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It’s clearly time: all the news about the transparent tech renaissance

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Gadgets, much like fashion, can make style comebacks. For tech: we’ve lived through the ’80s beige keyboards, transitioned to the ’90s with gray and black plastic video game systems plus bright colors for Sony’s Walkman and Nintendo’s Game Boy handhelds, and then, at the turn of the millennium, welcomed the amazing see-through iMacs, N64 controllers, and other gadgets with clear casings.

And just like the return of grunge makeup and baggy jeans, transparent tech is back. See-through devices are leapfrogging over the ’00s piano white iPods, ’10s matte black smartphones, and some of today’s colored aluminum and glass finishes to (hopefully) become the next big trend. Now, we’ve got clear smartphones like the Nothing Phone, see-through earbuds like the Beats Studio buds, colorful translucent shell casings for game consoles, and even chargers and USB-C cables that show off some capacitors for your pleasure.

So dust off your Apple Studio Display CRT monitor, Toys R Us-exclusive Extreme Green colored N64 controller, and your other favorite transparent gadgets as you scroll through all of our clear tech news.

  • Dbrand’s new X-Ray skins let you ‘see inside’ 125 different gadgets

    Dbrand’s “Light” X-Ray skins. There are “Dark” ones too.
    Dbrand’s “Light” X-Ray skins. There are “Dark” ones too.
    Image: Dbrand

    Dbrand just sued a rival casemaker for copying its “Teardown” skins that let you see under the back cover of your phone, laptop, or handheld gaming machine.

    It’s also — purely coincidentally, I’m sure! — announcing a brand-new set of skins that take the idea even farther. No, I don’t mean “further”; I’m talking about going literally millimeters deeper into a device’s components with a 450-kilovolt X-ray, showing details you can’t get just by photographing a gadget with its back cover off.

    Read Article >
  • Here is Valve’s own transparent Steam Deck.

    It’s a limited-edition $679 1TB model of the just-announced Steam Deck OLED, and this one’s only for sale in the US and Canada.

    Valve says it’s an experiment and is hopeful it can do more colorways in the future. It’ll come with an exclusive case, too, based on the new case within a case that ships with the $649 version.


  • Your Asus ROG Ally could be transparent with Jsaux’s RGB backplate

    Jsaux’s transparent RGB backplate for the ROG Ally.
    Jsaux’s transparent RGB backplate for the ROG Ally.
    Image: Jsaux

    The latest entry in the renewed transparent gadget craze: your Asus ROG Ally handheld gaming PC. Today, lauded Steam Deck accessory maker Jsaux is taking the wraps off a $40 frosted RGB rear shell for the Asus handheld that lets you see some of its delightful innards.

    It might not give you a perfect look through the back, now that I see how much of that frosting blocks the red circuit boards. It also probably won’t enhance your cooling like the company’s Steam Deck backplate, but that frosted surface should bathe nicely in RGB light, not to mention the five light-catching stickers you can place inside.

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  • The best price ever on Sharge’s transparent batteries and retro Mac chargers

    Sharge’s transparent batteries and retro Mac charger.
    Sharge’s transparent batteries and retro Mac charger.
    Image: Sharge

    Ever heard of Sharge? The company is arguably just as responsible as Nothing for bringing transparent gadgets back — its see-through batteries swarmed social media and have inspired a wave of copycats. Less famously, it sells a kickass charger shaped like a classic Mac that offers 67 watts of USB-C PD charging across three ports despite its tiny frame.

    They all tend to be pricey, but through October 11th, almost all of its chargers and power banks are on sale for their best prices ever — after you clip the Amazon coupon codes, anyhow.

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  • This limited-edition Flipper Zero is the latest transparent gadget

    Limited-edition Flipper Zero with a transparent shell on a grey background
    It’s the Flipper Zero. Clearly.
    Image: Flipper Zero

    The Flipper Zero — which the company calls a “portable multi-tool for pentesters and geeks in a toy-like body,” Verge friend Chris Person calls “a Swiss Army Knife of antennas,” and my kids call “the meebo” because I use it to emulate Amiibos for them — is now available in a limited edition with a transparent shell. I could have made several sentences from that info, but it felt appropriate to the spirit of Flipper Zero to cram it all into one.

    Aside from the casing, the limited-edition translucent model is just like the other Flipper Zero units, with (among other things) RFID, NFC, sub-GHz, Bluetooth, USB-C, and a row of GPIO ports along the top so you can interface with other hardware. In July, the company added an app store, which makes it easier for dilettantes like me to find cool software for the Flipper Zero.

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  • New Genki ShadowCast video capture card goes ‘Pro,’ Covert Dock gets an upgrade

    Ice climber amiibo with ShadowCast 2 dongle and Covert Dock 2 power adapter in translucent plastic, plus the ShadowCast 2 pro slab.
    The new Genki Alpine collection.
    Image: Human Things

    Gaming accessory company Human Things is coming out with new Genki ShadowCast external capture cards that feature higher-quality recording for livestream sessions, plus a slightly souped-up new Covert Dock GaN charger for Nintendo Switch. The company is crowdfunding its new “Alpine collection” on Kickstarter, including ShadowCast 2, ShadowCast 2 Pro, and Covert Dock 2.

