Archive for the ‘Gadgets’ Category

Advertorial, Gadgets

The changing face of TVs

By shinychris on March 4th, 2014

TVs have certainly changed a bit in our life times. Remember when the telly was just an ugly and heavy black box that sat unloved in the corner of the room? Some of you may even remember when they were squarish rather than the much wider, more cinematic, 16 x 9 shape they are today.

Certainly one thing that is very different today is picture quality.  Sony’s latest  4K TVs, for example, boast over 8 million pixels (3840 x 2160 resolution), providing images that are four times clearer than current High Definition TVs.  But it’s not just that images are so much sharper and more detailed than ever before with a Sony 4K TV. Just like computers, TVs have entered the information age with a whole host of new Internet inspired features too.

Whereas once the only way you could communicate with your TV was to shout at it very loudly when something came on you didn’t like (unfortunately it would never listen), now you can discuss the programmes you are watching with your friends in real time. So, for example, Sony’s latest W95 LED TV features a built in HD camera so you can enjoy a bit of banter during the big match with your friends and family, even follow their Tweets on screen.

But this TV isn’t just about lots of features and great picture quality – they are of course a given these days with a Sony set. Blending style and substance, the stylish wedge design allows extra capacity for an enhanced and more powerful speaker system. So you may be at home watching the match on your TV, but it sounds like you are in the stands listening to 30,000 fans chanting!

TV: Past vs Present - Infographic

Courtesy of Sony

Sponsored Post

Gadgets, music

Pink Floyd finally lands on Spotify – Wish You Were Here first

By Stefano on June 14th, 2013

Pink_Floyd_Large_1233758930_crop_500x338There is a small but rather impressive list of bands who haven’t yet made their music available to streaming service Spotify. The Beatles top the list, alongside Led Zep and Oasis. but one band who up until now had resisted making their music available on the service have finally changed their mind.

In a short period of time (hopefully, more on that in moment) Pink Floyd’s entire back catalogue will be available to stream on Spotify. So listeners can revel in Syd Barret’s psychedelic ditties while switching all the lights off and sniffing josticks to Dark Side Of The Moon.

Back in May several Pink Floyd albums landed on the site but were withdrawn quickly. This time round the track Wish You Were here has been added to the service and this cryptic tweet has come from the band.

To unlock the catalogue Wish You Were Here has to be streamed one million times. So come on Spotify users get cracking. So come on Floyd fans hop to it.

Not everyone will be pleased though.

Gadgets, music

Jack White’s amazing working Record Booth – video

By Stefano on April 19th, 2013

recordbooth01Record Booths, basically mini recording studios where you went in to sing your songs and came out with a newly pressed bit of vinyl, were all the rage in the 40s and 50s. These days, with cassettes and digital recording, not so much. In fact they pretty much disappeared in the 1970s,

So it is so amazing that Jack White has brought the concept back to life at the Third Man Record Store in Nashville.

Especially for Record Store Day, but it will be working all year round, the refurbished 1947 Voice-o-Graph machine records up to 2 minutes of audio and dispenses a one-of-a-kind 6″ phonograph disc to the user.

The machine has been tweaked too to create 45RPM vinyl ratehr than the 78RPM it used to dispense in the middle of the last century.

Like the record booths of old those who make recording at the refurbished booth are encouraged to mail their records to friends and loved ones and Third Man offers custom-printed envelopes and postage stamps to make that happen.

And if musicians want a wider audience then they will be able to submit digitised versions of their recordings to Third Man to be streamed on a dedicated page on the Third Man Records website.

So can we have one in London pronto, please. Top-end of Brick Lane round the back off Rough trade would be ideal.

Anyhow here’s Brendan Benson in action creating his one-off 45. More info here

Gadgets, music

Sennheiser launches Momentum limited edition headphones inspired by David Bowie

By Stefano on March 18th, 2013


Rock star endorsed hardware has been a huge trend over the late few years, from Dr Dre’s Beats through to Motorhead’s goes louder than eleven audio range, every influential musician seems to be getting in on the act.

Now Sennheiser has landed one of the coolest collaborations of all. It is offering a limited edition (500 copies only) pair of Momentum headphones that commemorate its recent venture with David Bowie.

