GEAR: Pat Pilcher’s tech round up

GEAR: Pat Pilcher’s tech round up

Peeper pleasing TV

rsz_sony_tvTV makers have been cramming more pixels onto TV screens for ages. In a very short time, we’ve gone from 1080p HD to 4K Ultra-HD.

Now TV makers are shifting their attentions to HDR (high dynamic range). HDR aims to make more colours viewable and to display more shadow detail.

Sony’s KDX9300D is HDR capable and its 4K screen outputs eye-popping detail. Powered by Android TV, it has a huge amount of apps already available for it too.

rsz_bb8_2Use the Force

Remember that oh so cute spherical droid from Star Wars: The Force Awakens?

Turns out BB8 is the droid you’re looking for, and it is easy to find thanks to Sphero. They’ve launched a remote controlled version of BB8 who’ll trundle around your house. Driving BB8 is dead easy thanks to a wearable Force Controller. It makes Controlling BB8 as easy as moving your arm and performing some easy to learn gestures. The force is strong in this one!

rsz_huawei_p9_plus-1Double the Goodness

Smartphones with twin rear cameras are gaining momentum. Huawei launched the dual camera equipped P9 Plus and were recently followed by Apple. The P9 Plus comes with one mono camera (for greater contrast levels) while its other is colour. Powered by a 1.8GHz octa-core CPU, it comes with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. The P9 Plus packs an infra-red sender, so it can control TVs, air conditioners and audio gear.

Jaybird Freedom: Cheers Ears!

Apple’s move to dump the 3.5mm earphone socket has seen many iPhone users coveting wireless ear-wear. Logitech’s latest addition to the air ear-wear gear is the Freedom from Jaybird. Supplied with differsz_jaybird-freedom4rent sized ear hooks and memory foam ear pads, they’ll stay put once inserted and can also be fitted under a helmet, making them ideal for bikers.

The Jaybirds charge using an external battery/cradle, which means you can top them up even when away from the mains. The Jaybird smartphone app allows you to tweak audio settings and voice prompts can alert you to battery levels, Bluetooth pairing and other smartphone notifications. They’re small and cable free, what’s not to like?

A true Convertible

rsz_microsoft-surface-book-3000Is it a tablet or a laptop? Microsoft’s first laptop, the Surface Book is both. Packing an Intel Core i5CPU, 8GB of RAM, and a generous 128GB SSD, it is spec’d to go head to head against the latest crop of ultra books. Its detachable keyboard also features a GPU and additional battery.

What sets the Surface Book apart from the pack is what Microsoft call the “dynamic fulcrum hinge”, it curiously resembles the spine of a novel and cleverly means the open Surface Book isn’t too screen heavy. Its full sized keyboard has scrabble tile keys, which have a decent amount of travel and good touchpad. For computing on the move, the Surface Book offers plenty of oomph.

Let there be light!

rsz_lightlink_2Getting the right info into the hands of customers in-store can be a difficult task. Digital signage and QR codes makes this easier, but QR codes can be tricky. Customers soon tire of lining their phone’s camera up with tiny square QR codes until it can read the QR code.

Panasonic has an easier solution. Known as light-link, information can get encoded in visible light by switching lighting on and off thousands of times a second (which is all but unnoticeable to the naked eye).

Users still have to download an app onto their phones, but LED lights and the backlighting of digital signs beams information to them.

Users don’t have to hold their phone in a specific position and there’s no fiddling about with focusing on a tiny square code. Another benefit is that Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and other interference is not an issue. It is also possible to provide different information using different light link transmitters. Because it is light based, information doesn’t leak beyond your building’s walls.



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