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

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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