MasterLock 1500eDBX DialSpeed, $25,

You don't often see the words "combination lock" and "cool" in the same sentence, so this could be a first: The Master Lock 1500eDBX DialSpeed is one cool combination lock.

The eye catcher is its electronic touchpad face, which takes the place of a spinning dial. It unlocks when you tap up, down, left and right arrows that correspond to letters and numbers. When you punch in the right code, the center of the dial lights up in green, and the arrows on the face light up as if you are taking a victory lap.

The lock does some things ordinary padlocks cannot. It holds four combinations, one master combination and three guest combinations. (You need to know the master combination to reset the others.)

But it can't be used outdoors. The 1500eDBX is not weatherproof.

Master Lock said the battery for the lock should last five years in normal use, but there is a system for opening it using a second battery even if the main one dies.


DropCam HD, $150,

Plenty of video monitoring cameras offer home surveillance solutions, but they are either expensive or the video resolution is low. At $150, the Dropcam HD aims to hit the middle ground, serving as a decent child monitor or home security camera.

The Dropcam HD was easy to set up. It took less than a minute to connect to Wi-Fi and get it up and running. The Dropcam app lets you monitor your living room from your iPhone (the app is available for Android devices, too).

With the camera's 720p resolution, the image was clear, although hardly high-definition. The colors were muted, but the sound was good.

The camera also has a DVR function that records events, marking them on a timeline of the last seven days. You can check each event and skip the hours of motionless void. Real-time viewing is free; the DVR service starts at $9.95 a month.