Thanks to our friends over at Nicolites Electronic Cigarettes, I’ve just got back from a day looking through some very interesting gadgets and gizmos which you can buy now (or soon!) in you’re local high street at The Gadget Show Live 2013 in Birmingham. There were a number of things that caught my eye, so I thought i’d do a quick round up of some of the more interesting products I spotted.
First up, the Soladapt Touchscreen. The guys on the stand were really great, and have a superb product which will take any monitor and turn it into a touchscreen! If you’ve ever dreamed of owning a giant iPad, then this is the thing for you! There were a number of companies there with new touchscreen monitors, but that has 2 draw backs. 1 – they’re expensive. 2 – You have to throw away a perfectly good monitor… And if you’re an iMac user, that’s not really possible, as the monitor is the computer… So the guys at Soladapt have come up with a device which fit’s easily over most screen sizes, and with a bit of software… Wham! Instant touchscreen monitor! All for under £150 for screens under 24″, and not a whole lot more for larger monitors.
3D Printers used to be a thing only available to large corporates, however the price has dropped a lot over the last few years making them far more affordable. Whilst they’re not quite in the realms of general consumer pricing yet, if you’ve got a company that could benefit from being able to make quick and cheap prototypes from 3D modeling files, you might want to take a look at Maker-bot’s Replicator 2. Retailing at £1,799.00 from UK supplier Robosavvy, the Replicator 2 is a small desktop unit that can produce actual 3D models with a resolution capability of 100 microns and a massive 410 cubic inch build volume. On the stand I was at they were modelling busts of Batman an Yoda at the time, and for that I salute you for being enormously geeky!
As a cat owner, there’s one thing I hate, and that’s cleaning litter boxes… However, the folk at Cat Genie have decided to save cat owners that hassle with the worlds first (and only) self-flushing, self washing litter box! The box just needs to be hooked up to either a toilet or a laundry room, so the… erm… ‘solids’… have somewhere to go once it flushes, and have an electric supply. It’s fair to say, this is a bit of a luxury item, as the unit price outlay isn’t cheap (£279). However, the running cost are less than the cost of buying standard litter, and they estimate savings of around £66 a year. So you will make your money back over time, and all without having to deal with cleaning out a litter box ever again!
H-5D is a projection gaming system… Nothing new there. However, this one projects in 3D, giving you you’re own massive 3D screen in your home! It’s fairly pricey (£3,500), but massively impressive! I sat watching someone play through a level of Batman: Arkham City, and the extra depth it gave really pulled you into the game. I’d have loved to see it running an FPS or racer, as I imagine that would have been incredibly immersive.
There were also a couple of people selling these great little sound systems which are designed to turn anything into a speaker, but I’ll have a full GeekTest on them soon.
As a general rule, I’m not a huge fan of flip cases for phones. I tend to find the flap is a little awkward and can get in the way of the phone use. However, the Issentiel Prestige Ultra Slim Leather Flip phone case I was testing does it’s best to minimise those issues, it does have so much else going for it that really make up for any little practical issues the phone case causes.
Issentiel is a French designer company making luxury high quality leather cases for the most popular mobile devices. All the cases are cut and assembled in Europe by hand, using traditional methods, and I have to say, it shows! It is, by far, the most beautifully crafted case I’ve seen. Without question, it’s an extremely high quality product. The version I was trialing was for a Samsung Galaxy S3 (although they make similar products for iPhone, Sony, Nokia, LG, Google, and HTC, as well as for laptops and tablets). There’s clearly a lot of care taken in the production of their cases, and it shows through in the quality and styling. Even the packaging has had care and attention paid to it. If you’re buying it as a gift for someone, they’ll know you’ve bought something special, even before they see the actual product revealed. It’s one of those items that you want to open.
The rigid, leather covered, shell grips the phone tightly when the case is open, and there’s good access to the jack input, side buttons, and the charge point on the bottom, even when the case is closed. The flap is held firmly shut by a small curved (again, leather covered) clip at the top, without the need for magnets or metal clasps, and is extremely well padded on the front giving ample protection to the screen should you accidentally drop it. It’s also surprisingly lightweight (only 50 grams), and slim for the style of case.
As I mentioned earlier, with this sort of flip case, it does bulk out the unit a little, but they’ve kept that to a minimum, and it still fits (albeit tightly) into the cradle i use in my car. However, I would like to see a small hole added to the front of the case so you can see the LED when the case is shut, as it’s very handy on the S3 seeing it flash when you’ve got new messages.
Overall, despite very some minor niggles, Issentiel have made a beautiful, high quality phone case, well worth the price tag. Plus, as it’s real, high quality leather, it smells lovely!
8/10 – An extremely beautiful, high quality phone case.
Terrapin Leather Flip Case for iPhone
The Terrapin flip case, black, lined with ivory coloured leather looks very smart and more importantly nice and strong and protects the well fitted phone from scratches. The extra ‘crease’ so the flip can fold below the camera lense, means you can take photos without having to remove it.
