Category Archives: Product Preview

All of the dirt on up-coming products.

PlayStation Classic, the Retro Gaming Revolutions Finest…

Retro gaming is all the rage at the moment, and while Sony may be late to the retro game it has turned up to a knife fight with a 44 magnum. Mind you turning up well armed when going to war with Nintendo is not a bad strategy.

The PlayStation Classic is Sony’s latest weapon in the console wars and this mini marvel will be packing  20 games pre-loaded and ready to rumble. Only 5 of games have been officially announced thus far; Final Fantasy VII, Jumping Flash, Ridge Racer Type 4, Tekken 3 and Wild Arms. The remaining 15 are the subject of much speculation and you can bet Sony will trickle feed the announcements of the remaining games to us as the release date edges nearer, building the marketing momentum. The number of wish lists floating around the web is evidence that it is already working. Here at Highpants we have just one wish, Gran Tourismo.

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Intel Hades Canyon NUC8i7HVK Review

In life we are often told that you can’t have everything, life is a balance. Settle and compromise the sensible amongst us insist, this is the secret to happiness they say. You can’t have looks and personality, the perfect job always has a downside, the perfect home will have an annoying neighbour and even the prefect computer will be compromised in some way. Here at Highpants  its time to upgrade our trusty work-horse computer and we are once again faced with picking our way through this compromised reality.

Yes, even in the world of computing this logic has been bandied about like the punchline in a bad film, the perfect computer for any situation has always been a compromise. But damn it if Intel haven’t decided to challenge this long-heralded rule, yes you can have a powerful gaming machine in an unnaturally small form factor they scream, while holding the Hades Canyon NUC high in the air.

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Project Linda, the Razer Chromebook Convertible…

Producing the perfect convertible computer has been attempted by many tech companies since the smartphone and tablet revolution began but while many have attempted it none have been able to come up with a compromise that people are willing to live with. The ability to quickly convert your portable device into a fully fledged notebook with the benefits of a full-sized keyboard and big screen still evades the smartest minds and gadget developers in the techie world.

Razer are the latest tech company to throw their hat into the convertible ring and their interpretation called Project Linda is one of the most interesting concepts yet. Project Linda has been designed to work with their Razor Phone, converting the phone into a full-sized Chromebook by simply slide the phone into the slot where the track-pad would normally be.

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LG Shows Off 88-inch 8K OLED TV…

Televisions are our window to a world of entertainment in our living rooms, a hotly contested territory for technology manufacturing companies. In the build-up to the annual consumer electronics show in Las Vegas the battle between manufacturers to control that territory is heating up. LG’s latest attention getting salvo is their 88-inch 8K OLED television, the largest and highest resolution OLED television seen to date. With 32 million pixels crammed into this massive display expect a razor-sharp image and an astronomical price tag to go with it.

8K is still a few years away from entering the consumer market, with everything from cables to camera to capture the content still under development. Here at Highpants we can’t wait to see the next generation 8K PlayStation running on a television such as this. Many people may question the need for so many pixels but as Apple showed with there Retina displays there is a smoothing and sharpness improvement when the pixels pass the perceptible limits of the eye. Combine that with the enhanced brightness of the extra pixels and you have one hell of a sharp and bright display.

LG are the only manufacturer producing large format OLED displays at the moment so it should come as no surprise that they are demonstrating leading edge displays such as this at CES 2018, a show that is building up to be as impressive as always. Continue reading LG Shows Off 88-inch 8K OLED TV…

Laser Projectors, a New Class of Projector…

Video projectors are the holy grain of the home theatre for many people. Able to produce a massive picture for a reasonable price all from within the comfort of your own home. As with all displays the technology driving these wonders periodically takes a leap. The latest leap in projector technology is the Laser Projector, a projector that replaces the old-fashioned light bulb for LED Lasers as the source of light. This change improves the brightness, efficiency and colour reproduction of the projector producing a far better image for less money, and improves the longevity while lowering power consumption. Lasers do in fact make everything better.

