LG Curved 55″ OLED TV to go on sale in New Zealand

On Breakfast this morning Rawdon Christie and I took a tour of this amazing “living rooms through the decades” installation at TVNZ’s Auckland Headquarters.

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LG New Zealand has created the unique installation called “The Evolution of Television” to launch the next generation of TVs, including their revolutionary Curved OLED shown below.

The TVNZ foyer has been transformed into a series of installations, showcasing a typical living room scene from the 50s, 60s, 70s, 90s and 00s to mark the development of television through the decades.

The jewel in the crown is LG’s new 55-inch Curved OLED TV, New Zealand’s first OLED TV which goes on sale on September 11. This TV is an absolute beauty. The new technology doesn’t require a backlight as the OLED film emits it’s own light, resulting in dark blacks, excellent contrast and vibrant colour images.

The curved perspex stand is also a bit sexy (can I say that? Oh well, I just did).

This is the industry’s very first curved screen ergonomic design, providing an “IMAX-like” viewing experience in the home.

Only 4.3 millimetres at its thinnest point and weighing just 17 kilograms, LG’s curved OLED TV produces astoundingly vivid and realistic images. This is the TV for early adopters with $17,000 in their back pocket. If that sounds like you, you can make an expression of interest through the website at http://www.lg.com/nz

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The OLED TV surrounded by the new range of UHDTV’s (featuring 5 models in 55″, 65″ and 84″).

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Up close and personal with the OLED TV. The clear perspex stand almost makes it seem like the image is floating in the air.

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Tweet-powered mystery tour to help document BNZ’s Closed For Good Day

Closed for Good is BNZ’s national day of volunteering and is the single largest day of corporate volunteering in New Zealand. They close their stores and offices and roll up their sleeves to help communities be good with money.

This year they are in 452 locations and will be donating 25,000 volunteer hours to the bottom lines of charities and communities all over New Zealand.

The social media team at BNZ have challenged me to go on a magical mystery tour around Auckland today to find out just what projects the staff are working on.  I’m starting off at 9 am  at Project Jonah in Mt Eden where they’ll be working on a plan to develop financial sustainability.

The team will then tweet 2 options of where I should go next – so it’s over to you, the online public, to decide which projects I get to document.  I’ve loaded up my gadget bag and will post updates here and on Twitter/Vine/Instagram – just look up @bucklesnz

 

1pm-ish Okay – I made it back to town, though I’m running low on batteries.  I got to the Auckland City Mission – but the team were having a quick lunch break off-site.  Shame I couldn’t stick around.  Luckily I have helpers everywhere and these are some of the photos the team had already taken and were able to share with me.  It looks like they are having fun sorting the donated goods that are provided to the Mission into packs for the end recipients.  Good work Auckland City Mission. Good work BNZ team.

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12:00 And here we are at the Endeavour Sea Scouts in Te Atatu.  A large team has been at work since 9 this morning and they’ve been blessed with sunshine and low winds (unlike the teams in Wellington and the South Island who I hear are battling snow and gales).  This shed has been completely prepped and painted.  The second coat is well under way.

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10:30 The kids and staff at Appleseed Educare are lovely.  I hope they like the new bench the guys are making for them.  It was in the early stages when I got there, but I’m sure if Craig (Herbison, Chief Marketing Officer) has anything to do with it it’s going to be top notch.

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9:33 Dominion Road, Auckland. Team brain-storm and planning with Project Jonah (http://www.projectjonah.org.nz/).  Very interesting. Great to be a fly on the wall.

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8: 10 – Getting my tech sorted for the day – HP Ultrabook, Apple iPad, iPhone, MacBook Air, Sony Xperia Z tablet and NEX 6 compact system camera, Blackberry Z10 smartphone.

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Life on Planet Samsung

I brought a new family home this Christmas.  As a very Apple friendly household you could have expected some consternation when I showed up with a bunch of Samsung’s latest hot products. Don’t worry though folks, in the true spirit of the season, there was peace on earth and good will to all platforms.

Yes, so, while Breakfast is on it’s Summer recess, I’ve been testing out the latest Samsung family of products.  The new toys are the Series 5 Ultrabook, the Galaxy Note 2 and the shiny new Galaxy Camera.    While I’ve grown to know and love them individually, some of them are going to be harder to return than others when the loan period expires next week.  Check out my comments below to see what I thought.

