Latest Gadgets, Gizmos And Geek Toys – December 2012

12/19/2012 9:31:15 AM

1.    Gadget storage – Grippy Pad

Price: $10.5



Gadget storage – Grippy Pad

The Grippy Padis an incredibly simple idea; it’s a tacky (in a good way) silicon pad to which you can stick just about any item, according to the manufacturer. We’ll admit we had our doubts, but it works brilliantly. It stuck fast to nearly every surface we could find, and even firmly held a heavy iPad 2 in place. The one caveat is that the item you’re sticking to the pad needs to have a flat back – most phones and tablets work, but our HTC Desire HD didn’t, due to its curved shape. The most difficult part, however, is learning to trust the Grippy Pad. It’s unsettling to see your $450 tablet suspended 5ft in the air by nothing more than a$10.5 gadget, but it never failed us once.

2.    15in Laptop Bag – Booq Mamba Courier

Price: $120



15in Laptop Bag – Booq Mamba Courier

Yes, we know - $120 is a lot of cash for a laptop bag. In Booq’s defence, the Mamba is beautifully made. The exterior is fashioned from a waterproof, dyed natural-fibre mix that Booq developed especially. It’s slightly rough to touch, but feels reassuringly thick and hard-wearing. The interior also feels satisfyingly rugged, with thick padding that keeps your precious laptop safe, and helps the bag to keep its shape. Usefully, Booq also brands each bag with a unique Terraling serial code, which can be registered online to help reunite you with your bag if you lose it. It may be an extravagance, but we want one.

3.    Mobile speaker – Edifier sound to go plus

Price: $90



Mobile speaker – Edifier sound to go plus

Mobile speakers generally suffer from a lack of bass, and the Sound To Go Plus is no different, despite sporting a built in 30mm x 90mm “bass radiator” and a class D amplifier. For a device that’s around the size of a relay race baton, however, it makes a decent fist of hitting the low notes, and it’s only when you raise the volume that the absence is really telling.

The unit looks gorgeous. The one-piece brushed aluminium shell is both a blessing and a curse, though. It must make up a large chunk of the $90 asking price, which is frankly too much money for the sound on offer, unless you simply must have a speaker that matches your brushed-aluminium laptop.

4.    On-ear headphones – Arctic P402

Price: $34



On-ear headphones – Arctic P402

The P402 is a lightweight set of headphones the headband is simply a pair of plastic bars, and the on ear earcups are so light that they almost feel hollow. This isn’t necessarily bad though. The P402 is very comfortable to wear, thanks to its lack of mass, and it stays in place for exactly the same reason. It also kicks out a surprising amount if noise for such an insubstantial feeling set, with bass and treble relatively well balanced up to about 60 percent volume. Approach full volume, though and the bass takes over, meaning that everything else loses definition. We’ll file these under cheap and cheerful.

5.    7in tablet – Amazon kindle fire HD 16GB

Price: $240



Amazon’ s Kindle Fire launched in the USA a year ago, but it’s only just made it to the UK. Fortunately, its successor, the Kindle Fire HD, has arrived in a more timely fashion, and at a relatively wallet-friendly price of $249 too.

Based on a heavily modified Android 4 build, the Fire HD is primarily content consumption device, and lacks some usual Android features, such as the Google Play store. This has been replaced by Amazon’s own App store, which is an annoyance if you’ve already sunk a bunch of cash into Google’s ecosystem.

The aforementioned content is presented front and centre, with the home screen dominated by carousel menus showing your books, music and Love Film movies. Amazon isn’t bashful about encouraging you to buy more content either; play any music you’ve dragged onto the device and it will ask if you’d like to buy more by the same artist; the lock screen shows advert from Amazon partners too.

Hardware-wise, the Fire HD packs a dual-core 1.2GHz processor and a PowerVR graphics chip, which just about keeps the pin-sharp and amazingly bright 1,280 x 800 IPS screen ticking along a decent frame rate. Lag is noticeable when scrolling through websites and on-board content, however. Also notable is the lack of hardware GPS features, which are present on the Google Nexus 7.

If you regularly purchase music and eBooks from Amazon, and have a Love Film account, the Fire HD is a smart travelling companion, and you certainly can’t complain about the price. However, we favor the Google Nexus 7, as it has a more open platform (you can always download the Kindle app from the Google Play store), and its superior hardware makes for a smother experience.

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