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Gran Turismo Sport Fast Approaches…

Lovers of Turismo it is time to prepare for the marathon gaming session to end all marathon gaming sessions. Clear the couch, stock up on supplies and get that comfortable driving position ready for the long wait will soon be over.

The world cheered with excited relief this week when Kazunori Yamauchi (Polyphony Digital CEO and GT ‘s creator) announced GT Sport will be released on the 17th of October in the US, and the 18th everywhere else. With 17 tracks / 28 variants, 150 cars and integrated eSport racing leagues to revel in we might have to start the preparations now.

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Vampire II: Bringing the Amiga Back Again…

The Commodore Amiga is one of many iconic computers to dot our rich computing past, especially for children of the 80’s. Fans of the iconic Amiga have been excited of late with talk of a new accelerator that is turning dusty old Amiga hardware into blisteringly fast internet connected retro gaming machines.

The fastest running Amiga hardware on the planet at the moment is a Vampire II equipped Amiga 500 or 600. The Vampire A600 V2 and the A500 V2+ accelerator kits are transforming the slowest of all the Amiga’s into retro gaming legends, one card at a time.

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The AMD Ryzen Desktop CPU: Has AMD Got Game?

Masters of silicon AMD are attempting to rise from the ashes of the disaster that was the Bulldozer, and their phoenix is named Ryzen. This week AMD begun to formally introduce the world to their brand new Ryzen phoenix CPU, the first product to use the new Zen core design (code named Summit Ridge). A new CPU that will see the return of the CPU wars if AMD’s performance claims live up to expectation. Can Ryzen really compete with the mighty i7-6900K? A CPU that retails for $1100!

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Android TV and Kodi, 2015’s Ultimate Home Theater Streamer on a Budget.

A TV revolution is well underway, no longer are our viewing habits a prisoner to Free To Air, Network or Cable TV. Netflix, Hulu and other streaming services are tuning us into this revolution and streaming devices are key to unlocking the stream. Serving all of your modern media needs streamers are the set top box of the future ready to stream today. Combine these modern streamers with Kodi and you have an affordable way to access unbelievable amounts of content at the click of a button.

This does leave the tricky question of which streamer to hook up to that flat panel display? If like us you use Kodi (formerly XBMC) to stream media on a daily basis then the question becomes a little more complicated and then a lot simpler. The following is our journey of discovery to find the perfect Kodi streamer for around $200.

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SoundHound takes Voice Recognition to Stunning New Levels.

Many people with busy lives have often wondered how nice it would be to have an assistant. Someone there just to help with the mundane tasks. Such an arrangement is bound to lead to many more tasks getting done, surely? Unfortunately not many of us can afford the opportunity to test the theory so we go assistant-less, sigh.

As always technology is coming to our rescue in the shape of the virtual assistant, the voice interface is finally listening. Demonstrating just how far voice has progressed SoundHound recently gave the  world a sneak peak at their Hound app. With lightning fast reflexes Hound is capable of answering any question and may one day become everyone’s favorite virtual assistant.

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HP Pavilion 15-P001AU Laptop, the Hunt for Value or How Cheap is Too Cheap?

Recently after being tasked with finding a value laptop as a Mothers Day present I proceeded on a journey, a hunt for the perfect computing device for mom. Being a light user; web, photos and a little Skype raw computing power wouldn’t be as important as user experience and value.

Like walking a tightrope if you lean too far in either direction (value or performance) your balance will be lost and tumble down you go. But how low down the performance scale can you go before slow is too slow even for a light user? This was the question rattling around in the back of my brain as the journey began.

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Apple’s Next Big Thing: iWatch, iCar or a 55inch iMac Perhaps?..

After reporting record earnings made on the back of record iPhone sales many are now wondering how Apple will maintain these record breaking numbers. What new product will help Apple to pass the incredible $19 billion profit mark for a single quarter? What will be Apple’s next big thing?

For a product to make it into the Next Big Thing (NBT) category it must be a game changer, it must take something ordinary and make it amazing. Think iPod, iPhone and iPad, all must have devices that revolutionized their segments and all segments that were due for a revolution.

