Tech Tools: The Coolest Phones and Phone Doodads

Celluon Epic (Celluon.com)

Years ago, pop culture predicted that the 21st century would be full of holograms and lasers. While we’ve mostly given up on holograms, we can still mesmerize ourselves with laser-diode gadgets like this one. The $150 sci-fi device connects to your phone or tablet via Bluetooth and projects a full-size virtual qwerty keyboard onto any flat, opaque surface. The 2.7-inch accessory fits in your pocket, which means you can type more comfortably from anywhere—hopefully somewhere outside of Skynet’s range.

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Google Nexus 6 (Google.com/nexus/6)

Motorola and Google have teamed up to release one of the most anticipated non-Apple smartphones in recent memory. The aluminum Nexus 6, $650, has a huge, 6-inch HD screen, two front-facing speakers and weighs about half a pound. It is the first smartphone to incorporate Android’s new operating system, Lollipop, which can sync your phone to your PC and TV in real time. Amazingly the phone can get six hours of battery life after only 15 minutes of charging.

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RYOBI Phone Works (RYOBITools.com/phoneworks)

Turn your smartphone into the pocket equivalent of Bob Vila’s garage. Power-tool maker Ryobi has released a new line of gadgets that attach to your pocket device—a laser level, stud-finder, infrared thermometer, noise-suppressing headphones and more—that even those of us challenged by a hammer and nails can handle. Phone Works instruments ($15–$100 per attachment) are compatible with iPhone and Samsung Galaxy internal sensors and display info like how moist your concrete is alongside your newest text messages.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 4 (Samsung.com)

If you long for the days of your PalmPilot, the new Samsung Galaxy Note 4 ($600) is the smartphone for you. It comes with a stylus! A stylus! Use the e-pen to more precisely click on links, highlight text and even scribble notes on the screen. Like a PC, the Note can operate multiple apps at once, so you can open your email and calendar in pop-up windows and use them at the same time. With your stylus! No finger-tapping for you, big shot.

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Sony QX30 Lens (Sony.com)

No matter how great smartphone cameras get, taking photos with them always feels so amateurish. The 20.4-megapixel Sony QX30 Lens looks like an actual semipro lens—and has the same capabilities as a 35-millimeter one—but attaches to your Android or iOS device. Your screen becomes the viewfinder, and the lens extends to accommodate a 30x optical super-zoom, which (along with the price tag) makes this attachment feel very professional. Say cheese: It’ll set you back $350.

Check out 43 apps you need right now—for an easier, cooler, richer, really fun, more-better-good life.

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Alyson Sheppard

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