Samsung Family Gathering

Happy Family: The Samsung Series 5 Ultrabook, Galaxy Note 2, Galaxy Camera and (reviewers own) Galaxy S3.

The Series 5 Touch Ultrabook is a high performance PC sporting a touch-screen that allows it to really take advantage of the new Windows operating system.  If you’d like the full specs you can view all of the nuggety details here on the Samsung site.

To begin with I wasn’t sold on the idea of a touch screen laptop, but when I ran a photo slideshow for a work function I found the touch screen control added a new dimension to the “theatre” of a presentation.  Battery life was excellent clocking in at a good 4-5 hours.  That’s much better than my own work laptop (a 3yr old HP Elitebook 8530p which struggles to hit 90 mins on on one charge).

I did find that the battery heated the bottom of the case quite quickly and establishing a WiFi connection was patchy at times (it felt like the digital equivalent of getting on a racehorse, a bit tricky to do but once in the saddle you began a fast and exhilarating ride).

Reports from the States suggest the sales of hardware sporting Windows 8 are falling behind expectations.  Personally I like the OS and expect more devices like the Series 5 to really showcase it’s attributes, especially to a business audience.

I briefly tested the Note 2 Smartphone slash Tablet before taking it on TV in December.  Spending a bit more time with it, I appreciated the software as much as I did the large screen. However when the Jelly Bean 4.1.1 update rolled out for the Galaxy S3, I put the Note 2 down and failed to return to it.  It’s selling pretty well though if recent accounts are correct.

The final product proved to be a revelation.  At the press launch in Sydney in December, journalists seemed to politely tolerate the announcement of the Galaxy Camera before settling in to hear the “real” news about the launch of the Galaxy Note 2 smartphone.

In actual fact, the Galaxy Camera should be grabbing the headlines.  It’s a strange looking beast.  Several times I have been asked whether the camera is a case or some kind of attachment for my phone. That’s because that is what it looks like – a zoom lens camera clipped onto the front of a smartphone.  It’s not ugly, but it is different.

Galaxy Camera - one out of the box

I took a lot of photos with it. I loved the 21x zoom (you can see its effects here or below) and  enjoyed having the ability to post pics to my social network of choice immediately via WiFi or 3G (with additional SIM).  Because it’s essentially an Android tablet, you can also download apps to your hearts content, including the most popular photo apps such as Instagram.

I’ve read plenty of reviews since and the consensus seems to be ‘shop around before buying’.  With an in-store price of between $720 and $860, there are a lot of good cameras to consider in or around this price range.  Which camera you end up buying will depend on your own specific needs and circumstances.  Having said that, the connectivity and innovation contained within the Galaxy Camera will almost certainly make it a  popular choice amongst the social-sharing generation.

No snooping - 21 x zoom

Super Sonic Gadgets (see what we did there?)

If you’re a Doctor Who fan, you’ll know that the ultimate timelord gadget is a sonic screwdriver.

Well, today’s manufacturers haven’t quite perfected that piece of technology, but there are a few helpful sonic accessories on the market.

But today we looked at some super gadgets with sonic powers, from filling a room with sound to helping keep your teeth clean.

Logitech Ultimate Ears (UE) Brand

The Ultimate Ears brand is well known amongst professional musicians.  It began life in 1995 when one of Van Halen’s sound engineers invented a new in-ear monitor to help block stage noise for the band.  Fast-forward 17 years and Logitech is bringing the Ultimate Ears brand to the masses.

UE 9000 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones: Wireless listening no longer means sound-quality compromises. The UE9000 wireless headphones use the highest quality codecs and advanced digital signal processing to get the best out of a Bluetooth music connection.

The custom drivers produce a great sound and a remarkable level of power, punch and clarity.  An optional, detachable cable is included for when Bluetooth isn’t an option (i.e. on planes).

UE Boombox: A powerful portable music solution, the UE Boombox allows you to use your smartphone or tablet to stream clear sounding music from across the room or across the street. Bring it to a party and connect it with multiple phones so everyone can take turns playing music.

 

Product Website: http://ue.logitech.com/en-nz

Price: UE 9000 Headphones $599.90, UE Boombox $349.90

Availability: Leading electronics retailers such as Noel Leeming and JB HiFi

Philips Sonicare

Philips has introduced two new Sonicare products that push the boundaries of personal oral hygiene − the DiamondClean power toothbrush and a unique alternative to flossing, the AirFloss.

