We typically enjoy learning about gadgets that, with a little bit of budgeting, we can afford. From pricy new smartphones to great computers to fun cameras, there are plenty of gadgets that are within our price range, but still offer exciting new features and impressive build quality. But every once in a while, it’s fun to take a look at the gadgets that we’d consider buying if money were no object.
Do we need to upgrade our home audio systems to ones that cost the equivalent of a month or two of rent? Probably not. Should we consider replacing our $30 Timex watches with smartwatches that cost over a grand? That doesn’t sound too practical. But it’s still fun to dream about the tech we’d buy (or at least try out) if we had unlimited funds. Ahead, check out our top picks of cool tech products that you (and we) probably can’t afford.
1. B&O PLAY by Bang & Olufsen A9 wireless home speaker
The second-generation B&O PLAY A9 is a music streaming system that works with all of your favorite devices to play music wirelessly via Bluetooth, AirPlay, or DLNA. The device offers 480 watts of sound, intuitive touch controls, built-in access to major streaming services, an award-winning design, and automatic software updates. But the B&O PLAY A9 is not only a speaker, it’s also a home accessory. You can change out the wooden legs and the front cover to match your style and your home, or you can remove the legs and use the wall bracket to place the system on your wall. That all comes at a steep price of $2,699, so we probably won’t be upgrading to this system anytime soon.
2. Frederique Constant horological smartwatch
The Frederique Constant horological smartwatch is a luxury Swiss watch that just so happens to also be a smartwatch. It features an MMT-285 Connected movement, 25 months of battery life, activity and sleep tracking, and adaptive coaching features. Information from a connected smartphone is displayed by a hand on a watch dial, but the watch can also function autonomously to track your sleep patterns or your walking and running. However, this smartwatch is priced at $1,150, which is pretty expensive for a smartwatch that won’t display your incoming calls or enable you to control your music.
3. Leica M-P Typ 240 digital rangefinder camera
Leica is one of the premier names in the camera business, and is renowned for making the sharpest lenses in the industry. So it’s no surprise that the Leica M-P Typ 240 is one of the most coveted cameras. Though it looks like a classic film camera, the M-P Typ 240 features advanced technology including a 24MP full-frame CMOS Sensor, a Leica Maestro image processor, a rangefinder with image field selector, and a 0.68x optical viewfinder with split and superimposed manual focusing. But this camera’s price is steep at $6,995 — and that’s just for the body, no pricy M-mount lens included.
4. MacBook Pro with 16GB of memory and 1TB of flash storage
A Mac is never the best choice if you need a new computer but need to stick to a budget. But plenty of fans cite the tight integration of hardware and software plus the build quality as a good reason to splurge and choose a Mac. At the high end of Apple’s MacBook lineup is the MacBook Pro, which can get pretty expensive if you upgrade its components.A 15.4-inch MacBook Pro with 1TB of storage, a 2.8GHz processor, and 16GB of RAM, will run you more than $3,000 — not exactly attainable for the average consumer shopping for a new laptop.
5. Marshall Woburn Bluetooth speaker
Portable Bluetooth speakers are a great way to enjoy your favorite music and other media either on the go or in a home where you don’t want to go through the process of setting up an extensive audio system. The Marshall Woburn Bluetooth speaker is a large but portable Bluetooth speaker with 90W output, multiple inputs for Bluetooth, RCA, or optical, and a classic Marshall design. It features analogue treble, bass, and volume knobs, and can be hooked up not only to your phone, but also to your TV, Apple TV, Airport Express, hard disk player, and satellite or cable receiver. You can even connect a CD player or turntable, or use it with your Sonos unit. But at $529, the Marshall Woburn probably won’t be your choice of Bluetooth speaker unless you’re willing to spare no expense for sound (and aesthetics).
6. Master & Dynamic M40 headphones
We’re all for buying a great pair of headphones to enjoy your favorite music and podcasts. Master & Dynamic’s MW60 headphones are a high-end pair of wireless headphones, with what Master & Dynamic describes as a “4x industry average signal range” and a 16-hour rechargeable battery. They also feature premium cowhide on the headband exterior and ear cups, plus soft lambskin on the headband. But at $549, the price tag for these headphones is a little out of reach for the average music fan.
7. McIntosh MT10 turntable
The McIntosh MT10 turntable is the purchase to aspire to if you’re an audio aficionado. McIntosh was founded in 1949 and in the decades since, has become legendary among audiophiles for offering the best of the best when it comes to sound systems. The MT10 turntable offers high-performance playback with minimal setup, since the tracking force, anti-skate, and cartridge position are preset at the factory. This turntable features a custom tonearm, a .5mV moving coil cartridge, and an ebony body with an elliptical stylus. The MT10 is expensive (and exclusive) enough that you can’t buy it online or by phone, and instead, will have to locate a dealer if you have thousands of dollars to spend on the best vinyl playback in the business.
8. Orison home battery
You may or may not have ever considered the idea of the home battery, a device that stores energy from alternative energy sources or for when the power grid goes down. The Orison home battery is an unusually user-friendly version of the device, with a “plug and play” system that’s incredibly easy to install. In fact, you simply plug it into an existing wall outlet and it works. Solar panels charge Orison by day, and you can use the stored energy to power your house at night. That means that you can reduce your energy bill — though it’s up for debate whether that’s enough to offset the price of the system, which starts around $2,000 according to the brand’s Kickstarter campaign.
9. Sirin Solarin smartphone
The Sirin Solarin is an extremely pricy Android smartphone for people who value their privacy. Vlad Savov reports for The Verge that Sirin Labs says its customers include international business travellers, entrepreneurs, and partners in financial firms — all people with high security needs. The company has partnered with security firms Koolspan and Zimperium to keep the phone and the data on it secure against attacks and exploits. The phone even features a switch on the back to activate a “super-duper cybersecure mode,” as Savov characterizes it, that allows only outgoing calls and encrypted messaging. It also features a 4,000mAh battery, a 24MP camera, Android security patches already installed, last year’s Snapdragon 810 — and a price tag of $13,800 plus taxes for a 128GB model.
10. Sony VPL-VW1100ES projector
If you’ve always wanted a giant screen to watch your favorite movies at home, a projector might seem like an attractive alternative, since a projector and screen are usually much less expensive and significantly easier to set up than a giant TV. The Sony VPL-VW1100ES doesn’t exactly deliver on the bargain price tag. At almost $28,000, this 4K projector would be an impressive addition to anyone’s home theater. It has a brightness of 2000 ANSI Lumens, 4K native resolution, a motorized lens, multiple inputs including HDMI, and 3D projection. It can project up to a 300-inch diagonal image for some truly epic movie nights.