tech

REVIEW: Samsung’s new fitness gadget makes a sleek smartwatch

REVIEW: Samsung’s new fitness gadget makes a sleek smartwatch

After releasing a critical dud last fall with its first major smartwatch release, the Galaxy Gear, Samsung surprised a lot of folks in the industry when it announced an attractive new entrant into the wearable computing category, the Gear Fit, just a few months later.

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I used the giant Samsung phone that Apple wants to kill — and I’m never going back to a tiny screen again

I used the giant Samsung phone that Apple wants to kill — and I’m never going back to a tiny screen again

When I first started using Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3, almost everything about its enormous size annoyed me. I couldn’t text with one hand. It barely fit in my pocket, or didn’t at all. I felt silly holding it up to my ear to talk on the phone. It was the least subtle or elegant phone I’d ever seen.

Even my friends were horrified. I’d plop the Note onto a table or I’d whip it out to take a picture, and anyone I was hanging out with would double-take.

“What is that thing?!” they’d gasp.

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Newsflash: Sony unveils “Project Morpheus”, new virtual reality headset for PlayStation 4

Newsflash: Sony unveils “Project Morpheus”, new virtual reality headset for PlayStation 4

Sony Computer Entertainment has just lifted the lid on brand new hardware at GDC 2014 in San Francisco: its own virtual reality headset for PlayStation 4, codenamed Project Morpheus.

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Sorry Japan, this Yoshi-themed 3DS XL is just for North America and Europe

Sorry Japan, this Yoshi-themed 3DS XL is just for North America and Europe

Gamers outside of Japan were not doubt disappointed to learn that past limited editions of Nintendo’s popular 3DS portable console were not for sale outside of the company’s homeland, and are likely still sad that they missed out on the Mint White and Pikachu Yellow models that Japanese gamers snapped up in the blink of an eye. But we’re happy to report that for once it’s Japanese gamers who will be turning as green with envy as this Yoshi-emblazoned 3DS XL, as it is heading to North America and Europe only this month alongside the colourful new platformer Yoshi’s New Island.

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Want!!! Nintendo Famicom-themed earphones with in-line “controller” microphone unit coming soon

Want!!! Nintendo Famicom-themed earphones with in-line “controller” microphone unit coming soon

Heads up, gamers and fans of all things old-school! Video game accessory maker Datel Japan has announced a new pair of earphones modelled on none other than Nintendo’s classic Famicom (the NES in its native form) games console, complete with cable extender and an in-line mic designed to look exactly like the 8-bit console’s controller.

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Gorgeous photos of the Gear Fit, Samsung’s new fitness–minded smart watch

Gorgeous photos of the Gear Fit, Samsung’s new fitness–minded smart watch

Samsung made a few product announcements today, including a new water-resistant phone, the Galaxy S5. But the coolest announcement of all may be its new fitness tracker, the Gear Fit.

The Gear Fit is entering a crowded market. Nike, Fitbit and Jawbone have been innovating on wearable fitness tech for years.

But the Gear Fit’s sleek design, curved glass, robust set of features and multi-color screen make it more alluring than any fitness device that’s currently available. The battery lasts 3 – 4 days.

We got our hands on the Gear Fit at the Mobile World Congress conference in Barcelona. It won’t be available until April 2014, but you can check out big beautiful pictures of it now.

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Artists use SD cards and Febreeze to create Japanese crests for the modern age

Artists use SD cards and Febreeze to create Japanese crests for the modern age

There’s a lot of art enmeshed in everyday Japanese life. From the pictographs of the kanji writing system to the aesthetics of traditional practices, it’s easy to take for granted the visual symbolism on which a lot of the culture is based. One of the most striking examples of Japanese design is the kamon, or family crest, used for centuries to signify a family name or clan and often seen on the sleeves of formal kimonos and ceramic roof tiles of traditional homes. It’s estimated that there are as many as 30,000 family crests in Japan, and while many Japanese would struggle to identify a large number of them, some crests, such as the chrysanthemum Imperial crest and the Tokugawa shogunate hollyhock design, are easy to identify.

