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Top Tech 2014

Black Friday is almost upon us…yes…that means our annual Top Tech Guide. Here is some cool tech to add to your shopping list:

Philips Fidelio SoundRing

airplayThe SoundRing DS3881W is part of Philips’ small but growing line of AirPlay speakers, which includes the more expensive $700 Fidelio SoundSphere DS9800W and more affordable Fidelio SoundAvia AD7000W/37 Wireless Speaker with AirPlay ($200). The SoundRing has perhaps the most striking design of the bunch; it’s shaped like a doughnut, is portable (yes, it has a rechargeable battery), and features what the company calls a “360-degree surround-sound effect.”

 

Withings Pulse

withings-pulseThe road to six-pack abs and an all-round better level of fitness is made up of tens of thousands of steps taken, calories burned and elevated heartbeats per minute. This wearable smart activity tracker monitors all of that and more. To further assist you keep track of your progress, you can even pair it up with your iPhone or Android for more options and health statistics on the go.

What sets the Withings Pulse apart from its competitors is the inclusion of an easy to use heart-rate sensor. Another helpful feature is its ability to measure your sleep cycles to find out how long you are in light sleep, deep sleep or awake. There are plenty of useful things you can do with the Withings Pulse, it’s just up to you to keep track of your progress and use it.

Android Socialmatic

polaroid-socialOriginally floated as a concept back in 2012, the Android-based Socialmatic could revive the beloved Polaroid as we know it. An inkless printing system enables users to print stickers of their sepia-tinted images, and customize them using the 4.5 inch touchscreen. Slated for release by the end of 2014, it may be hipster, but it’s also incredibly cool.

 

Samsung Gear VR

samsung-gear-vrThe virtual reality headset feels far more comfortable than holding a piece crudely assembled cardboard to your face, and with Samsung’s QHD Note 4, the image is excellent. It is said that the image playback is the equivalent of standing two meters away from a 175-inch screen. It’s light, images are incredibly crisp, there’s no obvious lag when you move your head and it has a 96-degree field of view with a 60Hz refresh rate.

Samsung’s partnership with Oculus meant this was a well designed virtual reality headset, and not a ramshackle, last-minute, gimmick to score some headlines and impulse buys.

Panono Ball

panonoball-cameraThe Panono Ball is taking the camera to the next level. It is a ball, that you no doubt have guessed, but it is a ball that takes 360 degree panoramic shots. The way the Panono Ball works is, you can basically throw the ball up in the air, and it will take that 360 degree picture.

You can also attach it to a stick to make sure you get the shots you want (or if you are bit weary about damaging the ball). You then can check the picture on your phone or tablet, and they have an app for the ball for both Android and iOS. What is really cool about the app, is that when you move your device, the picture moves with you. Pretty similar to street view, but then we get to the clarity of the photos. Oh yeah – there are 108 megapixels on this beast.

Sony SmartWatch 2

sony-smartwatchIf you’re looking for a gadget to accessorize your smart phone, a smartwatch is a logical place to start. The Sony SmartWatch 2 is only one of many options, but its simplicity and good price point (it’s $100 cheaper than Samsung’s Galaxy Gear) make it a good pick. Like any worth-while watch, this model cleanly bridges the gap between functionality and style.

The SW2 comes equipped with a basic rubber band that can also be upgraded with a leather or metal alternative for added class. On the tech front, the watch comes with a 1.6 inch, sun-readable display that’s perfect for checking notifications, browsing media, and …reading the time, obviously.

Mophie Space Pack

morphie-space-packYou can consider this gadget kind of a three-in-one — a case, a charger, and a storage provider. Despite adding a little extra bulk to your iPhone 5/5s, the Mophie Space Pack is a great asset that makes up for the iPhone 5’s somewhat-insufficient amount of built-in storage (it’s not equipped with a micro SD card slot either). It works with a free Space Pack app (available on iTunes) that easily allows you to take advantage of the extra memory. It’s perfect for on-the-go users who don’t have constant access to power sources or backup memory.

 

iPad Mini With Retina Display

ipad-miniIn the growing tablet market, Apple continues to lead the pack. Sure, it has solid competition, like Google’s Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire HDX, but the iPad mini with Retina display tables a good offer. It’s more expensive than the others, but it’s equipped with a great deal of internal storage and an improved screen. The only concern is that with Apple offering free iWork, iPhoto, iMovie, and GarageBand downloads, the basic 16GB model might not be enough for the average person.

Revo SuperConnect

superconnectThis is a feature-packed, attractive radio and a big favourite of users. You will become big fans of the Revo’s aesthetics: modern with a dash of retro. The 2.7in OLED display and aluminum front panel contrast nicely with the cabinet’s walnut veneer.

Through the grille in the aluminium panel, you can just about make out the Revo’s single 3.5in BMR (Balanced Mode Radiator) driver, powered by a 15W amp. Don’t worry, the Revo kicks out an impressively weighty sound. It won’t appreciate being cranked all the way up to 11, but there’s scale and authority here. There’s no trace of harshness or brightness, and you will find the Revo sounds good no matter the source.

Amazon Fire TV Stick

amazon-fire-tv-stickFire TV Stick connects your HDTV to a world of online entertainment. Whether you’re a Prime member or not, enjoy a huge selection of movies and TV episodes, voice search that actually works, and exclusive features like ASAP. Fire TV Stick is an easy way to enjoy Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus, low-cost movie rentals, live and on-demand sports, music, photos, games, and more.

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