Advice for hoverboard buyers in light of some overseas devices catching fire.

So, it seems that the hottest gadget of the year may be just a bit too hot.

Reports from overseas suggest that some hoverboards (the self balancing, battery powered, personal wheeled vehicles that look like Segways without the stick), have been catching fire in some circumstances.

It appears that the combination of batteries, electric circuitry, moving parts and heavy usage, such as bumps received while driving up and down kerbs or hitting into walls, might result in components coming loose which can then cause electrical fires within the device.

Leaving them on charge for too long also seems to be a factor.

Internationally Amazon have drastically reduced the range of hoverboards they sell, but they are still selling some.

I would hate to contribute to social media hysteria but I would also hate to recommend a product group which has the potential for causing harm.  With that in mind I have removed the hoverboard from my gift guide blog post until there is clearer guidance on the category in New Zealand.

In my experience the devices I tested, branded as Glideboards, were made of high quality materials and never exhibited any issues of concern.  I would advise people who wish to buy any hoverboards to talk to a reputable retailer or distributor and discuss the quality of materials and safety specifications if you have any concerns.

I would not recommend buying any off of pop-up stores online and remember that while it is not a guarantee, usually the lower the price, the lower the quality of materials is.

The range I tested were on the higher side of the ledger at $799 up.  Since writing about the devices and talking about them on TV I have been approached by representatives in Asia offering to sell me similar devices for $150 (which I have declined).

For current owners, I would recommend making sure the devices are never left on charge for long and that they are monitored while charging.  Also check your device for any damage after use and check for suspicious smells or signs of overheating.  If you have further concerns talk to the distributor.

 

 

 

 

 

16 Great Gadget Gift Ideas for Christmas 2015

Ho, ho, ho gadget fiends, can you believe it is only two and a bit weeks to Christmas?
Hopefully you’ve been really good all year and Santa brings you all of the tech toys you truly deserve.
What’s that you say?  You still haven’t sent Santa your Christmas letter?  Well you better get onto it. But first, feel free to draw inspiration from this random list of cool tech toys for Christmas that suit just about any budget.

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Starting at the top of the price range we’ve got two terrific televisions followed by a couple of top tablets.
1. The standout TV of the year might just have been the Samsung Curved SUHDTV.  It’s packed with all of the tech you could ever want, from a massive curved screen and nano crystal colour technology all the way through to Tizen powered smart TV apps including the popular Netflix and Youtube apps.  The top of the range curved 65″ TV is in the market for $6,599.
2. The LG UHD TV may be more understated in design but it hits a sweet spot between superb picture quality, price and features.  The LG 49UF770V also has built in Freeview Plus, meaning you can watch OnDemand TV from TVNZ, Mediaworks and Maori Television straight from the programme guide. Price: $1694.00
3. The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 from $1599, is powered by Windows 10 and turns from a tablet into a full powered laptop while running all of your desktop software.  Fans of the Surface Pro 3 are going to love the better specced Pro 4 (12.3 inch pixelsense display making it beautiful looking as well as very fast).
4. Next up we have the Apple iPad Pro which ranges in price from $1399 to $1899 depending on memory options. Described by the 9to5Mac website as a “giant expensive tablet with a couple of pricey accessories”, this is the brand new 12.9″ ipad.  Screen as big as a laptop, optional Apple Pencil $189, and Apple Smart Keyboard $319. The components are so powerful it can virtually replace your laptop.
These are both great devices but they do different things.  The iPad pro is my favourite iPad, but if it came to doing work on the go, I’d plump for the Surface Pro 4.
5. Christmas in New Zealand also means summer. And summer means BBQ’s.  This year we were pleased to welcome Green Mountain Grills to the grilling landscape.  The $1399 Daniel Boone grill is a perfect heated smoker that also has the advantage of being wi-fi enabled so you can control all of the settings remotely from your smartphone or tablet.
Two gadgets that really stood out this year were the ubiquitous Hoverboard (6.) and the Star Wars related toy BB8 (7.).  Hoverboards seemed to show up out of nowhere and appear all over megastars social media accounts, from Justin Bieber to Kendall Jenner.  However with the latest concerns in the media being around the potential for some boards to catch fire while on charge, I have removed them from this list. Please see my explanation here.
Sphero partnered with Disney to bring the BB8 Droid from Star Wars to life – even if the toy version is relatively small compared to the movie version.  Controlled by a smartphone app, there is plenty to keep kids entertained from voice controls to hologram video simulations. Price $279.99
8.  What do you give the person who has everything?  Perhaps a remote control that can link all of their devices together.  At $599 The Logitech Harmony Elite Plus Remote Control commands a high price, but not only will this single remote replace all of those other remotes littering your coffee table, you can also use it to control your smart home devices (smart light bulbs etc.)
9. The Apple TV has had a makeover.  With the Apple TV Remote with Touch surface, a new interface and the App Store, where you’ll find games and apps that changes what you expect from your big screen.Apple TV $299 32GB and $399 64GB.
10. Parrot Minidrones give you plenty of options as they range in in price from $179 to $329.  Great as gifts for teenagers (or for never-quite-grew-up-dads) plunge into the era of connected toys with the second generation of Parrot Minidrones. These  advanced, miniaturized robots are piloted with a smartphone or a tablet via the free piloting app, FreeFlight 3.
The 13 different drones fall into 3 categories, the wheeled ones that can jump, mini flying drones and a new range – the Hydrofoil, which allow you to attach a flying drone to a boat so you can speed boat around a pond.
11. Meccanoid G15 Kid Size Programmable Robot $229 ages 10 and Up.
The small version of the amazing educational toy we had on Breakfast earlier this year when the prototype visited Motat.The Meccano Meccanoid G15 KS Personal Robot comes with over one thousand phrases and voice recognition to make your personal robot more like your best friend. Build, program and play with this fully operational, 4-foot-tall robot, with life-like articulated limbs powered by 10 motors for realistic movement. As with any Meccano product, you can take the pieces apart and re-create. Rebuild Meccanoid as a dinosaur, or anything else you can dream up.
12. Hottest game of the season: Fallout 4 Video Game, 99.99 for PC, $119.99 for PS4 and XBoxOne (R18)

