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Transparent Gadgets, A Staple of the '90s, Are Back. Here's Why

Remember your see-through computer? Transparent gadgets are back — and they look and sound better than ever.

a group of electronic devices
Cam Oden

It's been more than two decades since Apple launched its playfully transparent computer, the iMac G3. To this day, it remains one of the most important Apple products of all time. Not only was it wildly successful, it was a catalyst for transparent gadgets at the turn of the millennium.

Apple released other computers with see-through elements, such as 1999’s iBook G3 and 2000’s Power Mac G4 Cube. Meanwhile, Nintendo came out with its own line of transparent controllers and consoles, including the N64 and Game Boy. The list goes on …

Then, for whatever reason, transparent tech went into hibernation, waking only recently with a conspicuous spike of transparent gadgets, from smartphones to wireless earbuds to portable chargers.

transparent ear buds in a case
Cam Oden
a bundle of transparent gadgets
Cam Oden

The most prolific player in this revived space is Nothing. Within the last 12 months, the nascent tech company has released two wireless earbuds and an Android smartphone — all of which feature a transparent design.

There's also Apple-owned Beats, perhaps the most mainstream company to dip its toes into transparent tech. The brand recently announced a transparent version of its new noise-canceling wireless earbuds, the Studio Buds +.

"Fashion trends are often recycled and experience a 're-emergence' every few decades," says Chris Thorne, Beats's chief marketing officer.

"We see transparent tech as both nostalgic and futuristic," Thorne adds. "It’s iconic to the Y2K era, yet shows off the technological chips and components that continue to develop and be more powerful than ever."

Sharge Shargeek 100


Sharge Shargeek 100

$199.99 (13% off)

Formerly known as the Storm2, the Shargeek 100 is a 25,600-mAh portable battery with a clear case that shows off its inner workings. The cherry on top is its wonderful color display that shows you real-time charging stats

Read our review of the Sharge Shargeek 100 here.

Dockcase Smart USB-C Hub

Dockcase Smart USB-C Hub


Dockcase makes a number of USB-C smart hubs that add much-needed ports to your MacBook or Windows laptop, but also have a built-in display to provide info about charging, data transfer and video outputs.

Read why we love the Dockcase Smart USB-C Hub here.

Nothing Phone 2


Nothing Phone 2


The Nothing Phone 2 is a midrange Android smartphone with a transparent back that boasts an integrated LED lighting system which lights up in specific ways depending on the call or notification you receive.

Read our review of the Nothing Phone 2 here.

Nothing Ear 2

Nothing Ear 2


Nothing's 2021-released Ear 1 were standouts because of their semi-transparent design. The Ear 2 are nearly identical wireless earbuds, but boast improved sound and active noise-cancellation.

Read our review of the Nothing Ear 2 here.

Nothing Ear Stick


Nothing Ear Stick

$64.00 (19% off)

The Nothing Ear Stick are more budget-friendly wireless earbuds than Nothing's Ear 2. They lack premium features like active noise-cancellation, but have one of the most unique and fun charging cases out there.

Read our review of the Nothing Ear Stick here.

Beats Studio Buds +

Beats Studio Buds +

Beats amazon.com

These noise-canceling wireless earbuds are the first Beats headphones to have a transparent design.

Read our review of the Beats Studio Buds + here.

iFixIt 65W Fast Charger

iFixIt 65W Fast Charger


This fast charger is capable of delivering 65 watts of power and can fast-charge your iPhone, iPad or MacBook Air.

Case-Mate Fuel USB-C Charger

Case-Mate Fuel USB-C Charger (4-Pack)


Case-Mate's tiny wall adapters have transparent designs and are available in a number of fun colors. Each is capable of delivering 30 watts of power and charging your iPhone at the fastest possible speeds.

Nomad 30W Power Adapter

Nomad 30W Power Adapter (Transparent)


Nomad has released a transparent version of its tiny 30-watt and 20-watt wall adapters.

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