Category Archives: Gear

BenQ at 2016 CES



Todd CochraneBenQ Zowie interviews Ronald Kim from BenQ. They discuss BenQ’s new line of Zowie line of competitive gaming accessories. BenQ brings in professional gamers to help them validate their gaming accessory designs.

Ron shows three models (they offer a total of seven models) of gaming mice that are specifically designed to give the end user the best possible gaming performance. They include the ZA Series, the EC-A Series, and the FK Series mice. Top-level professional gamers still prefer wired mice over wireless mice for the best possible lag-free performance. BenQ Zowie mice offer the ultimate in adjustable precision.

The mice are all priced at $59.99 each and are available now. The BenQ Zowie mouse pads are priced from $25 to $45 dollars on Amazon.

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Booq Cobra Laptop Briefcase Review



booq LogoOn review here is the Booq Cobra Laptop Briefcase, a lightweight and high-spec laptop bag. Unlike some of the other Booq bags that I’ve reviewed here for GNC, it’s in the more traditional style for those circumstances where a rucksack looks a little bit too casual. Designed for laptops with screens up to 16″, it’s made with ballistic nylon complimented by lower leather trim, meaning it looks good but is durable too. As you’ll see from the pictures, the YKK zips are mostly on show in bright steel, though the main laptop compartment has a covered waterproof zip.

Booq Cobra Side

Booq Cobra with Laptop

Opening it up, the Cobra has plenty of room inside, with five main compartments for gear. Starting from one side…

  1. Booq Cobra InnerZipped pocket with Booq’s corporate copper-coloured inner, suitable for an A5 size notepad or tablet.
  2. Open pocket with soft jersey inner. Additional easy access pockets within suitable for purse, wallet, mobile phone, MP3 player or tablet. Useful when on the go but gear may fall out.
  3. Big zipped pocket with copper inner. Further internal pockets for A4 notepad and bigger devices, perhaps external hard drive, PSU or even lunchboxes. Couple of pen pockets and a keyring too. Handily, the zip on this goes at least three quarters of the way down the side of the Cobra, so it opens wide. Not sure you’d quite get a change of clothes in here but it’s close.
  4. Big hidden waterproof zipped pocket, with soft padded lining. The is obviously intended for the main device and it comfortably took a big Toshiba Satellite Pro.
  5. Simple open pocket with copper inner, big enough for a magazine or A4 notepad.

There’s padding and protection between the compartments, so gear is going to be looked after wherever it is.

Booq’s copper-coloured inner may not be to everyone’s taste, but it’s much easier to find stuff in the depths of the pockets. To some extent the pictures don’t do the colour justice – it’s better in real life, as they say.

Booq Cobra CarryFor carriage, the Cobra’s well covered. To start with, there’s the two handles which are comfortable without being overly broad, and attach to the bag with seatbelt-style webbing. The handles fold back into the bag when not needed, keeping the bag neat. Then there’s an over-the-shoulder strap, made from similar webbing with a large shoulder pad and metal clasps at each end. And finally there’s a webbing loop that can be passed over the handle of a trolley suitcase to sit the Cobra on top.

Even better, the Cobra has a flat bottom, so the bag stays upright when put down (mostly!).

As with all Booq bags, the Cobra is tagged with a Terralinq serial number, which is Booq’s “lost and found” service, giving a much greater chance of being reunited with lost gear. Let’s hope you never need to use it.

At US$295, GB£210 or 295€, the Booq Cobra isn’t an impulse purchase so I imagine the briefcase will be protecting some high-end gear. The Cobra seems a quality product – well finished, no lose threads, metal fixtures – and it’s perfect for cossetting a MacBook Pro or gaming laptop while travelling. Available on-line (US, UK, Europe) and other good retailers.

Thanks to Booq for the review Cobra.


The Next Must-Have Gadget: Your Own Personal Flamethrower



XM42 logoIf you spend even a small amount of time on the Internet, you’ll see some things that are just downright confounding. That’s why it’s good to view most things online with a healthy dose of skepticism. When I first saw an article about the XM42 flamethrower I thought it must be a joke. The XM42 is being touted as the “world’s first commercially available flamethrower.” An idea that is sure to evoke either pure delight or sheer terror, depending on your perspective.

The XM42 was dreamed up by a small company called The Ion Production Team. This quaint group of pyro-loving geeks describe their brainchild as, “…the world’s first fully handheld, grab and go flamethrower on the market. No heavy pressurized tanks, no silly car-wash sprayers.” The Ion team then go on to say that the XM42 has, “…endless possibilities for entertainment and utility. Start your bonfire from across the yard, or kill the weeds between your cracks in style.” Of course! What could go wrong?

If you’re wondering about the legalities of flamethrower ownership, no worries. The FAQ on the XM42 website states:

There are generally no restrictions on flamethrower ownership in the United States. However, we are currently aware that California and Maryland have legislation regarding flamethrowers… In California, unlicensed possession of ‘any non-stationary and transportable device designed or intended to emit or propel a burning stream of combustible or flammable liquid a distance of at least 10 feet’ H&W 12750 (a)—is a misdemeanor punishable with a county jail term not exceeding one year or with a fine not exceeding $10,000 (CA H&W 12761). Licenses to use flamethrowers are issued by the State Fire Marshal.’

