Microsoft Surface Pro

I never understood the draw of tablets. They are supposed to be smaller, lighter laptops, though they aren’t nearly as powerful as a laptop. I suppose it’s nice to play angry birds and surf the internet on a bigger screen than your phone, but my phone can fit in my pocket. Then the Surface Pro came out and it is actually a decent piece of hardware. In addition to the Microsoft Office programs you can’t live without (I don’t know what I’d do without you, Microsoft Excel), you can actually run programs like Photoshop and play actual games you’d find on a PC. It isn’t going to run at 60 fps anytime soon though. The Intel Core i5 processor gives this machine power you aren’t going to find in any other tablets and the detachable screen cover/keyboard is a nice touch. Definitely the best tablet on the market; I only wish it had more than one USB port. Starting at $899.  www.microsoft.com

SubPac

 

If you’d like to take your music listening experience to the next level then you need to try the SubPac.  The SubPac looks like a seat cushion and fits comfortably between your back and a chair or a couch.  This device works by transferring low frequencies from your music directly to your body, providing a new physical dimension to the music.  This means that you’ll be able to feel the boom of a kick drum and experience bass notes like never before.  The SubPac is designed for DJs, music producers, music listeners, gamers and home theater fans alike.  $350.  www.thesubpac.com

Radiant Images Novo 4K Mini Camera

 

If they keep making cameras smaller, I’m sure one day the government will be spying on us with robot flies and squirrels (if they aren’t already). Until then, let’s enjoy the amazingly small Novo camera from Radiant Images. Essentially a hacked GoPro 3 with the ability to attach cinema style lenses, this micro camera is capable of stunning 4K quality. You can control Novo remotely through its on-board WiFi to get shots from impossibly tight points of view. Fitting in the palm of your hand and weighing only 90 grams, you best be sure not to misplace it. This high tech piece of equipment doesn’t come cheap, especially since you can only rent it out for $295 a day or $885 a week. www.radiantimages.com

Hyperkin RetroN 5 Gaming Console

 

The RetroN 5 is a modern retro gaming console that will let you re-live countless hours of great childhood memories.  This gaming console will let you play all NES, SNES, Genesis, Game Boy Advance, Super Famicom, Mega Drive, Game Boy and Game Boy Color games on your TV – just insert your favourite game cartridge.  The RetroN 5 lets you save games at any point during gameplay, and offers audio interpolation to improve sound output quality, as well as shaders to up-convert video up to the 720p resolution (thanks to its HDMI output).  Comes with one wireless Bluetooth controller and 2 original controller ports for each gaming platform, if you choose to play with authentic controllers.  The RetroN 5 is expected to retail for under $100 when it hits the street.  www.hyperkin.com

Belkin Ultimate Keyboard Case (F5L149)

 

We love our touchscreen iPads but sometimes we wish they had a regular keyboard; like those times when you need to write a longer document while watching your favourite TV show.  There are plenty of iPad keyboard cases out there already but this one promises to be the slimmest and lightest yet, thanks to a keyboard that is just 6.4mm thin and weighing 17 ounces.  Its aluminum alloy and magnet construction allows it to fold flat and out of the way when reading or watching movies.  The keyboard provides a laptop-like typing experience, while the back cover protects your iPad from scratches.  The case’s unique design directs audio from the iPad speakers toward you for improved sound.  Its rechargeable battery offers 160 hours of life and 6 month standby.  Now you can comfortably write your plans for that Kickstarter project you’ve been talking to your friends about for months.  $99-$129.  www.belkin.com

HP Labs Creates Portable 3D Holographic Display

 

Oh science, how we love your ability to turn awesome cartoon gadgets into reality. HP Labs made a 3D hologram display; viewable from 200 viewpoints. No glasses required (unless you have astigmatism). The display works without any moving parts; it uses “directional pixels” to send the red, blue and green light in specified directions. This, somehow allows you to see a three dimensional object as if it hovering above the glass. We won’t be getting this technology in our phones and re-enacting scenes from Star Wars for a while, although; I did see a Death Star on Kickstarter the other day. News via MIT Technology Review.

