Electree, Solar Bonsai aka The Electric Ninja for Power Cables…

Electricity is the lifeblood of our gadget laden world. With each new generation of gadget comes more demanding power requirements. With every new gadget we bring into our homes comes the need to charge it, keep it fed. Mobile phones are just the tip of the ice-berg, tablets, MP3 players, cameras, remote controls, keyboards and game controllers all now need a place to charge. While Wi-Fi has loosened the shackles of the network cable, batteries still need to be plugged into power some-how, usually requiring a power point. Centralizing all of your charging needs into one spot, housing it in a stylish and Über cool design the Electree frees our gadgets from the power board nightmare evolving at every power point in every household. Powered by amorphous silicon solar panels that store their charge in the Electree’s on-board battery the Electree is always ready to bring those gadgets back to life. This is one of those rare gadgets that actually frees up power sockets in the grand power board of life.

The Electree is also one of those special gadgets that combines elegant design with brilliant functionality. Designer Vivian Muller has taken inspiration from nature, specifically drawing inspiration from the bonsai tree’s of Japan which are compact but still very efficient light collectors. Here at Highpants we think it could also be described as a power shrub, it may be the shrubbery that Monty Python were searching for all of this time. The Bonsai theme is continued with the Electree’s Japanese styled base, all it’s missing is some pebbles in the bases tray.

Continue reading Electree, Solar Bonsai aka The Electric Ninja for Power Cables…

HP’s ZR Series IPS Professional Display, The Affordable IPS Battle Heats up with new HP Sauce…

LCD Monitors are the work-horse of every computer setup, weather laptop or desktop your monitor has to represent the entire computer world, before your very eyes. The quality of that picture and the clarity of your window into the computer world comes down to the technology in the panel. IPS Panels are the professionals of the LCD world, for video editing these monitors are essential, photographers and graphic designers swear by them. HP’s newly released ZR-series Performance Displays use the latest IPS technology to provide a powerful salvo in the Über Monitor battle. There are four new members of the ZR series, with prices ranging from $729 USD to the unbelievably low $189 USD for the little brother of the family, the ZR2040w 20″ LCD.

The secret to professional looking images as it turns out isn’t just down to the camera you use. Editing and preparing your digital media requires the right tools for the job. Professionals have had a secret sitting on their desks for years now, with the rise of the digital photographer and home editing studio their secret is out. IPS high-color panels allow you to work with your digital content in its natural form. Most standard TFT LCD monitors say on the side of the box 16.7 million colors but the truth is they only do 80% of that, meaning that some colors in your photo’s or video won’t be properly represented. With high end camera’s like Nikon’s 7100 bringing high resolution and color digital photographs to the masses it may be time to consider an IPS panel.

Continue reading HP’s ZR Series IPS Professional Display, The Affordable IPS Battle Heats up with new HP Sauce…

AOC USB LCD, One Cable To Rule Them All…

LCD Displays, our ubiquitous windows on the electronic world just became a whole lot more utilitarian. AOC’s latest piece of innovation is a shinny black LCD monitor with only one cable, USB. There’s no HDMI, DVI, D-Sub or power cabled required, the monitor is completely driven by USB, both picture and power. This may be the perfect companion for a netbook, a portable second monitor for the ultimate hotel room mobile setup. AOC’s new mini LCD is the e1649fwu, not a very catchy title for a very handy little display.

“The USB Monitor is ideal for business presentations, photo frame applications, multiple monitor displays and as a companion monitor for laptop and netbook users who want more out of their computer.”, Robert Velez, Marketing Manager of AOC.

Continue reading AOC USB LCD, One Cable To Rule Them All…

The Sony Dash Übergadget! Information Device, Picture Frame, Alarm Clock, Dot Dot Dot Dash…

Computers are shrinking themselves into new places around our homes and offices. Driving this revolution is a new class of application friendly device, The Information Device. Sony’s new HID-B70H Dash is one such device, this is a 7″ Touch-screen Über Information Device. Flexibility is the Dash’s middle name, this flexibility gives it many personalities; Über Alarm Clock, electronic side kick in the kitchen, picture frame, media terminal or real-time data display. You make the choice by selecting and installing applications from a library of over a thousand free applications, turning the Dash into your own personal information – dash – hound.

