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.
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.Read Article >
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.
Nov 9Here 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.
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.Read Article >
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.
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.Read Article >
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.
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.Read Article >
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.
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.Read Article >
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.
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.Read Article >
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.
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.Read Article >
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.
Aug 27I 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.
Aug 23Transparent 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.
Aug 18It’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.
Jul 21Jsaux’s Steam Deck RGB transparent cover and docks are now on sale.
Don’t miss our report on how Jsaux rode the Steam Deck to escape the Amazon wilderness.
Jul 20See-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.
Jul 12If you own a Steam Deck, it should be (at least partially) see-through.
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!
Jun 30Jsaux’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.
Jun 19Carl 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.
Jun 16iFixit 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.
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.Read Article >
“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.Read Article >
Well, your nap is nearly over: Jsaux just confirmed to Overkill.wtf 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:
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.Read Article >
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.
May 15It’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.