February 2, 2023

Sony’s SRS-NS7 Wireless Neckband Speaker, $300, has tweeters pointed up but also includes twin subwoofer-like speakers pointed down that stimulate your clavicles during tense television moments. Another option is BeHear’s Proxy and its HearLink Plus wireless audio transmitter, from $200, which is designed as a PSAP — or personal sound amplification product — for those with mild to moderate hearing loss.

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Both of these neck speakers can pair with your smartphone for listening to music or talking on the phone. And they are so comfortable I even forgot I was wearing one.

— Stewart Wolpin

Home Security

Now it’s possible for you to install a security system that will work for the farthest reaches of your land without having to worry about where to plug in the base station.

Steve Sanford

4. Safety without Wi-Fi, electricity worries

If you live in a rural area, your security needs might be at a distant gate or shed door — places your home’s Wi-Fi signal can’t reach. A new type of battery-powered security sensor that works with a cellular signal can ease that concern.

These sensors hook up to gates, doors or windows and alert you electronically when a breach occurs. Flex IO sensors from Alarm.com start at $160, plus activation and service fees. I found these worked so well that I began wondering what else around my home needed security.

If the Wi-Fi signal isn’t a concern, another inconvenience can be a lack of power outlets for some sensors. Some products, such as the $80 SKK Home Security System 2nd Gen, have battery-powered sensors, and its base unit with up to eight hours of battery backup connects with Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant system without monthly subscription fees. 

— Risha Gotlieb

Air Tags Security Cameras and Pepper Spray

Tiny Bluetooth and GPS trackers can do big work, a light for your porch also is a video camera and pepper spray that pinpoints your location can help law enforcement when you’re under attack.

Apple / Chipolo / Symynelec / Sabre

5. Trackers, not new but very handy

GPS or Bluetooth trackers, little devices that attach to just about anything and signal their location via a phone app, have been around for nearly a decade. But 2021’s release of Apple’s AirTags in particular has heightened interest in these products.

Bluetooth trackers, such as an AirTag, Chipolo One Spot or Tile, cost $30 or less. When a Bluetooth tracker is in range, it communicates directly with your phone. When out of range, the tracker relays its signal through other people’s compatible devices, creating a network effect to reach you and show its location.

Bluetooth trackers may not work well in remote areas. GPS trackers, a variant, can be better because they use cellular signals instead.

— Lexi Pandell

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