Inside singles out award-winning tech devices you’d want to own
Issue: Jul 2015
To sift out the hype from the truly revolutionary devices, let the experts be your guide with their picks of award-winning tech gadgets and gizmos
In this day and age of tech gadgets and gizmos galore, it is sometimes difficult to sift out the hype from the truly revolutionary devices. Here’s where awards and accolades come in handy. They let the experts do the assessment and the ranking, and voilà we have a list of the best of the best.
Here are some award-winning devices singled out by experts.
Watch This Face
The first round-faced smart watch, Moto 360, not only tells time, but also shows the weather, flight alerts, traffic conditions, and more based on where you are and what you are doing
Photo credit: Motorola
What is it: Smart watch
Name: Motorola Moto 360
Award: Best Wearable Mobile Technology, Mobile Awards 2015
Smartwatch of the Year, Stuff Awards 2014
When the Moto 360 burst onto the scene just last year, the Android-Wear-powered watch was the first of its kind to feature a conventional round watch face, making it look more timepiece than tech gadget. The others (LG G Watch and the Samsung Gear Live) have square faces. At the time of writing, rumours are swirling that the Moto 360 2 (the second generation Moto 360) will soon be launched (possibly in summer 2015 though it may be months more before it actually goes on sale). Until then, the Moto 360 is still a clear winner.
Design-wise, the Moto 360 is quite exquisite; encased in glass and stainless steel with a soft, flexible leather strap that makes it very comfortable to wear.
To make sure that the circular design does not affect the UI (user interface), Motorola worked closely with Google. As a result, text does not get cut off because of the curved face. The Moto 360 is also the first Android Wear watch to have an ambient light sensor which supports auto-brightness and makes displays easy to read in bright sunlight.
As a smart watch, the Moto 360 not only tells time, it shows the weather, flight alerts, traffic conditions, and more based on where you are and what you are doing. You can read e-mails, use Twitter and Google on the watch as well. With its voice command feature, simply say ‘Navigate’ to find directions. In addition, a built-in pedometer lets you track the number of steps you take, while a heart sensor monitors your heart rate and a heart rate app tells you how active you have been in a day, making it a great workout companion.
Hands Up for this Handset
The Samsung Galaxy Note Edge’s curved OLED display allows apps and widgets to appear on the curved portion of the screen on the right
Photo credit: Samsung
What is it: Smart phone
Name: Samsung Galaxy Note Edge
Award: Most Innovative Handset, CES Innovations Award 2015
The Note Edge is essentially the Note 4, already a revolutionary design, given a hefty boost. Smaller than the Note 4, the Note Edge is easy to manage one-handed. Its curved OLED display allows apps and widgets to appear on the curved portion of the screen on the right (literally a second screen), freeing up more screen space for your main activities. This Revolving UI, as Samsung calls it because it functions like a revolving door of icons, allowing you to watch videos, for example, while receiving notifications directly without disrupting your viewing. Display-wise, the resolution is wonderful and the viewing angles are excellent. You can get to your favourite apps, alerts, and devices with a quick swipe even with the cover closed.
Apart from the usual bells and whistles, the Note Edge also comes with a ruler, flashlight, timer and voice recorder built directly into its curved portion for quick access.Since it is a Note device, it comes with an S-Pen which feels as close to writing on paper as the real thing.
All Ears for this Headphone
The Sony MDR-EX650AP, housed in a brass brown construction, is specially designed for head bass so you get quite an impressive bass sound from this little device
Photo Credit: Sony
What is it: Earphones
Name: Sony MDR-EX650AP
Award: Headphones of the Year, Stuff Awards 2014
The Sony MDR-EX650AP, housed in a brass brown construction, is specially designed for head bass so you get quite an impressive bass sound from this little device even at high volumes. The treble is also quite clear at mid-range.
It has a smart Y-cord design with twisted cables, making it tangle proof even when you stuff it into your bag or pockets. The Y-cord also helps to minimise sound distortion-microphonics when the cable bounces so you will not get the kind of noise disruption as with other earphones.
Perfect Fitness Partner
The Jawbone UP2 Activity Tracker (this year’s upgrade of the UP24) is equipped with Bluetooth so you don’t have to plug it into your phone to sync your stats
Photo credit: Harvey Norman
What is it: Fitness band
Name: Jawbone UP2 (upgrade of UP24 which won three awards in 2014)
Award: Fitness Gadget of the Year, Gitex 2014
Fitness Wearable of the Year, T3 Awards 2014
Health & Fitness Gadget of the Year, Stuff Awards 2014
Last year, the Jawbone UP24, a hassle-free, easy-to-use fitness band, was a winner on several fronts. Just when you thought things could not get any better, along comes the UP24’s upgraded sibling, the UP2. The latest Jawbone is 45% smaller, making it a lighter, more discreet fitness companion. It also has a smaller, more comfortable and flexible band that has an adjustable clasp for a better fit.
Like the winning UP24, the UP2 counts steps, sleep, and calories. It notes the amount of time you spend being active or idle and vibrates if you have been seated for too long, nudging you to get up and move. It also reminds you to sleep better by measuring how much you sleep and how well you sleep based on your movement patterns so you can moderate your sleep accordingly. Its ‘Smart Coach’ software will even monitor your exercise trends and urge you to do a little more each day. At the beginning of each week, the Jawbone will email you a summary of your previous week’s step and sleep averages. And you will not oversleep again because it vibrates to wake you up.
Because it is equipped with Bluetooth, you don’t have to plug it into your phone to sync your stats. Simply open up an app and you can get all your updates automatically.
Power Play All in One
The Xbox One Kinect - bundled with The Master Chief Collection game at Harvey Norman - lets you play games, surf the Internet, watch television, and even Skype - all at the same time!
Photo credit: Harvey Norman
What is it: game console
Name: Xbox One
Award: Tech Toy of the Year, Gitex 2015
Until the Xbox One came along, a game console is only just that – a device for playing games. With the introduction of the Xbox One, you can do multiple things all at once with one device (which explains why this Xbox is called ‘One’). This console lets you play games, surf the Internet, watch television, and even Skype at the same time using its Snap function which opens another window on the screen. All this increases the interactivity of the Xbox One. With it, you can play games and surf the Internet for cheats or even give your pals half way across the world a blow-by-blow account of your gameplay.
With the Kinect function’s voice, vision, and motion technology, you can automatically sign in the Xbox One just by entering the room and gesturing or speaking a command. From there, you can navigate menus, control individual functions of programmes, activate apps and the Snap function, and switch off the Xbox using voice commands. The Xbox One also allows you to personalise the activation so that the device recognises only you. Talk about security!
Technology is always evolving and improving. Today’s newbie may well be tomorrow’s has-been. Before your next purchase, check out what the experts have singled out and take your pick from the winner’s circle.
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