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The NVIDIA Tegra X1 and Shield Upgrade Rumour, Teraflop Tomfoolery…

Rumours have been swirling around the wobbly web that suggest NVIDIA will soon be releasing the next generation Shield tablet, a tablet based on the brand new Tegra X1 chip that’s capable of delivering a Teraflop of processing power.

Helping to further whip the net into a frenzy NVIDIA this week sent out invites for a mysterious media event on the 3rd of March in San Francisco. It is expected that NVIDIA will announce the release date of the new Shield, some rumours suggest the release date will be as early as the 17th of March while other whispers are suggesting the new X1 Shield may appear as late as June 2015.

Will the Shield be the first product to use the X1 chipset and become the first Teraflop tablet? Will the world’s first Teraflop tablet be a Q1 or Q2 product? Hopefully NVIDIA will answer these questions and more on March 3rd.

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Marshawn Lynch and Rob Gronkowski play Mortal Kombat X on Clueless Gamers…

The soon to be released Mortal Kombat X is going to quickly become known as the most gruesome and shocking video game ever. A game so shocking that it reduced two of the NFL’s hard men and Conan into blubbering messes.

Conan O’Brien invited the two NFL superstars Marshawn Lynch and Rob Gronkowski to enjoy some Clueless Gamer fun testing out the hottest game of 2015, Mortal Kombat X. While Conan is his funny self the most hilarious part of the clip is actually the trio’s reaction to the MK X death scenes, killer funny.

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The Carbon Flyer, the Ultimate Flying RC Tech Toy…

The world’s lightest and strongest material has finally been put to awesome use making the coolest RC plane imaginable.  The very low drag delta wing design of the looks not unlike a paper airplane except that the Carbon Flyer is far tougher and it’s self-propelled. Using two tiny high output electric motors this is the lightest and toughest RC plane that also happens to be by far the coolest flying gadget released this year.

More than an RC plane the Carbon Flyer is also a camera carrying drone able to stay aloft for three minutes at a time. Controlled via a smartphone app at a range of up to 240 feet, which it will cover quickly with a top speed of 40mph, this is simplicity and fun wrapped in carbon black.

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Google Project Ara, Be Part of It…

Since the inception of the mobile phone new features and technology has been rolled into these handheld wonders. Unfortunately with each new technology a new generation of phone has been required to integrate the technology, also requiring the wholesale disposal of the previous generation.  Think of this development process as hard wiring of functionality, a process that requires phone manufacturers to maintain their own system architecture and continually modify the hardware and software to add new functionality.

The current smartphone architectures also limit the choice for consumers, limiting it to the hardware manufacturers want to include, a decision generally based on gaining the most market share. If you want a phone with functions that aren’t in the mainstream vocabulary you are out of luck. This is just the nature of trying to cater for a generalised user base and has led to phone manufacturers battling over screen resolution or phone thickness. Never willing to take a chance with a feature only few would ever require.

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The Helico AirDog, Man’s New QuadCopter Best Friend…

Quadcopters are all the rage at the moment with new models appearing think and fast but few can claim to be completely hands free, autonomy seems to be the next revolution for our eyes in the sky.

The Helico AirDog is one of the first drones that can claim to be fully autonomous from take off to landing and capturing all of the action in between. Just like mans four legged best friend the AirDog will follow its master through all conditions, keeping close and watching intently.

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The Mars Levitating Speaker, Making Waves While Floating on Air…

Making waves in the tech world during the throng of CES, sound waves especially, is no easy feat but the Mars levitating Bluetooth speaker seems to be doing just that. Raising its voice and levitating above the myriad of new gadgets Mars is capturing attention through incredible amounts of cool, Bluetooth speakers are now a dime a dozen after all.

Mind you the Mars speaker isn’t simply using levitation just because levitation makes everything cooler, no; instead it has been put to use taking away any directionality of the speaker. A design intended to seamlessly produce 360-degree sound giving everyone around the room clear audio.

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