What do you know, December’s here! For most of us, that’s a sign that the past year has been a good one because the daily grind is winding down, and everyone’s looking forward to a bit of a year- end break. And with bonuses and other perks already on the way, maybe it’s time to plan a little? Yes, this year has seen plenty on cutting-edge technology filtering into premium consumer products. So, to make things a little easier for you, the eager shopper, the following are a selection of products packed to the brim with the latest technology encompassing personal devices, home technological innovations and for those who love the thrill of speed.
Lightning Motorcycle of San Jose in California, U.S.A. rolled out its newest electric motorcycle just in March this year. Dubbed the Lightning Strike, the sports bike employs a number of innovations from the company’s previous model, the LS-218. Yes, if you know your EVs, then you’re probably aware that the ‘218 holds the world record for fastest electric motorcycle at a mind-numbing 351 km/h. The Strike is available in three different options: Strike Standard, Strike Mid Range and Strike Carbon Edition. The Strike Standard features a 10 kWh battery that offers 113-161 km (70-100 mi) of range (highway/city). The Strike Mid Range, meanwhile, offers up to 169-241 km of range, while the larger battery on the Carbon Edition promises between 241 and 322 km of riding joy. The Lightning Strike Carbon Edition is outfitted with every possible upgrade option, including Öhlins suspension, Brembo Monoblock brakes, AIM Strada racing dash with lap timer and GPS-based data logging, plus a carbon fibre body package. There’s no need for customers to configure their Strike Carbon Edition – it comes with all boxes checked!
Taiga Motors is a Montreal, Canada-based start-up that’s been operating since 2015 working on electric power trains and developing a lineup of electric snowmobiles. Now, they have leveraged their development of electric snowmobiles to build an electric watercraft: The Taiga Orca! Taiga’s electric drive platform translates seamlessly to a jet propulsion system for the new watercraft that sends it flying silently across the water with precise control. Orca features a full carbon fibre hull construction, clean body lines, and a floating seat made possible by the absence of a combustion engine. At less than 300 kg ready to drive and up to 180 hp available with instant torque, the craft offers leading power to weight ratio and agility for an unmatched ride experience. Equipped with a 23 kWh battery pack, Taiga says that the energy capacity will be good for about 2 hours on the water. The performance package equipped Orca can generate over 180 hp for incredible acceleration and a top speed up to 104km/h. With a sub 5-milisecond response time, the drive delivers incredible control on the water!
Aston Martin’s first-ever EV, the Rapide E, just made its debut at the recent Shanghai Motor Show in April. Pin your foot to the floor of a fully charged example, and Aston Martin says you’ll hit 100 km/h in less than four seconds! For the record, that’s nearly a full second quicker than the Rapide S with the old-school, gasoline-powered V12, and even eclipses the crazy AMR performance edition. Top speed is limited to 250 km/h, so as far as accelerative performance goes, Aston’s first electric production vehicle doesn’t disappoint. As for range, that varies on how often you exercise that substantial forward thrust but Aston Martin estimates a range of over 320 km under WLTP (Worldwide Harmonised LightDuty Vehicles Test Procedure) standards. It’s capable of fast charging using a 400V 50kW charger, or the car’s high-voltage battery system allows for even faster 800V 100kW charging, which can add almost 500 km of range in just an hour. A more modest on-board AC charger can completely refill the battery pack in three hours.
This is a compact travel zoom camera with a 24-360mm equivalent lens and a 20MP, 1” sensor that’s actually larger than what you’d find on a typical long-zoom camera! In addition to capturing 20MP stills, it can also record decent quality UHD 4K video. Stylish, pocketable and with a versatile Leica zoom lens (up to 15X zoom), this great little camera is equally suited to nature photography as it is to weekend city breaks, giving excellent clarity and colour. Wi-fi connectivity gives instant access to social media so you can upload your shots wherever you are. In addition to capturing 20MP stills, it can also record decent quality UHD 4K video so in general, it’s great to see what that the ZS200 has to offer in terms of specs and performance in a really tiny size! So yeah, leave that camera bag and heavy lenses at home, why don’t you? Indeed, Panasonic might have designed this to be the light packing travel bloggers’ best friend, but don’t let that put you off now!
Mention a fitness tracker to most folk, and they assume it will be a device you wear around your wrist. However, the Motiv takes that preconception and throws it out of the window. Fitness trackers can be pretty chunky, uncomfortable devices. But this ring is much more discreet, but still packs in the features: you can set your daily steps, sleep and activity targets and track how you’re getting on via the devices’ attendant app. Small but mighty, this packs an activity tracker, sleep tracker and heart rate monitor into something that fits snugly around your ring finger! With the likes of Fitbit and Misfit trying to dress up their fitness trackers as jewellery, the Motiv takes it to the next level of secret agent discretion. The Motiv Ring’s feature set might be quite basic compared to some rivals, but if you have your heart set on a more subtle wearable, then it does an impressive job of seamlessly integrating into your everyday life. It offers a three-day battery endurance and water-resistance – just note that the Motiv currently only works with an iOS app.
Vive Pro Eye
This has been touted as the greatest virtual reality headset to date by industry watchers. And such a claim may have been encouraged by the fact that the new device features Tobii eye-tracking, which gives the headset a great feature: users can navigate menus just by looking at things! Navigating menus, selecting items or even triggering animations by making eye contact with on-screen characters sounds pretty science-fiction indeed and this is enabled by another bit of magic in this device dubbed ‘foveated rendering’. Essentially, this is essentially a technique that allows the headset to render graphics the same way the human eye sees the real world. The Vive Pro Eye uses Tobii eye-tracking to determine where you are looking, and then it blurs the areas in your peripheral. In doing so, it’s able to shift resources away from portions of the screen you can’t see clearly anyway and focus its graphical powers on whatever area you’re looking at.