Once it’s off and running there’s no restarts, no refreshing, no crash’s, no hassle operation. Sony has kept the design of the two new Dash models understated – the HID-B7 $129.95 USD and HID-B70H $169.95 USD -, they are handsome but not over the top, able to fit into any situation. Both models will be available in October and can be pre-order now. Both are almost identical, with the only difference being the built in lithium-Ion battery in the more expensive B70H. Even though the new battery does give portable pretenses the Dash and other similar devices work best in stationary roles, stationary tablets if you will. If data on the go is your thing a standard tablet can’t be beaten. Being a stationary tablet isn’t a bad thing though, as a bed side computer the Dash allows you to set it up exactly as you need for that situation and just leave it. Do you really want to have to plug your tablet into your bedroom speakers, power etc., every time you go to bed.

Continue reading The Sony Dash Übergadget! Information Device, Picture Frame, Alarm Clock, Dot Dot Dot Dash…

The Sony PJ Series Handycam, The Projector with a Handycam Attached…

Sony is back to innovating once again, returning to their core business, and the reason we loved them, leading edge gadgets. A prime example has to be the recently released PJ family of Handycams with integrated Projector. Shown earlier this year at CES the camera caused quite a stir – won a CNET award -, now it’s available world-wide and still every bit as impressive. This is the best implementation of an integrated projector on any gadget to date. Able to project a 60″ image with a bright and vivid picture this is a viable alternative to using a TV to watch your video creations, this is no matchbox projection. Also providing full Hi-Def video recording and enough clever functions to keep Inspector Gadget busy, Sony has produced a well rounded, quality video camera with a sparkling surprise, cinema on the go.

At the press of a small discreet button labelled Projector the PJ Handycam lights up. While this isn’t the first portable device with an integrated projector it is the first practical and useful projector ever built into any portable device. Being built into the front of the Handycams LCD flap means the position of the projector can be adjusted independent of the camera’s body. The distance of the Handycam from the screens surface dictates the size of the projected display, at 6 feet you will have a 60″ picture that’s sharp and bright, go further back and the picture will start to wash out. This is standard projector behaviour, if you are in confined spaces the Handycam can be moved closer to the screens surface, making a smaller more compact picture. The projector can also project picture slideshow with backing music.

Continue reading The Sony PJ Series Handycam, The Projector with a Handycam Attached…

HP Pavilion dv7t Quad Edition Laptop…

HP the largest laptop maker in the world – for the moment – has reset the value equation for laptops yet again. HP has endowed the humble value laptop with a split personality, The Hooker and the Housewife. Once the standard full sized laptop wasn’t a great performance proposition, eventually we all ended up trading power for value. Compromise no longer, the everyday, everyman PC has a new meaner streak. HP’s introduction of the latest Quad Core CPU technology into the value 15.6″ dv6t Quad Edition and 17″ dv7t Quad Edition laptops changes the equation. HP has returned to what it does best, reliability and value, they threw in the good looks and performance for free. Not as sexy as the high end gaming rigs these are the laptops we spend time with, our window on the virtual world for the next few years. HP new laptops are just at home during late nights on gaming’s mean streets as it is doing the little day to day tasks.

The HP’s Quad Edition – QE – laptops are a classy almost classic looking design with slim straight lines giving it a modern accessory feel, especially the Umber – brown – brushed metal finish. Along with the classy looks is the split personality a clever combination of new CPU technology, a low power second GPU and software. When in undemanding situations the CPU is able to shut down idle parts, a second low power GPU is used instead of the faster but power hungry discreet GPU – AMD 6490 or 6770 -.Making this a good road warrior and comfortable every day laptop. The 8Gb of Ram should keep even the heaviest multi-taskers happy. In situation that require some processing power, gaming or video processing HP’s software turns up the juice. All of this adds up to 5 hour battery life with the standard battery and 9.5 hours with the 9 cell extended battery without having to compromise.

Continue reading HP Pavilion dv7t Quad Edition Laptop…

The Native Union Play: Video Messaging Comment Bubble…

Video is invading all corners of our world, YouTube has brought the short clip to the masses. Now Native Union has made video personal again, demonstrating their Play personal video messaging system. The comment bubble shaped device houses a 2.4″ LCD and a video camera. At the press of a button it can record a message to be played back by the next person to pass the fridge at home or at the office.