Sennheiser are one of the sponsors of the ‘David Bowie is’ exhibition which opens on 23rd March at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. To commemorate this it is launching £329.99 Momentum headphones  inspired by the Dame, which it claims are a real ‘collectible for all Bowie and music fans.’

They don’t say a great deal about the Bowie branding. So let’s concentrate on the cans which come with a 3.5 mm stereo jack and an additional cable that has a smart remote and microphone so users can make and receive calls while the phones are connected to their phone.

They are a closed design and come with a luxurious and tough breathable leather headband for optimum sweat and water resistance

If you fancy a pair you need to go here to register your interest.

features, Gadgets

Why the Samsung Galaxy S 4 leaves the Apple iPhone 5 eating dust?

By Stefano on March 14th, 2013

galaxy-s4-launch-topIt is a huge night for Samsung as the Korean maker has unveiled what it hopes will become the hottest phone on the planet  - the Galaxy S4.

The last few years have been an incredible ride for Samsung. It was one of the first makers to respond to the seismic sea change in the industry caused by the arrival of the iPhone and since then it has continued to deliver phones that have been almost the equal of its Apple rival.

All that changed in Spring last year when Samsung took the wraps off the Samsung Galaxy S III a phone that in some tech pundits minds has put some clear water between the flagship handsets of the two companies.

In particular Samsung seemed to have worked out that the way to take on Apple was to offer a larger screen and punters who seem to spend more time now using their smartphones for surfing the web and reading ebooks, loved its 4.8inch display. It made the iPhone 5′s 4.0inch display seem titchy.

But then the Samsung phone also had a great camera, some interesting features like Smart Stay and a very fast processor.

And now Samsung is set to move the goal posts again by launching the Galaxy S4. So which areas does the S4 score significantly over the iPhone 5? Well the bad news for Apple fans is that it is a superior phone is almost every department.

Take the screen – the S4 has a five inch screen – much larger than the iPhone 5′s 4.inch one. The S4′s resolution of 1920×1080 – or around 440 pixels per inch (PPI) – is also significantly superior to the Retina display technology of the iPhone 5.

Or the processor – The S4 features Samsung’s new Exynos 5 eight core processor – the 1.6GHz Exynos 5410. It will be accompanied by a PowerVR SGX 544MP3 graphics chip, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. On almost every level that is significantly better than the iPhone 5.

Or the camera – The iPhone 5′s camera is a stunner, but in terms of sheer resolution its eight mega pixel images can’t match the 13 mega pixel ones captured by the S4.

Where the iPhone 5 still has the edge is that gorgeous aluminium finish. It is way classier than the plastic of the Samsung phone. It may have the edge on apps too, but then again so many are available via the Google Play store now that the difference is becoming negligible.

So today was not a good day to be an Apple fanboy or girl. Sure Apple has the next iteration of the iPhone the 5S coming soon. But its screen is likely to be the same as the 5 and there will be many areas in which Samsung still had the lead. Perhaps the big battle for the future of mobile will be between the Galaxy S5 and the iPhone 6.

There’s more on the S 4 here.

Cars, features, Gadgets

Airships, Hovercraft, Amphibious Caravans, Batmobiles – the weirdest vehicles for sale

By Stefano on March 14th, 2013

There is a fantastic story that dates from the turn of the century. Back then aviation pioneer Alberto Santos-Dumont would parade his new fangled Airship by hovering at roof level along the boulevards of Paris.

Then when he’d utterly freaked the passing Parisians out he would tie the ship up and pop into his favourite restaurant for lunch.

Hopefully one day we will all be floating roof level above the streets of cities in our personal airships. Until then though here is a selection of various other modes of transport – most of which are for sale – which are utterly bizarre, but would be huge amounts of fun.

Hoverwing £150,000

Picture 1 of 7
Picture 1 of 7

Firebox bills Hoverwing as the lovechild of every amazing vehicle, ever designed by mankind. And they are bang on too. This amazing err thing, can hover like a Hovercraft and works on both water and land. But the best bit is that the engine is so powerful that it can push the Hoverwing, which also sports a pair of wings, six feet above the ground or the water. And you don't even need a licence to fly it. It's capable of carrying up to 540kg and reaching speeds of nearly 126km/h, so it is fair to say you could cause some serious damage using it. Hoverwing

Gadgets, Watches

Another stunning (but mostly completely baffling) watch from Tokyoflash

By Stefano on March 5th, 2013


We really love Tokyoflash Japan and their genius watches. They look amazing, but can we use them to tell the time? – well nah, but who cares.