The leather feels like good quality and I love the fact you can access the whole screen and all the side buttons when the phone is in the case.
I wasnt sure whether I would use the three cards slots on the inside of the flip but they have come in handy for storing business cards and keeping train tickets safe so far.
9/10 - Would highly recommend this case.
Bumper Case for the Samsung Galaxy S3
I’ve alway had a certain prejudice against bumper cases… The idea of just protecting the edge of the phone, when you can get extremely thin cases that cover the whole back, seemed silly. However…
Having used this bumper for a week or so, it actually holds up really well. It’s easy to fit, and stays in place. It does cover the buttons around the edges of the phone which i usually hate, but I actually found this design emphasises them nicely, making them much easier to operate!
I’m still a little wary of the lack of protection it provides to the camera on the back, and i’m not a massive fan of it’s blue colour. But at £4.49, it’s a good bargin way of providing some basic protection to you’re phone.
7/10 – Cheap and cheerful protection.
A while ago I was send a couple of items from The Snugg, purveyors of fine quality tablet and phone cases for review! First up is the phone.
Snugg Samsung Galaxy S3 Ultra Thin Skin Case
I’ve had a number of cases in the past for my Galaxy S3, but they can be a little bulky, or feel a bit cheap and rubbery. The Snugg Ultra Thin is a solid plastic skin which neatly fits over the phone, hardly adding any extra depth. The material is non-slip and scratch resistant, and neatly cut to avoid covering the buttons, unlike some of my previous rubber based cases which made the buttons harder to operate.
I’ve been using it for a couple of months now, and I can say from experience, it’s also been good at protecting the phone in the occasion accidental drop, as well as from general day-to-day wear and tear. Not the cheapest of cases, but worth the cash for a neat little cover. They also do similar versions for iPhone.
8/10 – A good little phone cover.
Snugg Google Nexus 7 Leather Case Cover and Flip Stand
I’d been looking around at cases for my new Nexus 7, and seen a few, but nothing I really liked. Then The Snugg came along, and I have to say I was very impressed. It’s extremely well made from leather, with a soft fibre interior to protect the screen when closed. It feels like a ‘quality’ product.
It’s also extremely practical, as it doubles as a stand, which is great for watching movies, or can be flipped over to make a comfortable writing angle. There’s a really useful elasticated handle inside, which gives you a comfortable holding position when using it in portrait mode, so you don’t worry about dropping it. There’s even got a loop for holding your stylus if you have one, and if you don’t, it can be neatly tucked out of the way.
The tablet itself feels extremely secure, as it’s held neatly in place by a velcro flap, making sure your new toy isn’t going to accidentally slip out. The cover flap also contains a magnetic strip, which helps keep it securely closed, as well as automatically waking the tablet when you open it. They’ve really thought of everything!
10/10 – A superb high quality tablet case. Highly recommended!
James Franco, when he’s not trapped under rocks, or allowing the world to be taken over by hyper intelligent monkeys, likes to don his party hat, and put the new Samsung GALAXY Camera through its paces. Watch as he avoids potential photography pitfalls (The Photo Bomber… The Instant Viral… The Eyes Wide Shut…) with an arsenal of features including 21X optical zoom, Photo Wizard, Buddy Photo Share, Slow Motion video and more.
I’ve had a Samsung Galaxy S3 for a while now, and I’m a huge fan of it as a smart phone. But whilst it’s got a decent camera for a phone, nothing really measures up to having a full blown camera.
With this in mind, those clever folk at Samsung came up with the Galaxy Camera. Ditching the phone, but keeping the 3G/4G & Wi-Fi connections, meaning you can instantly store your photos & video on Dropbox, mail them to friends, or upload them to Facebook. The GALAXY Camera is the world’s first truly connected camera.
It combining high-performance photography features with an Android 4.1 Jelly Bean OS, allowing users to shoot, enjoy, edit and share high quality images and video from anywhere, at any time through a single device..
For more information visit: https://www.facebook.com/samsungcamera
This post was sponsored by Samsung
The original X-Mini Capsule Speaker has been around since 2008, and this upgraded version offers some refinement to an already excellent product. X-Mini version 2 is very slightly bigger (albeit still tiny), but with that you get a larger 40mm driver, making a richer sound, with fuller bass than it predecessor.
They claim a battery life of 11hrs between charges, which I have to say I haven’t tested fully, but I will say it’s not run out on me yet! Charging is really simple via USB, and the unit has the cable built into the design (with standard 3.5mm jack), meaning there’s no risk of you loosing it whilst your out and about!
Another great feature is the ‘Buddy Jack’ system, which lets you daisy-chain X-Mini II speakers together… So if you’re out at a festival, and an act you dislike comes on, all you need to do is find a bunch of people with X-Mini speakers, it’s quite possible you could connect 100+ of them together and drown out the stage.
And the best thing… It’s under £20 for a speaker!