Continue reading The Next Must-Have Gadget: Your Own Personal Flamethrower


OnePlus Partners with JBL for E1+ Earphones



OnePlus LogoOnePlus today announced a partnership with audio specialists JBL for exclusive earphones to complement the audio capabilities of the OnePlus One smartphone. The new JBL E1+ earbuds are bright red with flat tangle-resistant cable and comes with an in-line three button remote. The built-in microphone means that there’s no need to unplug when a call comes in, and it’s a standard 3.5mm jack on the end.

JBL E1+ Earphones

 

These earbuds look great and I love the knurled endcaps. I’m usually pretty understated with black Sennheisers but I could like these red E1+ earphones and I hope the audio is up-to-scratch too. It’s great to see all these moves in the audio space and it’s not just the iPhone that has all the fun, too.

Available in October for US $39.99 or GB £29.99 from the OnePlus Store. Video below ticks all the expected boxes.


Wearables Come To SXSW



SXSWAt times it feels like SXSW has become a mini-CES, with all the hot innovations popping up. Wearables combined with health and well-being are definitely where it’s at and this year Philips are hosting a Dragon’s Den-style Digital Innovation Challenge, with three companies pitching their tech for a week’s advice and guidance at Philip’s High Tech Campus in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

First up are Atlas Wearables, pitching their fitness tracker for the serious workout enthusiast. The Atlas “measures your heart rate, calculates the calories you burned and tracks your body on the x-, y- and z-axes, so it knows how many laps you swam and if you did push-ups or triangle push-ups. It’s preloaded with the most popular exercises and can learn new exercises you teach it so you can instantly see your progress, analyze your form, anticipate plateaus and find what makes you stronger, faster.” Definitely for the hardcore fitness fanatic.

Incomparable Things is very much softer – they’re building an app to bring together the myriad of data sources – “In our app, people scrapbook the stories of their adventures. We collect all the media people already create when they’re being active – from photos to location data, NikeFuel to tweets – and weave them together to tell visual, personal and complete stories that others can collect and aspire to. They are more memorable than a photo album and more inspiring than an activity data score. It is used by everyone from daily walkers to training triathletes, neighborhood arborists to polar expeditionists.” Sounds a bit like Field Trip meets Pose! I love the idea of these apps but I simply don’t have the time to curate the photos and tweets.

Finally, Push is back to circuits and training with another fitness tracker that seems very similar to the Atlas one. “Rugged and durable, PUSH straps comfortably to your arm. It communicates with your phone, transmitting movement feedback that’s too fast for the human eye to capture. The data is displayed on the PUSH App, providing you with crucial, scientifically-validated metrics about each and every rep, helping you optimize your training.” It’s kind of symptomatic of the space that there’s going to very similar devices competing for attention. Push’s USP is that it can measure strength, not simply calories burned.

If you want to see these three companies pitch, you need to get yourself round to the Next Stage in the Convention Centre at 12.30 CDT today.


Smart Diabekit by Reunion



DiabekitDid you know that diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in US. and cost $174 Billion US dollars in health care cost. There are 25 million diabetics and 79 million pre diabetics in the US. People with diabetes have to estimate the amount of sugar they eat and monitor the level of glucose in their blood. This can mean carrying around a large kit and sticking yourself with a needle to draw blood. It is messy and painful. Many people will just try to estimate their sugar intake which can lead to life threatening situations. Runware the maker of the Runalyzer a heart rate monitor is coming out with an all in one solutions for the diabetics called the Smart Diabekit System. It has a smart glucometer for measuring blood sugar and  sensors that communicates with the included scale and an activity tracker. Now the diabetic can easily keep track  the food they are eating, how active they are and of their glucose level.

The Smart DiabelKit System will be available in September 2014 at the Runware website, price is not available at this time. If you are attending CES 2014 Runware a company based out of the The Reunion Island will be in the Venetian Ballroom Hall D, level 2 Booth 7269.


eflow will be showing off Electric Bikes at CES 2014



Eflow

Electric bikes (eBikes) have been a growing trend in both Europe and Asia over the past couple of years. They are just beginning to find a market in the US. From July 2012 to July 2013 the number of units sold in the US more than doubled from 70,000 to 159,000 units. One of the main manufactures of electric bikes is eflow a Currie tech company. Eflow currently has three bikes models in their lineup; the original the 2×10 speed E3 Nitro with RST front suspension. The E3 Flight with 1×10 drivetrain for $3500 and finally the E3 Fit a 350 watt compact folding bike at $3500 MSRP. Eflow ebikes have the following items:


           * Lithium battery pack integrated into the seat tube 
           * internal cable routing
           * a quick release wheel
           * regenerative braking
           * water tight motor connector
           * 500-watt hub motor
           * four levels of pedal assist
           * throttle overdrive

The E3 Nitro won the Gold Award from the IFthe German design group at the 2012 Taipei Cycle Show. It is a great bike for city life. The controls are on an easy to read LCD console with multi-assist options. It has an adjustable front suspension aluminum frame. The E3 Nitro also has fat tires and heavy-duty wheels making it perfect for urban riding. Eflow will be at Show Stoppers @CES on Jan 7 between 6–10pm at booth A–30 to show off what is trending in eBikes.