The company has just released its latest community designed watch, Kisai X, which is apartment based on a concept that the company published on its Tokyoflash Design Studio Blog which was submitted jointly by Firdaus Rohman from Malaysia and Heather Sable from America.

It describes the watch this way.

“Sharp lines of LED light shining through the dark pyramid lens appear to be a secret code. They are in fact regular numbers that present the digital time in an easy to read way. Inspired by cryptography, Kisai X features time, date, alarm and animation mode. Can you decode the time?”

It is available in black or silver polished stainless steel with a blue, green or red LED display and you use its USB connection to recharge it. It is on sale now for $99 (€75, £65) from here.


Is this how Apple sees the future? The iWatch that uses holograms

By Stefano on February 28th, 2013

So an ad for the Apple iWatch has just landed on YouTube. However before you get too excited it is portraying a product that the ad creators don’t think will be on sale until 2019.

The gadgets is the much talked about Apple iWatch and this clever video shows how someone might use the gadget to check social media, transfer images from a camera, make a video call and a load more.

It is pretty convincing stuff, though how realistic an a watch creating interactive holograms is I have no idea.

For more on the watch go here and to see some mock ups check this story.


Your next smartphone? The HTC One looks good and has some innovative features. In UK stores in March

By Stefano on February 19th, 2013

htc-oneThere’s a big smartphone launch today as Taiwanese maker HTC takes the wraps off its One phone.

Usually phone makers save Spring launches for the Mobile World Congress event which is next week in Barcelona,but HTC have gone early to make sure they get maximum publicity for what might be a make or break phone for the company.

So what’s good about it?

Firstly the basics – it uses Google’s latest operating system, Android Jelly Bean and sports a 4.7in (12cm) 1080p high defintion display.

But it is the body, which is made from pure aluminium that is perhaps its most striking feature. It really looks very classy.

HTC is also making a big play of the camera which they claim is the best on a mobile device. The handset also has an innovative camera mode – HTC Zoe. In short this captures short high definition videos instead of still image, so users can chose the best picture to capture the moment. Furthermore the software can then turn a gallery of still images into a collection of videos

Another key feature is BlinkFeed, which basically enables users to customise the home screen to feature the content of their choosing from both apps and websites.

HTC have lost a lot of market share to Apple and Samsung recently, so they hope that the One will prove to be a success and regain some of that lost ground.

As for UK availability

Three will have the phone for order from Friday 22nd with delivery most likely in March. Vodafone are making a similar promise. It will be on EE’s 4G network from mid-March on a number of 4G plans. One option is to pay £69.99 for the handset on the network’s £41 per month 24-month package. O2 has confirmed it will be selling the phone on March 15th on it’s On&On plan with 2GB data with unlimited calls and unlimited texts.

features, Gadgets, Gallery

Apple’s iWatch – take a look at the gallery of prototypes

By Stefano on February 19th, 2013

I have already written loads about Apple ‘s iWatch, so if you want the most recent update go here and if you want the background and to take a peek at some of its rivals then check here.

Even though it hasn’t been confirmed the iWatch already exists, well in the minds of some very clever designers and Photoshoppers.

Here then are the best iWatch designs we have seen so far. Some date from a few years ago while one is from as far back as 2005.

Yanko Designs

Picture 1 of 7
Picture 1 of 7

This pic is how Esben Oxholm of Yanko thinks the Apple team would design the phone/watch. It is a very recent design and the key feature is the curved glass that many pundits will be central to the iWatch. He says Heavily inspired by the look of the iPhone 5 and sporting a minimalistic, sleek look, the watch is crafted with black aluminum on the outside and a thin layer of soft matte rubber on the inside. It has got the highly recognizable round home button as the only physical button. The rest of the fun happens on the newly developed slightly double curved touch screen. The iWatch can be fitted to your liking, by removing or adding spacers in the lower part of the bendy bracelet. Yanko


features, Furniture, Gadgets, Gallery

Retro gadgets: ten vintage style record players

By Stefano on February 18th, 2013


I don’t think it is just me but these days I find that I am increasing playing more vinyl than CDs. Spotify is my main source of music, but every now and then I fancy something that isn’t on the online music service and go and get a record out.