Bethesda Game Studios, the award-winning creators of Fallout 3 and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, welcome you to the world of Fallout 4 – their most ambitious game ever, and the next generation of open-world gaming.

As the sole survivor of Vault 111, you enter a world destroyed by nuclear war. Every second is a fight for survival, and every choice is yours. Only you can rebuild and determine the fate of the Wasteland.

The teenager in our house has been lost in this game (figuratively) for the last two weeks.  I’ve just dipped my toe in and can’t wait to experience the rest as it is visually stunning.

 

13. UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker $299, Available from Noel Leeming etc.

What more can we say about these cool speakers? Building from the award-winning UE BOOM 360-degree speaker that Ultimate Ears introduced in 2013, UE BOOM 2 is 25 percent louder with a longer wireless range of 100-feet and a completely waterproof design, so music can be shared on the beach, at the snow, and everywhere in between.
It has a 15-hour all-day, all-night battery life, plus, new and innovative tap controls that allows users to skip songs, without needing to have a phone in-hand.
Finally, a few cheap but fun gadget suggestions:
14. Satzuma Gadgets USB Fridge, 34.99 and 15. Robot USB Hub, $25 from Playtech.

The Robot Hub has 4 USB ports where you can plug in your mouse, keyboard or any other USB device without having to use up all your USB ports on your computer.

This fun little desktop hub has movable arms and glowing blue LED eyes when transferring data. It comes with an extension cable and is great for getting the most out your hardware

The USB Cooler is the envy of any office worker who likes a cold drink. The cooler has a slick retro appearance and will keep any can nice and cool ensuring you can stay at your station for longer.

And 16. Iluv LED Bluetooth Speaker $35.00 from Playtech

Get ready to have a great time with Aud Mini Party!  This portable rubberized Bluetooth speaker is integrated with multicoloured LEDs that bring your party to life by providing a fun visual and aural experience. The LEDs flash and strobe in multiple dazzling colors, and can be cycled through six preset lighting themes.

Phew well that’s quite a list, and I could have added dozens more.  Hopefully it gives you some idea as to what’s available and you end up with the perfect present under the tree.

