Tech treats

With the hol­i­day sea­son around the corner, arm your­self with our handy gad­get shop­ping guide.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FRONT PAGE - By ZAM KARIM bytz@thes­

NO mat­ter how old you are, you never out grow the spirit of giv­ing and re­ceiv­ing presents. The hol­i­day sea­son and Christ­mas are just around the corner and what bet­ter time than now to start plan­ning your pur­chases for your loved ones.

If you are not sure what to get then Bytz is here to help — we have looked through a long list of com­puter pe­riph­er­als, smart­phones, tablets, cam­eras, con­soles and games to iden­tify the ones that are the best in each cat­e­gory and price range.

In the past you would only con­sider get­ting a gad­get for the geek in your cir­cle but all that has changed. Just about ev­ery­one loves gad­gets and even granpa or granma will love a tablet or ro­botic vac­uum cleaner as a gift.

To make it eas­ier for you we have sep­a­rated them into cat­e­gories, and here we start off with com­puter ac­ces­sories and robotics.

Don’t blow your bud­get

If you plan to get some­thing for some­one that al­ready owns tons of gad­get then con­sider a powerbank. They are por­ta­ble and light­weight, and are great for keep­ing smart­phones and tablets charged in an emer­gency or while trav­el­ling.

There are many de­signs from easy-to-carry lip­stick types to Trans­form­ers- like charg­ers of var­i­ous ca­pac­i­ties. There are even mod­els that at­tach di­rectly to the back of your phone like a cover and some, like the Power ResQ, can even jump­start your car’s bat­tery. The price starts at RM35.

If your loved one is into tak­ing pho­tos then the Shut­terBall re­mote is great for tak­ing the per­fect selfie or group pic­ture (with you in it) us­ing an iPhone or An­droid de­vice.

The re­mote works from as far away as 60in away and goes for RM49.

But if mov­ing pic­tures is more of your thing then the Google Chrome­cast will do won­ders for you. It’s one of the eas­i­est ways to stream con­tent from your de­vices such as a smart- phone to a HDTV. The Chrome­cast is priced at US$35 (RM105).

When you talk about movies, the is­sue is al­ways stor­age space. Giv­ing some­one an ex­ter­nal hard disk will al­low the per­son to cart his or her data wher­ever they go.

You can opt for mod­els that use 2.5in or 3.5in hard disk. Go for 2.5in if you are look­ing for portablity as they don’t need ex­ter­nal power to func­tion. The 3.5in mod­els come with a lot more stor­age for the same price but re­quire ex­ter­nal power and are more bulky. Prices start at RM150 for the 500GB ver­sion.

Fun and fit­ness

If you are look­ing for some­thing a lit­tle higher up then the Log­itech G602 MMO Gam­ing Mouse will be great for any kid or adult who plays games on­line. It’s par­tic­u­larly suited for MMORGP (mas­sively mul­ti­player on­line role-play­ing game) as it comes with a lot of cus­tomis­able but­tons.

This lit­tle beauty is get­ting great re­views from the gam­ing world and will set you back by RM259.

If you want some­thing with more gen­eral ap­peal then a re­mote con­trol tank is sure to be a hit be­cause you can con­trol it from your iOS or An­droid de­vice. Most use Blue­tooth but the Rover 2.0 uses WiFi which means you can op­er­ate it from a longer dis­tance and use its night vi­sion cam­era to record videos in the dark. Tell the re­cip­i­ent to not do any­thing naughty or he or she won’t be get­ting Rover 3.0 next year. Rover 2.0 is priced at RM449.

As this is the hol­i­day sea­son, you will also want to print all the pho­tos of friends and fam­ily. You can do this best with the Canon Sel­phy CP900. This dye-sub­li­ma­tion model prints great post­card­sized pho­tos and can work in­de­pen­dently with­out a PC, as it comes with a card reader and can also con­nect to your wire­less net­work.

As it’s por­ta­ble, you can al­ways take it with you if you are will­ing to pay RM399.

Gad­gets can also get you healthy. The Nike+ FuelBand SE comes in a va­ri­ety of colours in­clud­ing clas­sic black, volt, pink foil and to­tal crim­son. It’s per­fect for the fit­ness fans and is one of the best mo­ti­va­tional watches on the mar­ket, as it tells time and also counts calo­ries. Get this one for about US$149 (RM470)

Money doesn’t mat­ter

This is the year-end af­ter all and if you want to splurge then you have reached the right place. For pure fun you can gift the Sphero 2.0, a ro­botic ball that will pro­vide you with end­less hours of fun. This ball rolls at speeds of up to seven-feet-per-sec­ond and can be con­trolled from an An­droid or iOS de­vice via Blue­tooth. It comes with two ramps and works with over 25 apps for you to ex­plore a new world of mo­bile game­play.

This ball isn’t cheap and is priced at RM549.

Not all robotics are just for fun. En­ter the Sam­sung Nav­i­bot-S, a ro­botic vac­uum cleaner that will keep your floors clean all the time with­out much help from you. It’s so smart it even emp­ties out the de­bris it col­lects into its base sta­tion so you don’t have to throw out the rub­bish of­ten. We tested it and what im­pressed us most is that it’s one of the qui­etest ro­botic vac­uum clean­ers in the mar­ket — you won’t mind let­ting it loose in your house. The Nav­i­bot-S costs RM2,999

Mov­ing on, the Garmin GDR35 is one of the more ad­vanced driv­ing video recorders. It has two cam­eras — one for the front and the other for the back. This means that you can record video with two si­mul­ta­ne­ous views of what’s hap­pen­ing on the front and the back of your car. Other fea­tures in­clude an in­te­grated GPS chip to en­code each video with lo­ca­tion in­for­ma­tion as well as a grav­ity sen­sor which will alert the cam­era when there is a col­li­sion or emer­gency brak­ing to ac­ti­vate record­ing. This baby costs RM750. Fi­nally, if all else doesn’t ap­peal to you then maybe the Beats by Dr Dre’s Pill, a por­ta­ble speaker, will get your at­ten­tion be­cause it’s sim­ply loud.

This is re­ally handy be­cause smart­phone and tablet users love to share their mu­sic but the built-in speak­ers in these de­vices are just sad.

The Pill sets it­self apart from the com­pe­ti­tion with its unique eye-catch­ing de­sign, sound qual­ity and ex­tra fea­tures like NFC (Near Field Com­mu­ni­ca­tions) con­nec­tiv­ity. It costs



Get rolling: The Sphero 2.0 may just be a ball but it’s built like a race­car with an en­tirely new and more ac­cu­rate “driv­ing” ex­pe­ri­ence.

rover 2.0

Log­itech G602

resQ powerbank

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