    The Genki ShadowCast 2 Pro capture device supports up to 4K video at 60 frames per second and can handle HDMI passthrough with HDR and VRR. The company claims it has an instant setup process — just plug your gaming system (for example, a PS5) into the ShadowCast 2 Pro hardware, then plug in a USB-C iPad or a computer. You can capture video through Genki Studio (now on iPad), OBS, or other software and also view it on a TV plugged into the second HDMI port. You can even capture at 144 or 240 frames per second if you drop the resolution to 1440p or 1080p, respectively. There are also two 3.5mm audio ports for monitoring and mixing.

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  • My favorite Ray-Ban Meta Smart Glasses feature: they’re a transparent gadget.

    Most of them are, anyhow. See through frames! Here’s our hands-on. And here’s our StoryStream tracking all the see-through gadgets coming to market.

  • The Lamborghini-inspired Dry Studio Black Diamond 75 gaming keyboard is more cool than cringe

    The Dry Studio Black Diamond 75 keyboard standing upright on a desk in front of a large monitor.
    It may be a 75 percent layout, but this hefty keyboard is anything but compact.

    Angry Miao usually specializes in bespoke mechanical keyboards with zany or nonsensical designs that cost small fortunes. But today, its new Japan-based sub-brand, Dry Studio, is announcing a Lamborghini-inspired gaming keyboard that looks like a futuristic race car on your desk, yet it clocks in at a price some of us mere mortals can actually stomach.

    It’s called the Black Diamond 75, a pre-built 75 percent mechanical keyboard (switches, PBT keycaps, and PCB-mounted stabilizers all included and preinstalled) with an integrated wrist wrest, and it starts at just $240 on Indiegogo ($204 on an “early bird” special) — with expected shipments in November.

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  • The Analogue Pocket is getting a delightful limited-edition transparent version

    A photo of the translucent Analogue Pocket handheld.
    Image: Analogue

    Another special edition of the Analogue Pocket handheld is on the way. Later this week, the company will be launching a new transparent version of the device, which will be available in seven different colors: clear, smoke, red, blue, orange, green, and purple.

    Like the recent glow-in-the-dark version of the Pocket, Analogue says that the transparent handheld will only be available in “limited quantities.” It goes on sale on September 29th at 11AM ET on the company’s site and will cost $249, a slight bump from the base model’s $219 price tag. Units are expected to start shipping two weeks later.

    Read Article >
  • Microsoft’s Starfield gamepad has windows for triggers.

    No, not that kind of Windows — I mean you can see rumble motors inside each of the transparent impulse triggers! Guess I should have bought one in June when Tom first told me about it; they seem to be sold out.

  • I have never wanted a PDP gamepad until this very moment.

    I’m a sucker for transparent tech. But PDP’s new Switch and Xbox gamepads aren’t just see-through — as Verge alum Alice writes at Polygon, they’re dioramas. Sega, Nintendo, and Hasbro are all helping put figurines and graphics inside. Wired start at $40, wireless at $60, arriving as soon as September.

  • Transparent batteries are hot.

    I wouldn’t say they’re practical, but I absolutely love how they look — and the new $59 Icemag even has its own tiny RGB fan.

    These three batteries are all from Sharge (I think it rhymes with “Charge”) and I can’t wait to see what the Shenzhen company does next. While I don’t own these batteries, I did Kickstart its tiny transparent SSD enclosure, where my old Steam Deck drive will hopefully soon live.

  • It’s like if the Game Boy Advance SP was even tinier.

    That’s the best way I can describe the FunKey S, a very adorable, but extremely tiny, retro gaming console. It comes in a bunch of colors including the late 90s-early 2000s classic Atomic Purple and should be able to emulate consoles up to the original PlayStation.

    But given it looks like it was made for ants I wouldn’t anticipate either the most pleasing gaming experience or the longest lasting one.

    Naturally I ordered one as soon as I saw it because I want to see what Syphon Filter looks like on a 1.54-inch screen. I’ll report back once I find out.

    A group of very tiny folding retro game consoles.
    They’re so tiny!!!!
    Image by FunKey
  • 25 years after the iMac, transparent gadgets are coming back.

    The iMac wasn’t the first (remember the ConairPhone? How about transparent prison tech?) and thankfully it won’t be the last. The third age of clear tech is here.

    For more, check out our Verge StoryStream.

  • Jsaux’s Steam Deck RGB transparent cover and docks are now on sale.

    $40 for the RGB back cover, $60 combo with the front plate for the fully transparent look, $36 for front plate by itself, $60-$90 for the RGB docks.

    Don’t miss our report on how Jsaux rode the Steam Deck to escape the Amazon wilderness.

  • See-through VR headsets should be a thing.

    The transparent PS VR2 has been shown, and here’s a special edition clear Quest Pro unit from Meta CTO Andrew Bosworth, posted during the launch of Threads. Since Meta’s shutting down production of these, we don’t expect to see it released, but at least it exists.

