When it comes to smartphones, there are a few different tiers to choose from – starting with the entry level to the mid-range, and then there is the high end side of things. Needless to say, smartphones that reside in the high end hierarchy will more often than not cost more than half a grand unlocked, and is one of the more expensive ones even when it is bought on contract. The mid-range market is a highly competitive one, as it does deliver decent levels of performance without breaking the bank – functionally good, I would say, like the Motorola Moto G. Well, HTC is a company that did hit its heights some years back before dropping into the doldrums, but they did at last get back in the black recently, thanks to the strong showing by the HTC One M7 and M8 models. This time around, it is a mid-range device that will take centrestage, known as the HTC Desire 610.
The HTC Desire 610 will work on AT&T’s 4G LTE network, ensuring that you get to enjoy blazing fast speeds without missing a beat. When July 25 rolls around, one is able to place an order for the 4G LTE capable HTC Desire 610 online or in AT&T stores for $199.99 at no annual commitment pricing. The smartphone itself is also made available with AT&T Next 18 for as little as $8.34 each month, or you have the option to own one at only $10 per month thanks to Next 12. Not only that, there is yet another affordable option, where the AT&T GoPhone HTC Desire 610 is going for just $199.99, and the GoPhone prepaid packages are good for 30 days.
Just what kind of hardware does the HTC Desire 610 pack? Well, it boasts of a 4.7-inch display and front facing stereo speakers, delivering immersive audio, supports HTC BlinkFeed and Zoe, runs off a quad-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400 processor, has 1GB RAM, an 8-megapixel rear camera and the 1.3-megapixel front facing camera, 8GB of internal memory which could be enhanced thanks to a microSD memory card slot, all of it running on Android 4.4 KitKat.
Right now, the smartphone world is more or less split right down the middle with Apple’s iOS as well as Google’s Android mobile operating systems dominating the market. There is, of course, a third pillar that is supported by Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8.1 (I will leave BlackBerry OS out of the equation), which is growing slowly and steadily with Nokia being the main driver behind sales of Windows Phone-powered devices. This time around, the Microsoft-owned company has announced the Nokia Lumia 635 that runs on Windows Phone 8.1, which has been touted to be the most personal Windows Phone experience to date.
It will feature a 4.5” FWVGA resolution (854 x 480 pixels) that can display up to 16 million colors, sporting Nokia’s ClearBlack technology accompanied by Corning Gorilla Glass 3 to add a dimension of toughness to the mix. Not only that, it also boasts of a wide viewing angle, coming in handy whenever you show off your favorite photos to a bunch of family members and friends.
Running on a quad-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, this makes the Nokia Lumia 635 a mid-range performer, which ought to be more than enough to handle all of the everyday tasks that one associates with smartphones. In fact, it will do everything “normal” that you ask it to with aplomb, as the 512MB RAM offers decent support. There is also 8GB of internal memory for you to work with – meaning power users might want to avoid it and settle for something more high end instead.
Apart from that, the Nokia Lumia 635 embraces its existence with several electrifying phone shell colors that one can choose from, letting you switch according to your current mood. Not only that, the new Windows Phone 8.1 personal assistant known as Cortana will hopefully prove to help you out throughout the day.
Just in case the 8GB of built-in memory is not enough, there is another 7GB of free cloud storage on OneDrive, giving you plenty of space to stash all of the other apps, photos, videos, and more that you love. A 5MP auto focus camera with 4x digital zoom that is capable of recording 720p video as well is located at the back, all of it packed into a chassis that measures 5.09” x 2.62” x 0.36”, where it tips the scales at 4.73 ounces.
So you have been working hard the whole day long, and cannot wait for the clock to strike five so that you can take off from the office and head to your favorite watering hole to spend some much needed time, unwinding with the rest of your colleagues and bar friends. If it is happy hour, so much the better for your wallet, although the bartender might be a wee bit too busy serving all of the customers at once when it is packed. Fret not – the next time a bucket of beer bottles head your way, just wave away the server so that other customers can be served faster. You do not even need to borrow a bottle opener, not when you have the $49.95 French Cuff Bottle Openers in your possession.
These cufflinks will be able to open up bottles as easily as they secure French button cuffs, and it does make me wonder just which of the two are they better at. Not only are they suitable for boardroom negotiations, they also do well when it comes to having off-the-cuff drinks with coworkers. The cufflinks themselves are made from polished stainless-steel, where they sport rigid teeth that will be able to quickly lift the cap from a bottle-conditioned Imperial Pale Ale. Perfect for the gentleman who believes form should always follow function, it is also the ideal conversation starter – especially with your new colleagues. Road warriors might want to check out the Wi-Fi cufflinks, too.