Artists are now using the digital medium to create a number of new kamon to the delight of netizens nationwide. What makes these unique is the fact that the images inside the crest are not flowers or scenes of nature but more modern logos and tools familiar to us through advertising and the digital age. The crest above, for example, might look like a cross design made up of four stylised rectangles, but if you look closely you’ll see something more commonly used in digital cameras: SD memory cards. Featuring everything from Twitter logos to Febreeze bottles, these unique crests are perfect for the tribes of today.

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Chinese company to launch $50 headphones that don’t play music

Chinese company to launch $50 headphones that don’t play music

Back in the early heyday of the iPod, its distinctive white in-ear headphones were blamed for a sharp rise in street robbery in London because they identified the wearer as having a fancy music player valuable enough to be worth stealing. If the newest product released by Shanghai-based company King Jim takes off, though, the next zombie-like commuter you see wearing headphones might not be able to listen to any music at all thanks to Digital Earplugs (Dijitaru Mimisen in Japanese). The new device looks just like regular white headphones, but they’re not for playing your favourite tunes. Quite the opposite, in fact.

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Rumour: Sony and major Chinese investor in talks re: bringing PlayStation 4 to China

Rumour: Sony and major Chinese investor in talks re: bringing PlayStation 4 to China

It was perhaps inevitable that games industry giants should start taking an interest in China the moment the country’s laws changed, permitting the production and sale of video games consoles for the first time in almost a decade and a half, but tech sites and analysts in China are now suggesting that talks held late last year between the Shanghai Oriental Pearl Group and Japan’s Sony Corporation very likely herald the official arrival of PlayStation 4 in China.

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All I want for Christmas… is this awesome backlit Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles NES

All I want for Christmas… is this awesome backlit Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles NES

Dear Santa,

I know it’s December 24, but is it too late to change my Christmas wish-list?

Let’s forget about the Power Rangers pyjamas I originally asked for, and we can put the Super Sonico hug pillow on hold this year. *This* is what I really want, and there’s only one of them in the whole world: a backlit Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles NES and four amazing controllers.

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New iPhone case looks like sea monster swallowed your phone

New iPhone case looks like sea monster swallowed your phone

It may look like some CG monster out of Cloverfield, but the monstrosity above is actually a giant isopod, a type of crustacean that lives deep in the sea. Yes, that Pekinese-sized pill bug actually exists. And now, you can have an iPhone case that looks just like it!

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No more mangled tofu 【Video】

No more mangled tofu 【Video】

Apparently the destruction of soft silky tofu is so much of a problem that one company has developed a machine to replace the delicate task of handling tofu. No more will we have to worry about shaky cumbersome hands to package the jiggly white stuff. Yes, we can all rest easily knowing our tofu is safely in the hands of robots. Or maybe that is something we should fear.

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Curved screens and bendable batteries: Say hello to the gadgets of the not-so-distant future!

Curved screens and bendable batteries: Say hello to the gadgets of the not-so-distant future!

No matter how shiny and slim your new smartphone is, no matter how high-definition a display it has, it’s still very much a slab of plastic and metal with a screen sitting in the middle. But what if your phone’s screen could wrap around the sides? Imagine if the edges of your tablet computer could also be used as a touch screen, removing the need for physical buttons entirely. Or how about a wrist watch whose strap could also function as a display?

Imagine no more: Japan’s SEL is already producing that very technology, and it’s positively droolworthy.

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Japan now has Evangelion-themed electric car chargers, and they are awesome

Japan now has Evangelion-themed electric car chargers, and they are awesome

As waste gasses from fossil fuels continue to choke our planet and money-grubbing businessmen propose plans to frack (and that’s not some coy euphemism) the very ground we walk on to get at even more of the stuff, more and more people are doing their bit to be kind to the environment. Solar panels can be seen up on the roofs of residential buildings, people separate their waste so that as much of it can be recycled as possible, and more consumers than ever are choosing electric or hybrid vehicles.

And now, Japanese motorists have another reason to go green: Evangelion-themed electric car charging stations!

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Using our brand new Xbox One console… to play New Super Mario Bros. Wii U

Using our brand new Xbox One console… to play New Super Mario Bros. Wii U

That’s right video game fans, as of this week, we now finally have a full crop of next (or should that be “current?”) generation games consoles to play with, bringing with them a whole new era of video game magic! Nintendo’s Wii U has been with us for a while now, PlayStation 4 showed its sleek little face over 10 days ago, and we now finally have an Xbox One to tinker with!