  • Want to see photos of some PlayStation VR 2 prototypes?

    Check ‘em out on the PlayStation blog. My favorite is easily this transparent PSVR 2. Sony, please release this for real!

    A transparent PlayStation VR 2.
    Image: Sony
  • If you own a Steam Deck, it should be (at least partially) see-through.

    Jsaux’s Transparent Backplate for the Steam Deck is $19.99 ($10 off) at Amazon for Prime Day.

    But the best part of this excellent deal isn’t even that the user-replaceable shell comes with a heatsink for better cooling, or that it also includes swappable rear buttons to choose your preferred feel. No, the best part is that these shells come in six fantastic colors, and one of them is atomic freakin’ purple!

    A lineup of Steam Deck handheld PC consoles outfitted in Jsaux’s colorful see-through backplates.
    Hmm, maybe I need a second Steam Deck?
    Image: Jsaux
  • Jsaux’s RGB transparent back cover for Steam Deck is $40 next month.

    They tell us the $40 PC0106 has its own battery, but it’s not clear what kind. Is that a USB-C port and a button on the back to fire up the LEDs, right beneath the Deck’s volume keys? Seems like! We’re asking.

    More here, including Jsaux’s new RGB dock — which has an expanding stand so it can work with other handhelds as well.

  • Carl Pei teases a see-through USB-C cable for the Nothing Phone 2.

    The slow drip-feed of rumors and details about Nothing’s next phone continues, with exec Carl Pei tweeting a photo of a USB-C cable (only the ends are clear, which is a little disappointing) that we expect to see debut with the Phone 2 on July 11th.

    You know we love transparent gadgets, and while a cable is pretty basic hardware, now that Beats has stepped up to match Nothing’s clear earbuds, it has to do more.

  • iFixit now sells a see-thru 65W USB-C PD power adapter.

    At $65 for a single 65W port and no folding plug, it won’t be stealing too much business from Anker — but when’s the last time you saw a PD charger suitable for your transparent gadget collection? I kinda love the look. Plus, it comes with a 6-foot 240W-ready cable, for whenever those chargers arrive.

  • I made my PS5 Fire Orange and Atomic Purple with Dbrand’s transparent Darkplates

    A Sony PlayStation 5 game console stands upright with translucent orange sides and an orange skin running up and down its center bar.
    Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

    Would you agree technology peaked in the days of candy-colored gadgets in see-through hues like “Atomic Purple” and “Bondi Blue”? If so, Dbrand would greatly enjoy weaponizing your nostalgia against your bank account.

    Today, it’s introduced the $100 Retro Darkplates for your PS5, which give your Sony console a similar effect to the transparent N64s that Nintendo released at the turn of the millennium.

    Read Article >
  • A fully transparent Steam Deck could soon be yours with these new front plates

    Jsaux’s Steam Deck transparent front plate.
    Jsaux’s Steam Deck transparent front plate.
    Image: Jsaux via

    “My favorite new Steam Deck mod is this $30 see-through heatsink backplate,” I wrote in January. “Wake me up when someone makes a transparent front shell,” some readers told me.

    Well, your nap is nearly over: Jsaux just confirmed to that a transparent front shell is on the way, providing the image you see atop this story (which we’re using with Overkill’s blessing). And ExtremeRate tweeted this earlier today:

    Read Article >
  • Beats Studio Buds Plus review: it’s cool to be clear

    A photo of Beats’ translucent Studio Buds Plus earbuds.
    The Beats Studio Buds Plus cost $169.99.

    I can’t stop looking at these earbuds. You might’ve already seen leaks about the new Beats Studio Buds Plus, available beginning today for $169.99, but there’s something even more attention-grabbing about their translucent design in person. Maybe it’s because I came of age in the late ’90s, when these semiopaque finishes were a common sight on gamepads, household phones, and other gizmos. (I’m looking at you, iMac G3.) There’s certainly a nostalgia factor. But Beats also really nailed the execution with these. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself closely poring over all the small inner details now visible: the orange ring around the USB-C port; the way that light reflects off metal surfaces inside the case as you rotate it in your hands; and yes, the plainly visible battery just underneath the “b” logo. 

    At their core, the Studio Buds Plus are an upgraded refresh of earbuds that originally debuted in 2021. Though I praised their comfort, I was underwhelmed by the rest of what the Studio Buds had to offer. Now, Beats is trying to address those weak points with this “Plus” model: the sound has been refined, there’s more powerful active noise cancellation, and the transparency mode sounds more natural. Battery life has also been stretched out further. 

    Read Article >
  • It’s not Nothing to manufacture transparent gadgets.

    Nothing CEO Carl Pei has done another of his product review videos on YouTube — this time for Apple’s second-gen AirPods Pro.

    The most interesting part starts at the 1:35 mark, when Pei mentions that the Nothing Ear 2 assembly line is “like a rainforest” and filled with humidifiers to prevent dust from finding its way into the transparent earbuds or the carrying case. (Humidity makes the dust settle, which is why some people apply screen protectors in a bathroom with the shower running.)

    Even after going to such lengths, 20 to 30 percent of units are rejected and have to be remade.