[ French Cuff Bottle Openers helps executives quench their thirst in a jiffy copyright by Coolest Gadgets ]
When it comes to golf, opinions about the game is definitely polarized, or at least split right down the middle. After all, golf widows will tell you of the different kinds of reactions they have each time their husbands return home with a new set of golf clubs, and sharing just what their future timetable will be like when it comes to the week’s golfing sessions ahead. Since you yourself do not like the game of golf and yet would like to know his friends better, how about arriving at a compromise? This win-win situation will require the $49.99 Floating Golf Game to be part of your home – assuming you have a swimming pool in the first place, of course.
The Floating Golf Game is said to be a hit in or out of the pool, although it is a whole lot more fun in the pool. This fun game will definitely test your golf skills to the limit, since you can always try to chip your ball onto the floating green, or to practice your golf swing at the time of your choice. Either make use of that new club you just purchased, or the included plastic one that arrives with each purchase. Each Floating Golf Game will include a floating soft foam 3-hole pool green with golf flag and pole, a tee-off pad with storage slot for balls, a 27″ golf club with handle grip, and 8 soft foam balls.
[ Floating Golf Game – never play the same game twice copyright by Coolest Gadgets ]
I’ve recently gotten my greasy hands on a Sphero 2.0 remote controlled robotic toy. Did it deliver the giggles promised in the advertisements?
The Sphero 2.0 is the latest evolution of the Sphero toy. Inherently comical, the tennis ball sized toy created a lot of buzz on the Internet when its first edition came out. Made possible mostly by the fact that they can sell it without a remote control since it requires a tablet or smartphone to control it which helped keep the costs down. The range if the original Sphero was limited at 50ft and the speed 3ft second, it did glow in millions of different colors and was waterproof.
Sphero 2.0 though, is supposed to whizz along at “breakneck” speed, performing stunts and “grabbing air.” It’s also waterproof but three times brighter than the original Sphero.
Form and function
Yes, the ball is white when it’s off, with some blue on it but mostly a glossy, pearly white. However, turning it on also lights it up, and with the remote iOS app it can display a staggering amount of colors, reportedly more than the human eye can distinguish! Sadly though, not simultaneously as it can only be one color at a time. OK, this is not exactly true, when calibrating the steering control it does have a fixed, blue spot.
It comes with a charger base which is blue to match the Sphero badge. Sadly when the ball is on its charger, the base emits a blinding blue light which is almost enough to read by. At first, this prompted me to remove it from its base whenever I was trying to sleep. The makers of Sphero might not realize it but a lot of people charge these in their bedrooms, and an option to at least dim the charging light would’ve been nice. I’ve since solved it on mine with a piece of dark electric tape.
The Sphero feels heavier than expected when you first pick it up but it makes a hollow plastic sound whenever it knocks against the floor, rolling it around doesn’t improve the sound, and frankly the noise it makes is not reassuring. Things improve slightly when the knobby envelope, aptly named Nubby -bought separately for 15$!- is used. This however slows it down, prevents it from drifting (see below) and blocks out the colors which well, sucks.
Why not make a transparent Nubby?
The ball moves about by using a counterweight that you steer with one of many apps from your smartphone or tablet.
Fun and SPEED!
Yes, it’s very fast. So fast indeed that it easily drifts across the floor, which is probably among the coolest things it can do other than float, did I mention it’s waterproof? Initially, it was too quick to control but the app developers have built in a handy governor for the maximum speed available so scaling that down to a more manageable 25% max was necessary in order to come to grips with the way the device reacts. There’s little or no lag in controlling it although the range is somewhat limited by the fact that it’s Blutooth.
It should be noted that all our family pets, and we have a myriad of them, are terrorized by Sphero. It could probably be used to help control a pesky dog, I know I got ours to stop fussing about with its teddy bear whenever Cookie got home from errands. The bird didn’t care much for it, and the guinea-pig reacted to it by trying to break out of the opposite end of its cage with a comical chattering of teeth.
I’ve not tested it on the rabbit yet, failing to obtain permission from my daughter for me to go bug it with Sphero.
Yeah, that’s pretty much the most fun I’ve had with Sphero so far, annoy the crap out of everyone around me who aren’t actually playing with it. I’ve since learned to control it better and can now use the ramps -included!- to jump it from the living room onto the dining room floor, a height of about 1/2 inch because of different flooring materials, and back. I’ve also switched it back to full speed, it is indeed quick at a reported 7 feet per second.