All up, you could spend a lot of money on these toys, but if you want to spend money on something more meaningful, I highly recommend putting a bit aside and donating to a couple of charities that really need your help (at this time of year especially).  Top of my list, the Auckland City Mission and Women’s Refuge.  Your money will certainly be put to good use.

That’s it from me this year, I hope you all have a safe and happy holiday season!

Google

Futuristic gadgets for Back to the Future Day

Glideboards, from $749

Here’s a question: what’s cooler than the other side of the pillow? A self-balancing, gyroscopic, motorised personal transport device of course.

Glideboards are part of the revolutionary self-balancing board wave that have swept the globe and are now available across Australia and New Zealand.

Every Glideboard comes fully equipped with German precision engineered gyroscopic technology, and powerful batteries that allow you to travel up to 10 km/hr for 25km. The alloy wheels and protective casing are rain and dust proof, and the high quality solid tyres ensure each Glideboard is both durable and safe.

The pressure sensors on each non-slip footpads will independently adjust the speed based on weight distribution of each foot, allowing for easy and precise control.

Website: www.glideboards.co

https://instagram.com/p/8gfud1yVla/?taken-by=glideboards.co

Ring Video Doorbell for your smartphone, $399.95

This revolutionary internet-connected doorbell screens a live audio and video stream of your home’s front doorstep, directly to any smartphone or tablet. Ring sends instant alerts via the free Ring app (iOS® and Android) when the doorbell is rung, or if motion is detected. You can see and speak with people at your house from anywhere (even overseas) or watch recorded footage on your own smart device.

Especially perfect for those who work at home and don’t want to get distracted but want to know what’s happening, busy mums on the go and home-owners or security-conscious Kiwis that want to feel safe knowing exactly what’s going on at their front doorstep. If you’re a techie wanting a new gadget to play with, the nifty Ring will be sure to deliver your fix too!

Website: https://ring.com/

App: https://itunes.apple.com/nz/app/ring-video-doorbell/id926252661?mt=8

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Musical Spark

With the TomTom Spark fitness watch you can train to the sound of your music as well as the beat of your heart.

This nifty new sports wearable allows you to listen to close to 500 songs while exercising without the need for a phone or separate music player. You can store your playlists on your wrist and listen to them wirelessly during your workout through wireless bluetooth headphones.

As a fitness tracker, the TomTom performs as it should, capturing your steps, active minutes, and calories burnt. But it also has a heart rate monitor built in so you can track your heart rate without the need for a chest strap.

The Spark watch allows you to switch between modes so you can mix up your training, whether you choose to run, bike, swim or workout at the gym.

It is also a pretty smart watch; it’s automatic sleep tracking function helps you know if you’re getting the sleep you need; it’s wireless syncing allows you to sync your session wirelessly on your favourite running app and finally, it is water resistant so you will feel confident running in all weather conditions.

Price: $349

Website: https://www.tomtom.com/en_nz/sports/fitness-watches/

https://instagram.com/p/7LZ4AZllN3/?taken-by=tomtomglobal
Google

Microsoft springs a surprise with new laptop launch

At 9 a.m. local time on Tuesday, 150 tech journalists queued in the shadow of New York’s iconic Empire State Building.

We were there to gain access to Microsoft’s Windows 10 devices launch which was being held at the former US Post Office building which at one time was used to process over 70% of the country’s mail.

Shortly after 10 o’clock the presentation got under way and for the next 90 minutes the company rolled out the announcement and demonstration of device after device.

Prior to the event the rumour mill had been active.  Leaks had primed us to expect some of the products  – the launch of two or three new Lumia phones,  a new Surface Pro 4., perhaps an update to the Band wearable.  However on at least two occasions expectations were exceded.

The first big hit was a live video game demonstration of the mixed reality Hololens headset.  If the Project X-ray demonstration of robots climbing out of the walls was accurate (and there may have been some enhancement for theatrical purposes) in the near future gamers will be using their own rooms as canvases for gameplay.

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Yet it was the announcement of a laptop that really got the crowd excited.
Continue reading

Excitement builds for #Windows10devices event this week

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In just three days time Microsoft will reveal a new selection of Windows 10 devices at a special event in New York.