In drone airspace dominated by market leader DJI, the Anafi Parrot drone adds some very thoughtful and considerate design – it folds easily to a much more manageable size! Yup, it’s small, quiet, compact, takes great pictures, and since it uses the same USB-C charger as do most new laptops and phones, it’s sooo easy to travel with! If you haven’t tried flying a drone through a headset before, then prepare for a unique experience. Some might even say magical but you can definitely count on it being seriously a lot of fun! Parrot’s Cockpitglasses 3 (Parrot is still terrible at naming things, aren’t they) work a bit like Google’s Daydream headset, in that it uses your phone instead of a dedicated screen. The nice thing about relying on phones for this is when you get a better phone; you get a goggles upgrade as well so this will definitely be an investment that will keep on giving for quite a while! You can also choose from two flight presets: cinematic, which locks the roll axis to record video like you’re flying smoothly through the air; and racing, which does the same thing except in a more aggressive sport mode. You get (almost) half an hour of flight time on one charge, it’s great for low-angle shots and it captures HD video and photos crisply and sharply.
Any fan of horology will tell you that one can’t fault the exterior of this new smart watch one bit – DLC (or ‘diamond-like coated’) steel or titanium are options – but then, to the tech-literate, the interior is impressive too: the Summit 2 has a new Qualcomm Snapdragon 3100 chip. One benefit of being the first smart watch to have this is that it gives the wearer (a claimed) battery life of up to a week between charges on ‘time-only’ mode! But why would you want to use this watch just to tell the time when the Summit 2 hosts many useful applications that can be expected from any respectable modern smart watch? Timeshifter and Travel Info applications are two of the most notable in this application group. Based on the sleep habits and the flight calendars of the travelling users, the application offers recommendations to minimize the Jet Lag. Sounds like a perfect app for the frequent traveller! Travel Info on the other hand will wow tourist types particularly with the restaurant and hotel recommendations given by geographic location. Then, the specially designed Running Coach for the fitness enthusiasts and the voice command translator function are among the other interesting features of the new model.
The world traveller will certainly want this Android powered device that translates between 74 languages on the fly! Speak and the translation emerges, both written and spoken, within seconds. But it doesn’t work offline; it requires a data connection, because it quickly feeds your words through multiple online speech-to-text, translation and text-to-speech engines for the best results. You can use Wi-Fi hotspots on your travels but it’s more practical to share your phone’s data connection. Or you can pay extra for a Pocketalk that comes with a data SIM so you can roam with it anywhere. Set-up is very simple: you start it like any Android device and then you just need to ensure it has some sort of data connection, for example logging into Wi-Fi. It’s a touch screen but tiny, so don’t expect to do more than tap a few on-screen menus. That said, maybe typing in the Wi-Fi password will prove to be a challenge for some out there! There’s also a physical power button on the side and two buttons at the bottom, for the two languages you’re translating between.
CONVENIENCE AT HOME
What if there was a magical machine that woke you up every day to the scent of fresh-brewed coffee or tea? Well, now there’s the clever Smartech Barisieur alarm clock, coffee & tea-maker combo… This clever contraption is an automatic coffee or tea brewer that eases you into the day with the sound of bubbling water and the smell of freshly brewed coffee or loose leaf tea.
Yes, it wakes you up from slumber every morning in the best way possible, by stimulating all five senses: touch, taste, sight, sound, and smell. The mix of Scandinavian and classic design ensures the Barisieur looks great whatever room you keep it in! Yes, the Barisieur takes in the beans or leaves or your choice, and can even keep creamer cool overnight – just set it for your wake-up time the night before, then rest easy until you’re greeted with a fresh cup in the morning!
Don’t you just hate it when you can’t find the remote? Well, now there’s Brilliant – a unique wall switch that uses Wi-Fi to connect to and control various smart devices in your home. Brilliant unites all your favourite smart home devices together in one simple to use control, and helps them work better together. Brilliant also lets you combine your lighting, music, temperature, and other settings to quickly control your smart home with a tap, a voice command, or simply by walking into a room. It has a 5-inch colour touch screen with user-friendly button controls that let you play music, control lighting, set thermostat temperatures, and see who is at your door, among other things. It works with many popular smart home platforms including Ecobee, Nest, Philips Hue, Ring, and Sonos, and it has built-in Amazon Alexa voice support that allows it to do almost everything an Echo device can do. What can you say… sounds simply brilliant, doesn’t it?
Keecker Entertainment Robot
This R2D2 lookalike is an Android-based, app-controlled orb loaded with a 720p projector, 4.1 speaker package including subwoofer, multiple web cameras and proximity sensors, Chromecast, voice control and a stripped-back Android interface powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon quad-core processor and hefty 12Ah 300Wh lithium-ion battery offering six hours of continuous movie watching. Essentially it’s almost like the iconic Star Wars robot, but without the snippy attitude… Keecker is designed to meet its owner’s every home entertainment need so that we can all retire our 4K TVs and home entertainment systems and replace them with a single robot multimedia servant. This robotic companion can also follow you around your home projecting your favourite sitcom or blasting you favourite uplifting tunes with its builtin projector and speakers. And when you’re not around, you can use its mobile video surveillance feature to see which one of your shoes your dog chose to devour today.