Pimp-out your student flat with these extravagant and essential gadgets

Summer recess is over and tertiary students are heading back to student digs all around the country.  But being in a flatting situation doesn’t mean you always have to rough it.

Today we are looking at some blinging gadgets that will impress the savviest students for the year ahead.

1. Selk Bags from AstromanCollectibles.com

Price: $225
Gadget Guy Rating: 4 out of 5.
Website: http://www.astromancollectibles.com/

The Selk’bag Sleepwear System is the ultimate sleeping bag providing superior comfort, mobility and warmth for camping, backpacking, and indoor use.

Inspired by the Selk’Nam tribe from Tierra Del Fuego, Chile, A Selk’bag is essentially a wearable, human-shaped sleeping bag. Customers love them for their comfort, warmth and versatility and the fact they can experience these qualities virtually anywhere, awake or asleep.

How best to describe the Selk Bag? You could call it the ultimate sleeping system for people on the go, or the best way for students to keep warm when the flat heating bill hasn’t been paid. Or you could look at it as the ultimate onesie.

Local enthusiast Joe Roper has managed to source some Marvel themed Selk Bags. His website http://www.astromancollectibles.com/ has bags in the shape of some of the most popular characters, from Captain America to the Hulk, and Iron Man to Spiderman.

Take your pick and rug up for the impending cooler Autumn days.

2. Google Chromecast 2 and Chromecast Audio
Price: $69 each.
Gadget Guy Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Website: http://www.google.com/intl/en_nz/chromecast/

Since Chromecast first launched in New Zealand in 2014, plenty of Kiwis have enjoyed the ease of casting movies, shows and music from their phones straight to their TVs.

However the next generation of Google’s cool device is available, and it’s brought a friend – the Chromecast Audio.

The new Chromecast improves on the original with a rounded design and a built in lead which makes it easier to plug into HDMI ports on a TV. That of course is the premise of the Chromecast, plug it into any TV and it instantly adds smart TV functions to even non-smart TV’s.

It supports the latest Wi-Fi standards and adapts more easily to changing Wi-Fi conditions in your home, so you get higher quality video with less buffering. They’ve added two new colours so you can cast in style while watching content from your favourite entertainment apps including Nefflix, Lightbox, Fanpass, Neon TV and YouTube.

The audio version is an affordable way to stream your music to your existing speakers. It’s the perfect upgrade to your bluetooth speakers, home theatre systems, table-top radios, bookshelf speakers, desktop speakers and more. If you have more than one ChromecastAudio, you can group them together to listen to the same song around the house.

Chromecasts work with iPhone, iPad, Android Phone or tablet, Mac or Windows laptop, or Chromebook.

The new Chromecast’s are available from retailers including JB Hl-Fi, Harvey Norman, Noel Leeming and The Warehouse and also on the Google Store for $69.


3. Asus G752 Gaming Laptop
Price: $3,599 to $4,599
Gadget Guy Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Website: https://www.asus.com/nz/ROG-Republic-Of-Gamers/ROG-G752VT/

If you look around lecture halls today you’ll probably see a sea of Macbooks. So far so predictable. If you really want to stand out from the crowd you’ll need something exceptional like the $4,600 (UHD screen Version) Asus Republic of Gamers G752 gaming laptop.

This 4KG monster is the world’s first laptop to integrate a vapour chamber into its cooling system so you can game like a pro, in between taking notes at lectures of course.

What else will gamers love?
• Cool looks – Republic of Gamers Armor Titanium and Plasma Copper colour scheme.
• Optional 4K screen (ultra high definition).
• Backlit anti-ghosting gaming keyboard with 30-key rollover for precise input.
• SSD and HDD drives.
• Windows 10 pre-installed and is powered by the latest 6th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, paired with discrete NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970-980M graphics.

4. HP ZBook Mobile Workstation

Price: from $3,900
Gadget Guy Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Website: http://www8.hp.com/nz/en/products/workstations/product-detail.html?oid=8934839

If powerful performance still matters, but you don’t want to draw attention to yourself with the gaming PC, then the ZBook could work for you instead.

The iconic 15.6″ diagonal HP ZBook Studio is HP’s thinnest, lightest, and most attractive full performance mobile workstation.

Starting at just 2 kg 3 and 18mm thin, the HP ZBook Studio is a meticulously-designed performance machine.

The HP ZBook Studio Mobile Workstation delivers sleek style, impressive performance, and long battery life.

All prices correct at time of publication. Products subject to availability.


Is this the Swiss Army Knife of computers? At the Asus Transformer Book Trio Launch in Sydney

When it comes to buying a computer, there are so many decisions you have to make.  Should you buy a full featured desktop computer or a more portable laptop? Then of course if you’re after something portable, should you go for a laptop or a tablet?

Well, Asus have come up with something that should solve those decision making issues – a machine that functions as laptop, tablet and a desktop all in one.

The Transformer Book Trio is a revolutionary hybrid computer that works as a laptop,  but you can also detach the 11.6 inch screen and use it as a tablet.

However, that’s not where the fun stops.  Unlike other hybrids, the keyboard doesn’t then become just a dumb device,  you can continue to use it as a powerful machine.  Simply connect it to a monitor with a mini display port or micro hdmi cable and hey presto, the keyboard becomes an Intel Core i5 powered desktop PC.

The other trick the Transformer Book Trio has up it’s sleeve is that it runs Windows 8.1 and Android 4.2 and you decide which system to use, when you want to use it.  With the display docked, Transformer Book Trio can switch instantly between Windows 8 and Android 4.2 by pressing the dedicated ‘Trio’ key on the keyboard, with data shared between the two operating systems via the tablet’s storage.   (Full specs are included at the end of this article).

Asus are yet to confirm pricing or distribution details for the device in New Zealand but hopefully it will make it here before the end of the year.

One device that has been confirmed however is the Transformer Book T100 and this is an incredibly well priced hybrid proposition.  The T100 is an ultraportable laptop with a detachable HD screen that can be used as a Windows tablet.

Tantalisingly, the machine comes pre installed with Microsoft Office, Home and Student edition.  Given that you can pay $240 for Office in store, this makes the T100’s  $699 price tag almost ridiculously low.  It’s great news for consumers and I can see this device being snapped up by students or parents of students. It’s light too at just over 1kg.

Asus also gave us hands on time at the event with the new glass encased Asus Zenbook, a powerful ultra premium laptop pitched at the corporate road warrior.  Again, we are waiting to hear when this desirable device will make it to New Zealand.

SPECIFICATIONS – Transformer Book Trio

Screen Shot 2013-10-24 at 9.48.55 AM

SPECIFICATIONS – Transformer Book T100

Screen Shot 2013-10-24 at 9.50.28 AM

Prices and specifications are correct at the time of publication.  John Buckley traveled to the Sydney event as a guest of Asus Australia/New Zealand.