There is something wonderful about spinning vinyl again. It demands your attention for a start. You can’t go skipping tracks (well you can but it isn’t great for your needle) and then there’s the sound which just seems warmer and more lively than colder digital sounds.

The big question for those who are thinking about getting the vinyl out of the loft and back into the living room is what are you going to play it on? Systems like Sonos and iPhone hi-fis have replaced the seperates based music systems of yore, and if that’s you spending money on a Technics deck, or aging Dual turntable when you don’t have the amp to team it up with, is a waste of time.

Which is why old vintage style record players are making a comeback. They are the consumer electronics items that bring the generations together with some being snapped up by young hipsters types who have just bought vinyl copies of the latest releases and others the preserve of aging hipsters revisiting classic vinyl from their youth.

Another reason for their popularity is that they just look great. Team them up with a suitably cool retro table and you have a really striking bit of furniture.

If you fancy one you really ought to be thinking about an original Dansette from the 50/60s. You can get them reconditioned from dealers and also from ebay - get lucky and it’ll look and sound great.

However one reason you might want a record player is to make MP3 copies of vinyl. If that’s you then there’s a new breed or vintage style record players to consider. Up until recently most of them looked pretty horrible. However US make Crosley has changed all that and its highly desirable Collegiate player was a huge hit last Christmas and sold out in that hipster paradise Urban Outfitters. You can still buy them in the UK but you might have to wait for them come in on export.

Here then is a round up of what is available in the UK now.

Crosley Collegiate £160

Picture 1 of 10
Picture 1 of 10

Fair play to Crosley for being the first brand to produce a high quality design-led reproduction of a classic Dansette. This, the Collegiate, is a small-ish record player that has an aluminium grill speaker a leather handle and USB connectivity. It plays singles, albums and 10inch discs. It is available in several colours. It was available the UK from Urban Outfitters, but they seem to have sold out. So the only place that has it for now is this lot who can get you one on import if you are prepared to wait. Karmaloop


A sneak preview as to what the Apple iWatch might look like (and it looks stunning)

By Stefano on February 18th, 2013


Of course, at the moment no one knows what Apple’s iWatch will look like, or even if there will be one. However an iWatch does appear to be on the cards and according to the goss it will sport a revolutionary double curved touch screen.

So fair play to the fellas at Yanko Designs who have imagined what the iWatch might look like. And if it does look like this then put me down for one – pronto.

Just to recap the iWatch will, if it ever arrives, link wirelessly to your iPhone using Bluetooth and let you have updates from your social media accounts, emails, text messages etc. You might even be able to control it using Apple’s Siri voice interface. There is bound to be a few interesting new things too.

This pic then this is how Esben Oxholm of the Yanko thinks the Apple team would design the phone/watch.

He says

Heavily inspired by the look of the iPhone 5 and sporting a minimalistic, sleek look, the watch is crafted with black aluminum on the outside and a thin layer of soft matte rubber on the inside.

It has got the highly recognizable round home button as the only physical button. The rest of the fun happens on the newly developed slightly double curved touch screen. The iWatch can be fitted to your liking, by removing or adding spacers in the lower part of the bendy bracelet.

For more go here.

For more on the background to the iWatch and to see its rivals go here


Pyle’s stylish new turntable in a briefcase – the PVTT2U

By Stefano on February 14th, 2013

pyle turntableYou might not have heard of Pyle – they are a US based company whose products sell in the UK mainly through Amazon - but if your a vinyl nut you are sure going to like the look of this turntable.

To underline the point that the record player in a briefcase is back – see also here and here - the company has just unveiled the PVTT2U Retro Belt-Drive, USB equipped Turntable that comes in a stylish briefcase.

It also comes with a pair of anti-magnetic speakers built in and a USB port for hooking the deck to your PC and creating MP3 files from your vinyl.

It is powered either by the main or using its battery that is recharged the USB lead to a computer by plugging into a wall outlet using the included AC-USB adapter.

There’s no definite UK launch date, but most of Pyle’s products make it over the Pond, and hopefull that $188.99 price tag will be more £160.