Powered by patented sonic technology, the DiamondClean is the most advanced power toothbrush in the Sonicare range, with a dynamic cleaning action that drives fluid between the teeth and along the gum for healthier gums and whiter teeth.

The toothbrush, which has won numerous design awards, features an advanced dual charging system. Users can either use a glass charging unit or a USB travel case that can plug into a laptop to charge on the go without the need for plugs and adaptors.

The innovative AirFloss makes flossing easier and more effective than using traditional string dental floss. It uses microburst technology that delivers a quick burst of air and water through an innovative nozzle guidance tip to clean between teeth, dislodging hard to remove food and forcing plaque and bacteria out.

The AirFloss is quick and efficient, taking only one minute and using only one teaspoon of water per session, and is proven to be easier to use than string floss.

Price: Philips Sonicare DiamondClean (HX9332) $389.95, Philips Sonicare AirFloss (HX8111) $199.95

Availability: From leading electronic stores nationwide.

Website: www.philips.co.nz/sonicare

Flying the Parrot AR Drone 2.0 around the Breakfast studio – Live On Air

There are worse places to be on the weekend than chatting on the sofa with the Saturday Breakfast presenters Nadine and Tamati.

This week I took a couple of tablets and a quadricopter on set.  What could possibly go wrong flying a $500 remote control aircraft around an enclosed television studio?

To see the review visit the TVNZ player here TVNZ Breakfast

The Drone starts flying just after 3:00 mins.

Leap Pad 2
The Leapfrog Leappad 2 is the number one most popular toy on the Toyworld Top10 Hot Toys List, so hot in fact the first shipment in late October sold out.  Designed for kids aged 3+, the LeapPad2 inspires children to create and explore digital content.
It features front-and-back cameras and video recorders, 4GB of memory, a faster processor and a library of 150+ game cartridges and downloadable apps (5 free apps included).
Your child’s imagination can be unlocked with eBooks, videos, music, creativity studios, games and more.

It’s important to point out that while apps and games can be downloaded from the internet and loaded onto the Leap Pad 2 from a computer, the device itself cannot go online.
Website

Price: $179.99 from ToyWorld stores.

Parrot AR Drone 2.0
Fly, hover and flip to your heart’s content: The Parrot AR Drone 2.0 is the latest version of the remote control Quadricopter that allows you to fly and record in HD.
Using the intuitive Smartphone and tablet controls with the onboard Hi Def video cam, you’ll get to view the earth from high above and directly share your experience online with the world.

The drone features:
•    An onboard HD 720 video cam.
•    A robust structure to make sure your most daring stunts don’t damage the hardware.
•    Automatic stabilisation features.
•    Wifi direct access to your apple or android tablet or phone. Your movements control the AR Drone 2.0

Recommended Retail Price: $499.99
Available from Playtech, 0508 PLAYTECH, or playtech.co.nz
Website

Meep Android Tablet
An innovative, interactive, Wi-Fi enabled, 7” tablet that features touch screen technology designed for kids age 6 and above, the MEEP! tablet features a durable design and an enhanced rubber silicon sleeve for added protection from bumps, scratches and falls!
When it comes to feeling secure about what your kids have access to, the Meep tablet offers unique Cloud based parental control, accessible from any PC, smartphone or tablet with a browser. COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act) and KidSafe Certified, the Meep tablet lets you rest assured knowing you can carefully select content, control the way your kids access the Internet, know what they’re doing with the tablet (log files), approve all their friend requests and downloads, and set designated playtime.

Recommended Retail Price: $269.00
Product website

Available from leading electronics retailers such as Noel Leeming.

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

Big Screen Star – HTC One X

If I had to choose a music track to sum up the HTC One X it would be Superstylin’ by Groove Armada.  That’s because there’s a whole lot of stylin’ going on with this great new top of the range smartphone.

As you can see from the pic above, the case is a smooth plastic, semi-curved, shell. While it looks very tasty, you actually have to see it in real life to get some perspective on the size of the phone.  Without fail, the first thing people say when they see it is “wow, that’s a massive phone”.  I suspect that when they say massive, they mean “bigger than my iPhone which has a 3.5 inch screen”.  That’s because the One X sports a luscious 4.7 ” hi-def touch screen. That means you get a hell of a lot of screen real estate on a phone that feels slightly larger in the hand than a phone normally should.  It’s another phone, like the Samsung Note, which follows the philosophy of “if less is more, just think how much more more would be” (I think I read that quote somewhere else but it works well here).

