Pics Retailers' “Christmas in July” press showcases may make your stomach churn at the thought of all that consumerist razzmatazz, but, season of goodwill aside, it’s also a time when new products get an airing before they go on sale in the coming months.
Gadgets galore and a new flipping Chromebook from Asus
The recent Currys/PC World event had quite a lot of new tech to show off with the latest version of Lenovo’s Yoga being whisked away at the sight of a camera.
At first glance, it looked much the same as the Yoga Pro 3 but featured chrome edging around the trackpad and two speaker grilles in the base.
Less shy was the latest Asus kit including the Chromebook Flip C100PA. This 10.1inch Googletop features a touchscreen display and can fold back on itself to function as a tablet.
It’s a bit on the chunky side but quite cute all the same. Inside is a Rockchip 1.8GHz quad-core RK3288C ARM Cortex A-12 processor, 4GB of RAM and a 32GB SSD.
Asus Chromebook Flip C100PA
For the Android faithful the Asus ZenPad C 7.0 (Z170C) was also making a colourful impression. Weighing in at 265g and 8.4mm thick, this 7-inch tablet features a 1024 x 600-pixel IPS touchscreen. Running the show is an Intel Atom x3-C3200 quad-core, 64-bit CPU, 1GB of RAM and 8 or 16GB of internal storage, with micro SD expansion for cards up to 64GB.
Asus ZenPad C 7.0 (Z170C)
Although the ZenPad has GPS, for those who prefer a dedicated satnav Garmin’s nuviCam LMTHD will not only show you the way on its 6-inch pinch-to-zoom display, but it'll also show what happened en route, as it has a built-in HD dash cam – a combination that seems like an ideal pairing. The GPS pinpoints exactly where any incidents occurred and video can be replayed on the devices or the micro SD card recordings viewed on a computer.
Logical step? Garmin's satnav/dash cam combo
If keeping an eye on things remotely is a daily obsession then EE was showing how it could be done with a strap-on. Its wireless Action Cam kit appeared last month and includes a viewfinder watch, although the main purpose of its small screen is to help with positioning the camera made by BenQ equipped with a 13MP sensor, with an f2.8, 3.4mm lens that has a 145-degree viewing angle. Besides stills, it’s capable of streaming 720p/30fps video and sharing it to viewers using the Skeegle app for iOS or Android.
EE Action Cam watch helps set up the main wireless camera
The catch is, of course, that you have to buy into an EE data plan to share your activities with all and sundry. More details here. The camera is designed to work with the popular GoPro range of accessories and has 2.5GB of internal storage and a micro SD card slot supporting up to 64GB, to record without streaming.
One to Watch?
Huawei's Watch – no prizes for guessing where that name csme from
For those after a watch with a different visual sense, alongside LG’s Urbane Android Wear smartie was the Huawei Watch that’s due to go on sale in September. A complaint of some smartwatches is that they feel alarmingly light, yet Huawei’s strap on has a reassuring bulk to it. Shame the plastic charging cradle doesn’t go the extra mile and match the looks of the Watch itself, but no doubt it keeps the price down.
Health monitoring sensors on the back
If a strap on doesn’t appeal and you prefer to watch instead, alongside the Christmas decor were two 4k tellies both priced at around £3,800. If size matters then Samsung’s UE65JS9000 65-incher should satisfy. This edge-lit LED TV even has a matching curved sound bar, which, if the £1,000 price tag the Currys chap quoted is to be believed, seems like someone at Samsung is having a laugh.
Samsung's UE65JS9000 65-inch UHD TV with matching curved sound bar
One things the folks at Currys were serious about, though, was the small white box of tricks hiding behind the telly itself. No photographs allowed of what was presumed to be a Samsung Smart Hub, yet looked suspiciously like the SmartThings Hub – Samsung bought SmartThings in August 2014. No doubt this will be reboxed and rebranded when Samsung’s take on this hardware appears just before Christmas.
It’s an open platform that works with Zigbee, Z-Wave, LAN and Cloud-to-Cloud protocols and extends the Samsung’s reach into the connected home. At the event it was being demo'd controlling Philips Hue Go lighting.
LG's 55EG960V 55-inch OLED UHD TV with Philips Hue Go lights remotely controlled from the 'Samsung' Hub app
Although a smaller telly at a mere 55-inches, LG’s 55EG960V costs roughly the same as the Samsung but benefits from an OLED panel. This telly tech is lauded for its deep blacks – enabling higher contrast and more vivid colours – faster response times and better viewing angles. So if you’re after an intense viewing experience, OLED has a lot to offer, for a price.
Both tellies were launched in recent months, so at least you’ve some time to check them out and start saving if you fancy either of these curvy beasts under your Christmas tree.
Coming to Blighty soon: Gameband + Minecraft
Something significantly smaller and yet likely to please kids in the family both big and small, is the Gameband + Minecraft – a wearable with a basic touch display that can be customised with the included PixelFurnace app. The built-in USB interface let’s players of this addictive game take it anywhere to run on Mac, PC and Linux machines. The worlds created on the game are also backed up on the Gameband and in the cloud. It’s been out in the US for a while, but it’s coming here soon.
Form an orderly queue please, ladies and gents. ®