The rumour mill has been grinding away for months, with the smart money predicting the launch of at least two new phones, codenamed Cityman and Talkman. Or perhaps they will be called the Lumia 950 and 950 XL?

win10talkman-leak

Either way, Microsoft remain tight-lipped on the matter, only confirming the announcement in general terms in an e-mail invite to journalists.

If the rumours are true however these will be for first flagship phones announced since the rather lovely Lumia 930 well over a year ago.

While images of alleged the phones like the one above have made their way onto the internet, any guessing about the specifications of the phones remain just that, guesses.

The event will take place at 10 am on Tuesday at the Skylight at Moynihan Station, just a stones throw from the Empire State Building and Madison Square Gardens.

With a rumoured appearance from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, the assembled media, including yours truly, are looking forward to seeing what Windows 10 will mean for the next generation of Microsoft mobile devices.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 29: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella delivers a keynote during the 2015 Microsoft Build Conference on April 29, 2015 at Moscone Center in San Francisco, California. Thousands are expected to attend the annual developer conference which runs through May 1. (Photo by Stephen Lam/Getty Images)

 

Stay tuned to thegadgetguy.co.nz for updates during the week and follow the hashtag #Windows10devices or the official site https://www.microsoft.com/october2015event/en-us for more rumours and reveals.

Google

The Boom Times Continue – Testing The UE Boom 2 Speaker

I’ve long been a fan of the UE portable bluetooth speaker range.

It started with the UE Boom, a cylindrical speaker, hardly bigger than a drink bottle, that could pump out a lovely clear sound from any of your bluetooth enabled smart devices.

Then came the Megaboom,  a larger and louder version of the Boom which also had the benefit of being water resistant.

Earlier this year the form factor changed with a flying saucer shaped UE Roll.

But the Boom has gone back to its original form factor for the latest version, the Boom 2.

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Family Photo: The original UE Boom in black, the Megaboom in blue, the UE Roll in the foreground and the new UE Boom 2 in the middle in “tropical” colours.

Designed to get wet, muddy and beaten up, the UE Boom 2 wireless mobile speaker blasts great sound in every direction.

Using high-quality materials the Boom 2 is waterproof (IPX 7), drop-proof (from up to five feet high), disruptive and bold, as well as being whole lot of fun.

https://instagram.com/p/8HyaRQROFQ/

Like the first Boom, it’s the size of a water bottle so it can be stuck in a bike’s water bottle holder or clipped to a bag, to turn up life and add sound to any experience.

The Boom 2 is 25 percent louder than the original with a longer wireless range of 100-feet and a completely waterproof design, so music can be shared on the beach, at the snow, and everywhere in between.

It has a 15-hour all-day, all-night battery life, plus, new and innovative tap controls that allows users to skip songs, without needing to have a phone in-hand. 

One feature that is sure to please is the pairing.  Using the Boom 2 app for iOS and Android, users can double the sound by pairing Boom 2 with any other Ultimate Ears speaker, remotely turn the speaker on from a phone and even wake up with their favourite music.

New updates are sent to UE speakers wirelessly through the app, so users can easily continue to expand features, making each speaker future-proof and even more awesome over time.

The UE Boom 2 comes in five new vibrant colour variations: Cherrybomb, Phantom, GreenMachine, Tropical and BrainFreeze.

UE Boom 2 is expected to be available in the New Zealand in October 2015 for a suggested retail price of $349.90.

For more information, head on over to http://www.ultimateears.com/en-nz .

 

 

 

 

 

Google

Computing On The Go – Microsoft Surface 3 versus the Apple Macbook

As an executive with one of the leading global media agencies – my life revolves around presentations.  For a good 50% of my working week I am either giving a presentation, planning a presentation or sitting in a presentation.

And yes, that’s every bit as glamorous as it sounds.  I am very familiar with PowerPoint and Keynote and have a passing familiarity with Prezi.  Sometimes if I’m lucky, I get to view a presentation from one of the TV Networks, Mediaworks or TVNZ, and boy are they inspiring – there’s nothing like a professional showreel to get a media exec pumped up about the content.