I’ve tried most of the apps including the pay ones, nothing really innovative about them. They have two attempts at Augmented Reality (AR) with the first being a game where you control Sphero around your living room, disguised as what seems to be a beaver, navigating it to gobble up some gold pieces and candy to earn points. Another AR game is a weird Zombie bowling, fire throwing game I’m still not sure what to make of because the controls are about as obvious as programming a BetaMax VCR was in 1979.
Then there are the apps that aren’t really AR, for example a misleadingly named Sphero Cam which doesn’t actually use a camera that would be on the Sphero to take covert pictures, but instead allows you to use the tablet or smartphone camera to take a picture of the Sphero while you control it.
The Sphero 2.0 doesn’t have a camera built into it. Too bad but at the same time I can see how difficult it would’ve been to implement in a spherical object like that.
Another app changes the Sphero color, cycling it through about a dozen shades until it hits the color assigned to you by the computer, then prompting you to pick up the Sphero as fast as you can to earn points in what is essentially a 130$ twist on reflex games. Actually make that a 130$ + .99$ app twist on reflex games, the app is .99$…
On the box it says the Sphero has “over 25 apps” but I could only find about a dozen on iOS. I didn’t check Android but they probably have the other 13…
Yeah, it’s fun to play with Sphero 2.0. Until it becomes boring which is way too quickly, within three days it found its place atop its charger where it remained ever since, as it is now I might just move it to the living room where it will look great on a library shelf and might make a great conversation piece when we have people over.
Most of the apps are okay at best, the only good being the simple remote control app which includes a few “missions” but no real challenge. As you’ll have probably noticed my main quarrel with Sphero is not so much the use you can make of it, which is obvious: None other than playing. The issue I have with it is the cost. I imagine it’s expensive to build and I understand that whoever makes it wants to make some money, hey we all do, but I find that 130$ for a Blutooth receiver in a ball that has a counterweight and probably some kind of gyroscope built into it is much more than what it should cost if you consider that you could probably reuse most of the hardware inside a 40$ WiiMote.
As such, it’s going to be reserved for children who are tired of their ponies…
Until they realize that’s all the Sphero is: A one trick pony.
Hey, at least you don’t have to feed it or clean up after it!
-Doesn’t require a remote control as long as you already have a tablet or smartphone
-Comes with ramps in case you absolutely want to make sure it breaks
-Fun to bug pets with
-Makes a cheap breaking plastic sound
-Not enough useful applications
-Waaaay to expensive to be justifiable by mortals
-Should really come bundled with a Nubby
We’re always on the lookout for interesting new watches, and there seems to be something innovative and exciting cropping up every week. TokyoFlash may be near and dear to my heart, but there are many other watches out there that are eye-catching. If you’re in the market for a new watch, but don’t want something every Joe Schmoe is going to have, then what would you want to snazz up your wrist?
If retina verification is your thing, then the FiDELYS smartwatch may be up your alley, but if you’d prefer projection display, then you might want to look into the Ritot. This is a crowdfunding campaign that is already wildly successful, hitting its goal several times over. They claim that this is the first-ever projection watch. While it may not be a new concept, I haven’t previously seen it for day-to-day wear. Whenever you want to see the time, touch the watch or shake your wrist, and the time will appear on your hand.
The light that it emits can be whichever color from the 20+ options that are available to choose from on the clock base. Messages it displays can also be color-coded to your specifications. It can display caller ID, when you have a text, email, reminder, calendar alert, Facebook message, and more. There is even a vibrating alarm if you want to wear this to bed. There are bracelet and sport versions of this watch, and you can guess which one can take a little more rough and tumble. You will be able to see the projected light no matter day or night, and it should be able to keep it’s light for 150 hours while on, or a month straight in standby on a single charge. It is waterproof, and can display in 12 or 24 hour modes. If you’re worried about being left or right handed, you’ll be happy to know that you can change the side it projects on to. This will cost you around $120, and should it reach another stretch goal, will also include activity tracker capabilities.
Available for crowdfunding on Indiegogo
They say that variety is the spice of life. The thing is, in life, too many options or choices could end up paralyzing you when it comes to making a decision simply because one is unable to choose the best out of the lot. Good thing then Hammacher knows how to name some of their products, as with the $99.95 “The Only” Handheld Food Smoker. This is a Handheld Food Smoker that will be able to infuse food with earthy, smoky flavor in a matter of two short minutes, now how about that?