Messages are recorded with the built-in video camera, microphone and with enough memory for up to 3 minutes of video the Play is simplicity itself. Keep recording messages until the Play is full, clear it out and start again. Make a whole series of annoying one word messages that need to be played one after the other to hear the full message. Even the shape of the Play is simplicity, a comment bubble to contain your messages. Native Union has even included a flashing LED to indicate a new message. The magnetized back makes a Fridge the natural home for the Play but many other places will learn to make the Play at home, in the office a quick note on how to turn on the video projector sits on the wall or record the ten most common answers in your job and leave Play to cover for you. Now if they can build in a label maker they may well take over the world

Continue reading The Native Union Play: Video Messaging Comment Bubble…

Super HiVision: Sharp’s 8k4k SUPER HD TELEVISION…

Tucked away in the corner of Sharps IFA stand this year was a little glimpse at the future and it’s 8k all the way. The 85″ Super Hi-Vision TV slung unceremoniously on a far corner of the Sharp stand was this surprise. Developed in co-operation between Sharp and Japans NHK, broadcast and technology company this TV is at least two generations ahead of it’s time. NHK are the creators and experts when it comes to the Super HI Vision standards – 8k Super Hi-Vision 7568 x 4096 – and were able to provide the recording and playback hardware. With unprecedented levels of picture detail the Super Hi-Vision picture has a natural 3D depth and feel, ultra realistic textures, zero noise or distortion and colours that jump out at the audience. Welcome to the world of tomorrow.

While a current generation full HD TV will have a seemingly spacious resolution of 1920 x 1280 – 2 megapixel – Sharps 85inch giga pixel monsters resolution of 7568 x 4096 equates to 32 mega-pixels. Even todays high end digital SLR camera’s can’t compete with this, most using the 4k standard – up to 4096 x 3302 – as their maximum resolution. Even Imax sulks away in shame when it sees Sharps monster TV. Imax film is equivalent to a digital pixel resolution of 6,120 × 4,500, Imax digital uses two overlayed 2k projectors, a pseudo 4k resolution, which is actually just a brighter 2k picture. The Sharp and its 8k resolution wins hands down.

Continue reading Super HiVision: Sharp’s 8k4k SUPER HD TELEVISION…

Sony’s VPL-VW1000ES Projector: The 4k Revolution Begins Here…

Home-Theatre seem to be constantly evolving, there seems to be a revolution every other year and this year is no different. This years revolution is the 4K resolution revolution. At this weeks IFA show Sony has been demonstrating the brand new VW1000ES rear projector. Capable of displaying pictures using 4096 x 2048 pixel resolution this is the first consumer projector capable of the Hi-Vision standard. At an estimated $25,000 USD this won’t be the number one selling projector in the world but it will be a milestone in the evolution of the moving picture.

“Sony continues to push the boundaries of high resolution video from the lens to the living room,” said Mike Abary, senior vice president of Sony Electronics’ Home Division. “In similar fashion to our industry leading 4K Digital Cinema projectors, our new VPL-VW1000ES 4K home theatre projector has been created to not just meet but exceed the needs of the most discerning and demanding home entertainment enthusiasts. It will allow them to become totally involved in the viewing experience and much closer to the action on the biggest home theatre screens, with images that deliver considerably more detail and fewer artefacts.”

Continue reading Sony’s VPL-VW1000ES Projector: The 4k Revolution Begins Here…

New York Times: Mirror Mirror on the Wall…

Tucked away in the basement of the New Your Times is a little known Research & Development Lab. The lab has recently demonstrated the modern interpretation of a Magic Mirror. Tell it your command and it shall be so. Like the wicked witches of the West – western united states – we can all now have a new side-kick. Using an assortment on non-contact inputs, gesture, voice, RFID the mirror integrates you entire online life into the reflection.

The Mirrors on screen interface consists of various icons and pop up windows that are operated through a mixture of motion capture, RFID and speech recognition. All sensible choices, shaving and touch screens could get messy. The interface makes most standard computer functions available at the swipe of a hand, surf the web, watch movies, listen to music all easily accessible. The internals of the mirror are all off the shelf components, Xbox Kinect motion capture, RFID reader, microphone for voice recognition but the software that brings it all together is custom, very custom. Bringing all of the parts of the Mirror together. The mirror’s designers saw more potential in there than just a computer behind a mirror screen, the Mirror is designed to integrate into the bathroom. The RFID tags let the mirror recognize an object, then give you more information, instructions on use or daily recommended doses, augmented mirror reality for everyday use.

Continue reading New York Times: Mirror Mirror on the Wall…