Because of this I know how important the hardware component of a presentation is.  Most people prefer to present off of a laptop, whether it’s a Windows or Mac machine.  I have seen only a handful of presentations given from an iPad in the last two years, and a solitary presentation given on a Windows smartphone.

Despite the functionality of phones and tablets, business people prefer laptops when it comes to getting work done.  Why?  Well it has to come down to the keyboard.  In my experience, presentations change all of the time.  They need to be tailored to the audience, have the dates updated;  new facts and figures and viral content come to hand constantly, so you are forever tweaking your slides before you walk into a room and share your creation with your audience.

Phones and tablets are great for viewing content, but even with a bluetooth keyboard, they are not great for creating the content or substantially tweaking it while running between meeting venues across town or in different cities.

Two Productivity Machines Compared:

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For the past two months I have been running an Apple MacBook and a Microsoft Surface 3 alongside my standard HP work laptop.

I’m aware that the two machines don’t seem directly comparable.  One is tablet/laptop replacement while the other is a fully featured notebook (with a price tag to match).  However they both had what I want from a mobile business perspective.

Both of them are light ultraportables with enough grunt to power my most used business applications; generally Excel, Powerpoint, Word and e-mail as well as a number of web based applications accessed through a browser.

On the whole I’ve found both to be preferable to carting my heavy laptop around town.  Whether I’m on a plane or making changes to a document in the back of a taxi (yes, that happens), both are small enough and light enough to enhance my productivity.

But just what are the pros and cons of each for business on the go?

Microsoft Surface 3:

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You could call it a tablet but with a Type Cover added the Surface 3 is essentially a super light laptop replacement.  It may be marketed at Uni students but I found it to be a great secondary device for work.

The Surface 3 has a number of features which mean it just helps get the business done.  To list these off I am talking about, a full version of windows, the full desktop version of the still dominant Office suite,  a full size USB 3 port, an SD card slot for additional storage or for swapping data and a min displayport that allows yo to connect to a screen or projector (as long as you have the right adapter in your work bag).

One new thing I discovered in the last fortnight which really tickled my fancy was the ability to remote control my presentations using an app on Windows Phone – I can now say goodbye to my separate “clicker”.

Where the Surface 3 struggled slightly though was when I needed to work off of my lap while cooped up in a taxi.  The kickstand can only lock into 3 angles (unlike the more expensive, more aimed at real business users, Surface Pro 3 which has many more) and with the type cover it was sometime hard to find just the right angle for comfortable typing.

On the whole though, I loved the lightness and versatility, especially when I used it as my main device on a 48 hour business trip to Melbourne.  One light device and a small USB power cord is certainly preferable to carrying a 2.5KG laptop and a power brick.

Apple MacBook:

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The new MacBook is a leading edge machine in many ways the business world is not quite ready for it.  Not yet at any rate.

The minimalist, sleek device has one single USB C port through which power, data and video are channeled.  Unlike the Surface, there are no extra ports to plug a USB stick or SD card into.  If you want to do that you’ll need an additional adapter.

That’s because this device is built for the wireless streaming future.

If you do stock up on the accessories you’ll be able to get the most out of everyday business/presentation situations.

The battery life is good but not great so you’ll probably want to keep the power cord on hand.  I averaged about six or seven hours of constant work on a single charge versus the nine quoted on the website.

It’s a statement device though, for sure  Nine times out of ten someone in the room would comment on the MacBook when I used it.  It is unbelievably thin and light and has a gorgeous 12 inch retina display so it attracts comments from the Mac cognoscenti.

In a straight power shootout the MacBook Air can still rule over the Macbook and consequently that range provides slightly better value for money.

While the MacBook can run Office for Mac I enjoyed using Keynote for my presentations.  It just has a layer of sophistication that gives each presentation a quality edge.  However sharing Keynote files with my clients and colleagues is pretty much a no-go so they would eventually have to be output in Powerpoint format or PDF which meant compromises on functionality.

Its traditional Notebook form factor meant it had the edge over the Surface in those type-from-your-lap-while-travelling situations.

At the end of the day the MacBook made an impression (and in the world of advertising, media and commerce that carries some value).  In fact in other industries – creative, design, publishing – Macs are pretty much essential tools and the MacBook would be the number one choice.