The media centre approach Microsoft has taken with its newest home console may not appeal to all gamers, but even if you’d rather play focus on games than flick between live shows and Dead Rising, there’s no denying that Xbox One has one big advantage over its competitors – its ability to receive, rather than simply output, a signal from another device. Microsoft ideally wants us to use this feature to hook up our cable boxes and make the console our living room hub, but being the gaming nerds that we are and already owning every other console, we decided to do something a little different: play PlayStation 4 and Wii U games on our Xbox One. And it works like a charm.

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PlayStation 4 impressions: An Xbox fan and a Sony lover go head to head

PlayStation 4 impressions: An Xbox fan and a Sony lover go head to head

Sony’s PlayStation 4 has been out in North America for over a week now, and is finally heading to Europe this coming Friday. Thanks to the efforts of our game-loving staff in the US, we managed to pick up a few units, and have been tinkering with them for about a week now, so felt it was time to share our thoughts on the new hardware.

Rather than getting all techy and giving you lists of stats or focusing on frames per second, however, we decided to take a slightly more human approach, and talk about how Sony’s newest console rates in the eyes of both a self-confessed Sony fan and a long-term Xbox lover.

Let the mud-slinging begin!

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Early photos suggest that European PlayStation 4 consoles are made in Japan, not China

Early photos suggest that European PlayStation 4 consoles are made in Japan, not China

Sony has boasted over a million PlayStation 4 consoles sold during the new machine’s first day of sale alone, and that figure is climbing ever higher by the day, but it’s important to remember that these are just the numbers for North America, and European gamers still have a little while (make that a long while if you’re Japanese, but let’s not rub salt in the wound) to wait until they get to throw cash in Sony’s direction and make the PS4 their own.

It turns out, though, that unlike the millions of units shipped to the US in recent weeks, which were mostly made in China, there’s a good chance that the consoles European gamers will be snapping up come November 29 were in fact made in Sony’s homeland, Japan.

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Japan belongs to Apple: iPhone claims top 10 spots in total smartphone sales in November

Japan belongs to Apple: iPhone claims top 10 spots in total smartphone sales in November

In news that Android fanboys will likely want to spit at, Japan’s top 10 smartphone sales chart currently reads 100-percent iPhone, it has been revealed.

Now carried by all three of the country’s biggest mobile providers, Apple’s iPhone has become immensely popular in Japan in recent years and is seemingly the must-have mobile this November.

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Sci-fi tech you wish was real… and actually is!

Sci-fi tech you wish was real… and actually is!

Man, wouldn’t life be a whole lot easier if, say, when you dropped your phone, it landed predictably on its strongest edge, preventing breakage? Or how about a system that automatically mutes your annoying boss, not by making you deaf to him, but by making it physically impossible for him to talk? Oh! Or, what if there were money printers that printed as much money as we wanted?

It turns out all of those things actually exist, albeit one of them isn’t available for personal use because it would cause the world’s currencies to become wildly inflated and ultimately lead to the downfall of civilization as we know it.

There are, in fact, a lot of awesome hi-tech inventions you probably wish for on a regular basis without even knowing that they actually already exist. Here are just a few we’ve picked out:

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【Updated!】Sony’s Japan-only portable gizmo “PocketStation” returns as a PlayStation Vita application

【Updated!】Sony’s Japan-only portable gizmo “PocketStation” returns as a PlayStation Vita application

After releasing a teaser video last week promising an announcement on November 5, Sony Computer Entertainment Japan has revealed that its “PocketStation” brand is officially making a return, though it’s not quite as exciting as we had all hoped.

The original PocketStation was a tiny device released in Japan back in 1999 and very like Sega’s own Dreamcast VMU tech. Essentially a memory card “micro-console” with a simple LCD screen, when used with the original 32-bit PlayStation the device could be used to save data from games and play themed mini games on the go. PocketStation even came with infrared capabilities, meaning that saves could be passed between gamers anywhere and everywhere, which, back in the days before cloud storage, was considered pretty magical.

This new “device”, however, will be entirely for PlayStation Vita and arrive via a download from the PlayStation Store, it has been revealed.

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