So, the design is beautiful and the screen gorgeous, deep and rich; could there possibly be any drawbacks? I have to say yes.  The sound promises much, but delivers little.  The beats audio logo is unmissable on the case of the phone, appearing to promise great sound reproduction. Unfortunately, during my testing, I can only say that the inbuilt speakers provided a similar sound to any other high end smartphone. That is to say, not great, and certainly not as “rich and authentic” as the literature promised.

One area where the One X does excel is in the camera department.  For a phone, the optics and features are really quite good.  The 8mp camera and smart LED flash work well in low light conditions. My favourite feature though is the ability to take a photo while recording in HD.

The HTC One X is a great quad core powered, Ice Cream Sandwich toting beaut of a phone.  Some users will take a while to adjust to the size, others will opt to reject the smooth white casing in case it attracts scuffs.  However anyone looking for a super stylish Android phone with a bunch of high powered connectivity apps and features will be throwing money at this handset.  It’s definitely going to be an interesting battle between this and the soon-to-be-released Samsung Galaxy SIII.

The HTC One X is available now on the Telecom Smartphonenetwork priced at $0 on a 24 month $100 smartphone plan.

The next Galaxy to be revealed in the morning

Fans of the Samsung Galaxy Smartphone series will have something to savour in the morning.  The latest iteration of the smash smart-phone will be revealed at an event in London at 7pm local time.

If you want to tune in and see it for yourself live, head over to http://www.thenextgalaxy.com at 6am NZ time.  What can we expect? Well the teaser ad promises hi fidelity graphics, massive power that fits nicely n the palm of your hand and – enticingly – a design that helps you stand out from the crowd.  I’m no professor of semiotics but I think the reference to sheep and “standing out from everyone else” is really subtle dig at iPhone users. Am I right or am I right?  Still – I’m looking forward to the big reveal.

The Gadget Guy’s Geeky Gift Guide for Christmas 2011

For some people, this time of year is all about peace and goodwill to all.  But for the rest of us, Christmas is all about the gifts! Big, lovely, gadget-y gifts.

So if haven’t already sent your e-mail or letter to Santa and you are looking for inspiration this is the post for you.  Here are some of my favourite new toys of the season (for parents as well as kids).

Best Gift for Young Kids – Airswimmers Remote Control Flying Clownfish
This helium filled flying fish has become THE hot toy of the year after its promotional video became a hit on YouTube.

With the ability to fly up or dive down and turn in circles, you are guaranteed to have hours of fun with this crazy toy. Also available in a shark shape.

Be warned if you open this on Christmas morning – it will take at least an hour to put together and you MUST follow the instructions carefully. All of them.

Product Website: http://airswimmers.com/
Price: from $71.95 at www.airfish.co.nz to $99.99 at The Warehouse Online with a tank of helium (enough for three fills) and 119.95 at fishpond.co.nz.  The airfish.co.nz and fishpond prices do not include the cost of helium which can be purchased from party stores or florists at about $30 a fill.
Rating:3 out of 5

Best gift for Older Kids – Skylanders Spyros Adventure game for Xbox, PC, PS3, 3DS and Wii.
Skylanders Spyros Adventure is a revolutionary new computer game which brings collectable figures to life in the game using the portal of power. Players journey into a world where they will explore lands, battle creatures, collect gold and treasures, and solve puzzles while on a quest to save their world from Kaos, an evil Portal Master, who they must defeat.

A safe, fun game for kids which is actually receiving positive reviews from hardened gamers for it’s very involving gameplay.

As well as the game you get a Portal of Power which plugs into your console.

Pop a figurine on the portal and hey presto, they appear in the game. There are 32 figures to collect (you get 3 with the starter pack) and they can help you progress in the game, though you don’t need to buy them all to have fun.

Available from: Leading retailers such as Dick Smith, Noel Leeming and the Warehouse.