“We pride ourselves on providing the most unique music technologies. We found a way to reach our retro lovers and bring them to the best of the modern age and technology that the music world has to offer,” says Abe Brach president of Pyle Audio.

Specs below

Pyle’s Retro Belt-Drive Turntable Features Include:

• Three Turntable Speeds: 33, 45, 78 RPM
• Belt-Driven Automatic Turntable
• Ceramic Stereo Cartridge
• 45 RPM Adapter
• Two Built-in Stereo Anti-Magnetic Speakers
• USB Port For Connection to PC to Convert Vinyl to MP3
• Stereo RCA Output
• Rechargeable Battery
• Free Audacity Software Included For Vinyl-to-MP3 Conversion
• Dimensions: 10.63” x 13.78” x 4.33”


Big screen tablets just got cheap! Archos unveils 11.6inch Platinum device for just £299

By Stefano on February 14th, 2013

archos-platinuimSome fairly seismic news today from tablet maker Archos. The company has taken the wraps off a trio of new tablets and the star of the show is a top-end model with an 11.6inch screen.

Now that’s big. The full iPad is just 9.7. It is also unique-ish. There are some tablets with similar sized screens, but 1, they run Windows (the Archos one runs the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system) and 2, you can expect to pay north of £800 for them. The new Archos 116 Platinum goes on sale in the UK in April with a price tag of just £299.

So what corners have been cut? The specs are actually fairly decent. It has a 1920×1080 resolution IPS screen, a QUAD core CPU at 1.2 GHz with 8-core GPU, with 1080p video decoding and 2 GB RAM. there’s also front and back cameras for both snapping and video chatting.

It’ll be interesting to have a proper look at the tablet and check out its build quality. If that’s good then £299 sounds like a real bargain.

Archos also debuted the 80 (8inch screen) and 97 (9.7inch screen today too)

Here’s the release from the maker.

The entire Platinum range will all share the following features:

• High-Definition IPS display with capacitive multi-touch screen
• QUAD core CPU at 1.2 GHz with 8-core GPU, with 1080p video decoding
• 2 GB RAM
• Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
• Full access to the 700,000 applications
• Archos Media Center applications
• Front and Back Cameras
• Mini-HDMI and Micro SD ports

The ARCHOS 80 Platinum, an 8″ tablet, features a 1024×768 resolution IPS screen and when compared to the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 it is almost twice as fast, has double the RAM and has a back camera for a fraction of the cost. The 80 Platinum will be available in February for £179

The ARCHOS 97 Platinum HD, a 9.7″ tablet, features a stunning 2048×1536 resolution IPS screen, which is comparable to the Retina display found in the iPad, but is 40% less expensive. The 97 Platinum HD will be available in February for £249

The ARCHOS 116 Platinum, an 11.6″ tablet, features a 1920×1080 resolution IPS screen, unlike anything currently on the market. The 116 Platinum will be available in April for £299


Sonos adds surround sound to wireless audio with the Playbar

By Stefano on February 12th, 2013


For quite some time now Sonos has been the home audio system of choice for discerning types who want music piped wirelessly wherever they wander in their house. It has plenty of rivals like this and this, but has continued to sell in large numbers.

As of today it has got even smarter better too for the company has introduced something that many Sonos devotees have been asking for for ages.

launched today The PLAYBAR is a device that turns its existing kit into a wireless surround system. It can either lie flat on the TV stand or rotate for low profile wall-mounting above or sit below the TV.

One of the big pluses of the system is that it doesn’t require a subwoofer for beefing the bass sounds up as it already has six mid-woofers for bass built in, this apparently makes it a lot more flexible as to where you site it.

You hook the device up to your TV using a single optical cable, and through this it will deliver audio from anything that is connected to the set including cable and Sky boxes, Blu-ray players and game consoles.

Says John MacFarlane, CEO, Sonos Inc: “Sonos has transformed the way people listen to music throughout the home and now we’re bringing our wireless HiFi approach to home theatre.”

“PLAYBAR will change everything about the sound experience in your living room, bringing together amazing HiFi sound for your TV and wireless access to the world’s music in a radically simple way.”

PLAYBAR will retail for £599 and will be available for purchase at

©2012 Shiny Digital Privacy Policy