NEW YORK CITY — Imagine a perfect summer day. Now imagine it fits in your purse, and you've more or less invented this summer's crop of high tech toys.
Whether it's an outdoor movie-screening or an impromptu dance party, the perfect beach read or the perfect picture, these four pint-size gizmos punch well above their weight when it comes to summer fun.
ROCK OUT WITH THE BOOMBOX THAT FITS IN THE PALM OF YOUR HAND
Portable Bluetooth speakers are the perfect outdoor accessory for block parties and picnics, and they're quickly becoming one of the most affordable new gadgets around. Starting at about $100, the best of these palm-sized speakers packs a powerful sonic punch, with resonant bass and superior sound quality that will keep your party going at the park, the beach, or on the roof.
The speakers can sync with any Bluetooth-enabled device such as smartphones, tablets and laptops.
Soundfreaq Sound Kick — $99
Jawbone Jambox — $170
TAKE PERFECT PICTURES WITH THE POINT-AND-SHOOT THAT THINKS IT'S A DSLR
No summer is complete without at least one artistically composed picture of Deno's Wonder Wheel at the Coney Island Boardwalk. But, if Instagram is no longer enough, the latest group of interchangeable lens cameras may be for you.
ILCs entered the mainstream consciousness just before Christmas, when Ashton Kutcher started playing with one in a TV commercials. But if the candy-colored Nikon 1 left shutterbugs wondering if these cameras were serious, Canon's brand new EOS M clears up the doubt.
Interchangeable lens cameras (so-called because you can swap the lenses like on a traditional DSLR) split the difference between the sleek, pocket-sized point-and-shoot and the bulky but powerful professional-grade cameras that have become increasingly popular even among amateur shooters.
Though they're small, these cameras are nearly as fast as their much larger counterparts. They shoot more megapixels, boast better focus, take bigger files. ILC's keep the point-and-shoot's more intuitive menus, but pack them with options unavailable until now.
True, they're still much more expensive than point-and-shoot cameras, but an interchangeable lens is the far cheaper option for the aspiring photographer with big camera dreams.
Sony Alpha NEX — starting at about $500
Nikon 1 — from about $600
Canon EOS M — about $800
BE THE COOLEST DUDE ON THE BLOCK WITH A POCKET MOVIE PROJECTOR
Nothing says summer in New York City like an outdoor movie screening. What was once a strictly Coney Island affair has quickly become common at almost any bar or cafe with outdoor space and a slow weeknight to fill.
Enter the pico projector, a growing class of tiny movie machines that allow you to project videos from your smartphone, tablet or laptop. The smallest (and cheapest) start at less than $100, with dozens of still tiny but much more powerful versions available for $400 to $500.
Pop Video Pico Projector — $99
Shine HD Pocket Projector — $430
READ FIFTY SHADES GUILT FREE IN HD
The latest generation of e-readers-turned-tablets make summer's guilty pleasures like Fifty Shades of Grey instantly accessible and totally anonymous on the subway. While the buzz has officially begun over Apple's new iPad mini, the market leader has some fashionable competition.
Kindle has the Fire, Barnes and Noble the Nook — but the most exciting addition to the tablet world this summer is Google's sold-out Nexus 7, which uses the same operating system as the Fire but improves on its specs and, just for fun, comes preloaded with the latest Bourne thriller and Transformers: Dark of the Moon.
Speaking of Transformers, the other tablet-to-watch is the Asus Eee Pad Transformer, which boasts a detachable keyboard and an impressive battery life.
All have crystal-clear touch screens, ever-faster processing systems and infinite apps. The majority retail for about $200, which makes resisting them harder than ever.