Product Website: http://www.skylanders.com/
Price: Starter kit with disc, portal of power and three figurines, $129.99. Additional characters $19.95 each or $39.90 for a pack of three.
Rating: 4 out of 5

Best Gift for Mum – Moshi Moshi 03i Curve White Bluetooth Wireless Handset and iPhone Dock
Designed by the French designer David Turpin the MM03i is a contemporary styled Bluetooth handset, finished in a luxurious black or white high- gloss texture, it has an integrated iPhone charging dock.  Manufactured with a high quality speaker and microphone, it supports Bluetooth 2.1 multipoint technology, which lets you pair and answer calls on two different Bluetooth devices.

This means that you can quickly and easily connect the Moshi Moshi 03i to charge and synch your iPhone and a Smartphone or any other Bluetooth-enabled device, such as a laptop for use with VOIP Internet calls such as Skype.

And is that why you should buy one?  No, you should buy one just because it’s bloody gorgeous.

Available from: Ubertec in Auckland.
Recommended Retail Price: $259.00
Product website: http://www.ubertec.co.nz/main/product/29954.html
Rating: 3 out of 5

Best Gift for Dad – TomTom App for iPad
Make getting to the holiday home a breeze this Christmas with the TomTom app for iPad. The satellite navigation system has been optimised for the iPad, creating a higher resolution for a sharper display and an enhanced user interface to fit the larger screen.  It’s bigger but is it better? Well yes it is, and although you do feel a tad ridiculous sticking an iPad to your windscreen, that feeling soon wears off.

The full-screen display shows both driving view and advanced lane guidance at the same time. Drivers can also switch to driving view with one touch from anywhere within the App, and can access guidance options in a tap.

As with most TomTom systems you can also purchase celebrity voices such as Homer Simpson or Darth Vader to give you directions.

Available from: The Apple iTunes store.
Recommended Retail Price: $94.99
Product website: http://itunes.apple.com/nz/app/tomtom-new-zealand/id326148055?mt=8
Rating: 3 out of 5

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

Mean Machines or Big Boys Toys?

Today on Breakfast we featured a group of Mean Machines which are worthy of the label “Big Boys Toys.”  Check them out…

2011 Can-Am Spyder Roadster RS-S. Price tag $26,990.

998 cc Engine.

ABS, Electronic Traction System, Stability control.

Semi automatic with reverse.

http://en-au.spyder.brp.com/showroom/Spyder-RS-Roadster/overview.aspx


2011 Can-Am Spyder RT Limited. Price Tag: $46,990

Exclusive pearl white colour.

GPS navigation system.

Semi rigid travel bags.

Smoked chrome wheels and chrome trims.

http://en-au.spyder.brp.com/showroom/Spyder-RT-Roadster/overview.aspx

Masport Crossjet Ride On Mower. Price Tag $12,995 2WD and $16,995 4WD .

Ideal for tackling demanding conditions such as neglected or un-mowed areas or on terrain where traction is an issue.

Get stuck into high grass, brush, blackberry, gorse or thistle.

Designed with safety in mind : it sports a low centre of gravity with superior weight distribution, barrier roll bar, front and rear bumpers, agricultural style tyres that will grip in almost any condition and an on demand differential lock that increases traction when the foot pedal’s applied.

More information: www.masport.co.nz

Trakie GPS is an innovative and cost effective web based GPS tracking system for real time tracking of vehicles, boats, bikes and people you care about.
There is no software to install on your computer or smart phone because Trakie GPS uses standard internet browsers.
Access your information, anywhere, anytime- its that simple.
Wired in with a rechargable backup battery.
$349 at show plus $50 annual access fee after first year.
More information: http://www.trakie.co.nz

Gadgets for the Remote Control Home

Remember what home life was like in the Jetsons?

Well, it’s taken a while to arrive but the home of the future is finally here. Let’s have a look at some remote control gadgets that promise to bring your home into the 21st century.

View the video from Breakfast here… and more details after the break.

Kymera Wand Remote Control

It’s a magic wand that can change television channels at the flick of a wrist. The Kymera Wand blends advanced motion detection technology into a gadget that would look completely at home in a Harry Potter movie. The wand understands 13 different movement “gestures”, each of which can learn and replay the remote control function from any button on almost any existing infra-red (IR) remote control.

Price: $129
Available in New Zealand from: http://www.giftbob.co.nz
Product Website: http://www.giftbob.co.nz/shop/product.aspx?id=cb43dbdf-083d-446a-b4ea-56706f35c5b4
Rating: 3 out of 5

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