However for me, on a day to day basis, the Surface 3 helped me get more work done.

Microsoft Surface 3 website: https://www.microsoft.com/surface/en-nz/products/surface-3.  Priced from $799 plus $199 Type Cover.

Apple MacBook website: http://www.apple.com/nz/macbook.  Priced from $1999.

 

 

Google

Premium Huawei P8 Smartphone Offers Built In Screen Protection

A new, premium smartphone is a joy to behold – until the day you drop it and smash the screen that is.

To help avoid that disappointment, the new Huawei P8 comes with 12 months free screen repair due to accidental breakage.

Hopefully you won’t need it but if you do it’s great to have the peace of mind.

The P8 brings with it much more than a broken screen-free guarantee, this is perhaps the best phone that Huawei have yet produced and the price, just $799, is incredible value for money.

The Huawei P8 is crafted from a single block of aluminium in a process that takes 810 minutes for each unit and includes diamond shape blasting which creates a finely textured surface.

The 5.2” FHD display is covered with Gorilla Glass while the phone itself is incredibly thin at just 6.4mm with a camera which sits perfectly flush.

As you can see from the photos, the P8 and it’s sister device the P8 Lite are stylish devices that wouldn’t look out of place at the club or in the boardroom.

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The Huawei P8 introduces “Rich Touch” allowing the display to differentiate between parts of the hand. Double-tapping a knuckle captures a full-length screen shot, while using your knuckle to draw a circle on the screen quickly selects and captures content.

A new “Find my phone by Voice” function allows users to give their smartphone its own name and then call out to it when misplaced. The P8 will respond through its speaker to tell you where it’s hiding.

For photography fans, the P8 leverages a combination of hardware and software to help users capture beautiful images, even in the worst lighting conditions.

Features include: 

  • The  Optical Image Stabilizer technology, enabling high-quality photos and videos, and managing camera shake so images are consistently sharp.
  • The world’s first four-colour RGBW 13MP sensor and DSLR-level independent image processor enabling noise reduction when shooting and intelligent detection of a high-contrast lighting environment.
  • Four professional quality low-light shooting modes giving users access to a virtual photo and video studio to capture artistic inspirations.
  • For example, the Light Painting mode utilizes a manual camera shutter to capture broad swaths of light. It can capture a stream of light from a ferris wheel, or allow users to “light paint” their own freehand images using a torch in the dark.
  • The Huawei P8’s Director mode allows users to direct and control up to three other Android phones when shooting a video scene from four angles simultaneously and to synchronize video clip editing.

The Huawei P8 is available in two attractive colours: Titanium Grey and Mystic Champagne.  Both models are available Spark, 2degrees, and other major retailers with an RRP of only NZ$799.

Website: http://consumer.huawei.com/minisite/nz/huawei-p8-nz/

Google

Apple iPhone 6S and 6S Plus go on sale in New Zealand

 

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Kiwis were the first in the world to get their hands on the new iPhone range when the 6S and 6S Plus went on sale on Friday.

Shoppers at Spark and Vodafone were greeted by media and passing rugby fans on their way to watch the All Blacks vs Namibia game which was on at about the same time.

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OneNews report Matty MClean reported live from Spark. Meanwhile over at Vodafone, Aucklander Ryan Watkinson collected his new iPhone 6S as the clocked ticked 8 a.m., having been the first to pre-order the device.

This is only the second time since the launch of Apple’s iPhone in 2008 that New Zealand has been in the first wave of countries for the iPhone release.  The devices are now available in Vodafone’s 30+ stores in New Zealand, as well as Spark, 2Degrees, selected electronics retailers and Apple’s online store.

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So, what can you expect from the new phones?

Despite having a similar look as last year’s range, a lot has changed.  The body is made of aerospace grade aluminium while the screen features new toughened glass.

Internally you also get a faster 64 bit desktop class A9 chip as well as faster wifi and LTE.

But what about the stuff you can see?

The 12 megapixel rear camera (up from 8MP in last years range) has better noise reduction for all scenes and it can now capture 4K video.

Another obvious feature which differentiates the S range from previous models is 3D touch.

