LG X Venture $329

This smartphone was made for the outdoors

If you love the outdoors — always hiking or biking or kayaking — a rugged phone like the LG X Venture is right up your alley. It is a handset that’s designed to take some punishment but won’t break the bank.

The X Venture falls into the limited category of rugged phones, and it’s tough-looking. Its black glass front is surrounded on both sides by a metal frame with reinforced corners.

The Android phone still has the traditional front-facing layout with a home button, back button and menu button, all of which are designed to stand out a bit from the glass screen and to be easily pressed, even with gloved fingers.

In fact, the X Venture has glove mode, which is supposed to make it easier to interact with the screen while wearing gloves. It passed the garden glove test.

The back of the phone is a grippy plastic with a textured finish designed to help you hang on.

The X Venture is a big phone that’s easy to use with big hands and is especially apt for situations in which you might not be comfortable using a less-sturdy phone.

The handset has IP68 protection from water and dust. It can stay under 5 feet of water for up to 30 minutes. LG also said the X Venture passed 14 different tests for durability conducted by an independent laboratory that conforms to U.S. military standards.

It’s 6-by-3-by-0.36 inches and weighs 5.8 ounces. It’s pretty darn big when you compare it to my iPhone 6S. The display screen is 5.2 inches.

The specs — pixels, camera speed and the like — tell us the X Venture is not a high-end phone, but that’s not its purpose. There’s a time and a place for the iPhone 7 or Samsung Galaxy S8. There’s also a place for a tough phone like the X Venture.

Dallas Morning News

Click & Grow $59.95

Indoor garden works even in tiny apartment

You could fall down a rabbit hole with indoor gardening after buying a so-called smart planter called the Click & Grow. It’s basically a planter with built-in drip irrigation and a timed grow light; you can buy dirt pods containing seeds for growing different types of plants (although sets of three for $20 seem too much). Even if you live in a tiny home with little natural light, you could grow fresh basil, chili peppers and cilantro. What a novelty.

New York Times