This feat is made possible thanks to the device’s aluminum chamber that holds smoldering wood shavings and its fan will send smoke through the 18″-long hose into a plastic bag or jar, allowing it to infuse baby back ribs or brisket with a savory, wood-fired flavor. In the restaurant industry this particular technique is called cold smoking, where it will add instant smokiness to cheese, a tomato salsa, or fish without cooking or altering the integrity of the food or drink. It will be different from traditional smoking methods which require hours of cooking, since this device can be used tableside right before you serve a meal to your distinguished guests. Other kitchen experiments can also involve smoking food with whole leaf tea (and not those used teabags that the Tea Button has saved), dried herbs, or ground spices.
[ The Only Handheld Food Smoker provides more options in the kitchen copyright by Coolest Gadgets ]
The FiDELYS smartwatch is touted to be a breakthrough for the iris recognition industry as it sports a price point as well as form factor that are unprecedented – thanks to an estimated retail price of $250, although those of you who would like to place a pre-order on Indiegogo.com, it will cost only approximately $200 thereabouts. The coming together of both biometrics and wearables will ensure that both industries are elevated to a whole new level since it finally shows the possibility of iris recognition technology arrive in a widespread manner as a consumer device. Apart from that, the smartwatch’s user interface is also special since it boasts of a rotating-clicking bezel, making this a departure from touchscreen displays that IriTech believes is not the best choice for form factors as small as a watch.
IriTech claims that its iris recognition technology on the FiDELYS is said to be able to solve a trio of major problems that our current generation faces: The Password plague, Privacy issues and Authentication issues. In fact, the patented technology that IriTech uses will ensure that only “live” irises will work – high quality images, videos, as well as non-live irises will be deemed as unrecognizable to the FiDELYS.
Logitech has come up with its fair share of accessories in the past for mobile devices like the Logitech PRO slim protective case, and it does not look as though the Swiss-based company is going to stop anytime soon. In fact, they have just lined up a couple of new accessories that will be released later this August, calling it the +trip and +drive mounts. The +trip will be able to quickly clip to any air vent in your vehicle so that your smartphone remains secure and in view at all times, where a magnet securely holds your smartphone to the +trip mount, letting you handle audio, navigation and phone calls with aplomb. It is small but definitely stylish, and has been specially designed for use during daily commutes and business trips. Each +trip mount will be accompanied by a pair of universal adapters, making it play nice with just about smartphones of all shapes and sizes.
As for the more modern looking +drive mount that you see above, it can be attached to your windshield or dashboard courtesy of a single twist-activated suction cup, while a magnet ensures that your smartphone remains securely in place. The +drive will feature a couple of universal adapters as well that can hold any smartphone or case vertically or horizontally. Expect the Logitech +trip air vent mount and +drive windshield/dashboard mount to arrive later next month for $29.99 and $49.99, respectively.
I suppose it makes perfect sense for you to have that kind of protective feeling over your brand new smartphone, especially if it happens to fall under the high end category. You would go to great lengths so that your smartphone does not receive any scratches or nicks, or even worse, suffer from dents due to an accidental drop. The question raised is this – just what kind of protective case should I get for my new smartphone then that offers a balance of quality as well as affordability? Logitech might have just the answer – only if you are rocking to a Samsung Galaxy S5 or an iPhone 5/5s, of course, thanks to the introduction of the Logitech protection+.
The Logitech protection+ will boast of a slim, yet ultra-protective, outer shell, where it is accompanied by flex-resistant corners and impact-absorbent channels. This will safeguard your smartphone from whatever the world throws at it, although this is not going to make your non-swimming smartphone waterproof – and this is where the Galaxy S5 has a clear edge over the Apple iPhones, since Samsung’s offering is not afraid of getting wet at all.
The Logitech protection+ case will boast of a hard polycarbonate body alongside impact-resistant polymers in each corner which will mitigate damage from impacts by absorbing shocks and dissipating them across the surface of your case. Apart from that, tucked within its polycarbonate shell, the case itself will boast of impact channels and a layer of thermoplastic rubber that will do their bit to absorb additional vibrations. Just for that added peace of mind, the Logitech protection+ case is said to exceed the U.S. Military drop-test standard (MIL-STD 810 G) for “rugged” devices, ensuring it will have no issues whatsoever protecting your phone from drops up to 1.8 meters high.
The case itself boasts of a hidden metal plate that will play nice with all Logitech smartphone mounts. This protection+ case will retail for $34.99 a pop when it arrives next month.