3D Touch introduces an entirely new way to interact with iPhone and your content.   The phone  senses how deeply you press the display, and allows you to do all kinds of things more quickly and simply.

It gives you real-time feedback in the form of subtle taps from a Taptic Engine.

In addition to familiar Multi-Touch gestures like Tap, Swipe, and Pinch, 3D Touch introduces Peek and Pop, which let you preview all kinds of content and even act on it—without having to actually open it. For example, you can Peek at an email in your inbox with a light press. Then press a little deeper to Pop and see the full email.

 

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The big question is, are the changes to the phone enough to get you upgrade?  That will depend on your personal circumstances of course but Apple have certainly packed in the features this time around.

Their tag line, “the only thing that has changed is everything” may sound like hyperbole but it’s true that virtually every aspect of the devices have been tweaked and enhanced.

If you are an Apple fan and are still sitting on an iPhone 5S or below, then the improvements in hardware and software provide compelling reasons to upgrade.

Google

What’s Hot in the Kitchen? Creative Kitchen Gadgets for 2015

The microwave oven, the kitchen whiz, the rice cooker – if there’s one room in the house that’s had its unfair share of gadgets, it’s the kitchen.In fact there’s hardly an ingredient that can’t be sliced, diced, shredded or blended by new technology.

Today we looked at four gadgets to try and decide what’s hot and what’s not:

The world famous Nutribullet – called the “conversational mainstay of fitness bores” by the Guardian and Britain’s best-selling Christmas gadget by the Telegraph –  is now available in retail stores in New Zealand.

NutriBullet Original 600W Kit

It had previously been available through those “as seen on TV” ads without a clear price but it is now available at Noel Leeming, Briscoes, Farmers, Mitre 10 and others for a very clear $229.99 for the NutriBullet Pro 900W and $179.99 for the NutriBullet Original 600W.

But having tried the NutriBullet, I’m a convert. I used to get laughed at by friends and family because I would try and blend carrots using a stick blender for my shakes, but that’s the whole point of these machines, you can leave the skins on your fruits and vegetables and it will shred everything into a smooth texture which can be absorbed.

It reduces whole fruits and vegetables into a silky smooth texture, and unlike a juicer – it doesn’t remove any of the fibre. Try kale, raw nuts, seeds or even broccoli, carrot and beetroot in your morning smoothie!

It is now available in stores such as Noel Leeming, Briscoes, Farmers and Mitre 10, from $179.99.

Website: www.originalnutribullet.co.nz, Facebook: www.facebook.com/nutribulletnz

Gadget Two: Paderno World Cuisine Spiralizer Pro “Zoodler”:

I was alerted to this gadget by the lovely people at the Studio of Tableware in Mount Eden.

What is a Zoodler? It’s an Italian designed $120 kitchen gadget that can transform boring vegetables into beautiful strands in seconds with only the tiniest amount of elbow grease.

Studio of Tableware has a shipment coming in from Italy and 70% of the shipment has been pre-sold to interested customers.

You can see the Zoodler in action here:

This is the updated version of the original Paderno World Cuisine Spiral Vegetable Slicer, created about 20 years ago. It offers the same recognized performance, with major added features and benefits. Now included is a fourth blade that will make endless delicate angel hair strands, and a metal pin that is used in conjunction with the straight blade to make spectacular accordion-style vegetables in mere seconds.

Website: Studio of Tableware, Price: $120

Finally – we looked at two fun little kitchen gadgets, the locking tongs and the egg topper for boiled eggs.

The Rosle Locking Tongs may cost $104 but they have a stylish design and the ultimate in functionality.Once you’ve used these tongs you wouldn’t want to be without them in the kitchen and at the dining table (plus your guests will be impressed by the stylish look and the closing with one hand).  They have a patented coupling mechanism that lock and release with the flexing of one hand!

Website: http://www.thestudio.co.nz/shop/Brands/Rosle/Rosle+Locking+Tongs+30cm.html

The Rosle Egg Cracker, $52, is a cute little gadget that helps you take the top off of a boiled egg. May not suit everyone but if you are a stickler for a perfectly clean, topped boiled egg, this is the gadget for you.