible.

Apple Watch SE

The Apple Watch SE is a great way to stay in touch and in shape throughout your hot vax summer. (Image: Apple)
The Apple Watch SE is a great way to stay in touch and in shape throughout your hot vax summer. (Image: Apple)

The $279 Apple (AAPL) Watch SE is Apple’s mid-range smartwatch, and offers many of the same features as the Apple Watch Series 6 for $120 less. If you’re looking to get your burn on without a mask for the first time in months, and get shredded for the summer, the Apple Watch SE includes a slew of built-in workout activities and Apple’s addictive calorie-tracking rings.

Of course, there are also a host of app integrations for everything from messaging apps to Spotify (SPOT), so you can control your music from your wrist; you can also order from Domino’s (DPZ) if you’re in need of a quick bite and don’t want to pull out your phone or even do some exercise on the beach.

Speaking of which, with a waterproof casing, the Apple Watch SE works fine after going for a dip in the ocean or your backyard pool.

Sonos Roam

The Sonos Roam lets you bring your favorite songs with you whether rain or shine. (Image: Sonos)
The Sonos Roam lets you bring your favorite songs with you whether rain or shine. (Image: Sonos)

Want to bump your favorite beats without staying tethered to your in-home system? The $169 Sonos Roam could be for you. With 10 hours of battery life, a drop- and water-resistant body, and Wi-Fi and Apple AirPlay 2 compatibility, the Sonos (SONO) Roam is a heck of a portable speaker. 

Whether you’re soaking up the sun at the beach — it’s called “the shore” where I’m from in New Jersey — or hanging out in a park or backyard, the Roam is a solid companion for when you feel the urge to rock out.

Nintendo Switch

Want to unwind after partying hard this summer? The Nintendo Switch is a great option. (Image: Nintendo)
Want to unwind after partying hard this summer? The Nintendo Switch is a great option. (Image: Nintendo)

Just because you can go out into the real world again, doesn’t mean you always want to. Sometimes you just need a day to hang inside with your favorite games to relax and unwind. And that’s where the Nintendo (NTDOY) Switch comes in. For $299, the Switch can be used in handheld mode or connected to your TV as a standard console.

“Animal Crossing” was the breakout hit at the beginning of the pandemic, but that’s not the only title out there. There are tons of hot games from “Super Mario Odyssey” to the upcoming “Pokemon Shiny Pearl” and “Pokemon Brilliant Diamond.”

And if you’re looking for classic NES and SNES titles, you’ve got those too thanks to the Nintendo Switch Online platform.

The Switch was hard to find for much of 2020, but it’s become easier to get your hands on, especially when compared to Sony’s PlayStation 5.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

Looking to dive into a good book this summer? The Kindle Paperwhite is your best choice if you're reading by the pool. (Image: Amazon)
Looking to dive into a good book this summer? The Kindle Paperwhite is your best choice if you're reading by the pool. (Image: Amazon)

Some people love reading on the beach or by the pool. I’m not one of those people, but to each her own. If you’re one of those folks, though, Amazon's (AMZN) $129 Kindle Paperwhite is one of the best e-readers out there, thanks to its waterproof design and built-in adjustable light, which means you can read either day or night.

With a battery that lasts for weeks at a time, and 8GB of base storage with the option to upgrade to 32GB of storage, you’ll finally have more than enough space to read all of “War and Peace” on this reader.

Apple AirTag

Apple's AirTags will help you keep track of your keys and wallet as you party your way through the summer. (Image: Apple)
Apple's AirTags will help you keep track of your keys and wallet as you party your way through the summer. (Image: Apple)

Okay, hear me out here. Apple’s AirTags are coin-size devices that you attach to things like your keys, put in your wallet, or attach to virtually anything you tend to misplace. And if you’re really living it up this summer, chances are, you might lose some of those items at some point.

AirTags, however, can help you locate them whether they’re hiding in your home under a couch cushion, or you left them at the local watering hole. The trackers use Apple’s network of more than 1 billion iOS devices to help you find your missing items, and when you’re closing in on your missing keys or wallet, the U1 chip built into newer iPhones will help you find exactly where they are using an on-screen compass-style interface.

At $29 for a single tag and $99 for a pack of 4, it’s worth snagging a few to keep track of your most important items this summer.

Sony WH1000XM4/B wireless headphones

Sony's noise-cancelling headphones can block out the sound of chatting on a plane or provide you with some extra piece and quiet on the beach. (Image: Sony)
Sony's noise-cancelling headphones can block out the sound of chatting on a plane or provide you with some extra piece and quiet on the beach. (Image: Sony)

Need a break from all of the noise on that flight to a warmer locale, or just want to relax with your favorite tunes before heading back out into the world? Sony’s (SONY) got you covered with its WH1000XM4/B wireless headphones. Man, Sony really needs to name these things better.

The WH1000XM4/B, which cost $349, are Sony’s best headphones and include active-noise cancellation, 30 hours of battery life, touch controls, and adaptive sound control. They’re also incredibly comfortable and fold up into a neat package that fits nicely in your backpack or suitcase.

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