Volta Sound Block

 

If you love the outdoors and music equally, then the Volta Sound Block is for you.  Unlike any other iPhone speaker system, this is a passive system meaning that it doesn’t rely on any electronics or a battery.  Instead it uses a solid block of Northwest Alder wood and a Bison horn, which serve to amplify the volume from an iPhone speaker.  The removable horn attaches to the Sound Block with powerful neodymium magnets which allows for easy transportation.  The Sound Dock is lined with wool and comes delivered in a hand printed travel bag.  Hear that?  That is the sound of the outdoors calling your name!  $190.  http://voltasound.squarespace.com

Kohler Moxie Showerhead + Wireless Speaker

 

Listening to music in the shower comes with one fatal flaw; we all listen to music from our phones and computers now, but steam is like Kryptonite to electronics. The Moxie Showerhead + Wireless Speaker overcame this problem with a speaker in the center of the nozzle. The removable speaker has a Bluetooth wireless range of thirty-two feet, keeping your electronics at a safe distance. Equally important, Moxie doesn’t sacrifice water pressure; capable of a 2.5 gallons-per-minute spray (which means it’s good). Best part is, when you’re not in the shower, you have a portable speaker you can take anywhere. $229.  www.kohler.com

V-MODA VAMP VERZA for Computers and Smartphones

 

We know how much you love listening to music from your computer, smartphone and tablet.  The only trouble that plagues these devices is the lousy audio quality they output.  The VAMP VERZA is designed to extract far better quality audio by grabbing the digital audio signal from these devices and performing its own digital-to-analog conversion and amplification (2 x 150 mW).  An integrated 2200 mAh battery pack allows you to listen to your tunes on the go from your smartphone or tablet for up to 7 hours – just connect your favourite pair of headphones.  A matching V-MODA METALLO case will allow you to “dock” the Samsung Galaxy S III directly to the VAMP VERZA (Samsung Galaxy S IV, Note II and iPhone 5 cases will be available soon).  $598.  http://v-moda.com/VAMP

Paradigm SHIFT Soundtrack System

Ever wonder why movies at home don’t engage you the same way as films do at the movie theater?  It’s those lousy little TV speakers.  The Paradigm SHIFT Soundtrack System is not just designed to raise your TV watching experience to a new height, it’s also meant to serve as a music system.  The system consists of a 6-driver soundbar and a compact, wireless subwoofer, offering a very easy to set up, clutter-free solution.  Unlike other soundbars on the market, this one delivers an extraordinarily wide soundstage with superb stereo separation, while the subwoofer produces a deep, articulate bass.  The soundbar offers digital and analog stereo inputs so you can connect Blu-ray/DVD/CD players, gaming consoles, satellite receivers and other music sources.  Comes with a remote.  $799.  www.paradigm.com/shift

Monitor Audio WS100 Wireless Multimedia Speaker System

 

Music is what makes the world go round for millions for people.  So why do so many listen to their favorite tunes through a lousy pair of speakers?  The Monitor Audio WS100 speaker system is designed for music fans that play their music from desktop computers, laptops, smartphones and tablets.  Each 5” cube speaker contains an internal amp, as well as a tweeter and a mid-bass driver based on the C-CAM transducers used by Monitor Audio’s flagship hi-fi speakers.  The on-board wireless receiver allows the speakers to connect wirelessly to your music device; simply plug in the supplied USB dongle.  The WS100 remote controls the power, play/pause, track up/down volume and input selection, if a device is connected to the 3.5mm input on the back of one of the speakers.  $429.  www.monitoraudio.com

Surface Tension Double7 Arcade Coffee Table

 

Well, you’ll never have to buy one of those pretentious coffee table books again because this coffee table has Mortal Kombat I, II and III. I want one of these in the office, but apparently we need to spend that money on “more important things”, like heat. The Double7 arcade table comes with over 100 games, but this table is much more than an arcade. Running on Windows7, the table can also surf the web, watch movies, listen to music and play any retro console emulators you might have. It has 4GB of RAM and 500GB hard disk, which will run the games beautifully and with ease. It would be a hit at the dentist’s; they still have a MacLean’s Magazine from ’93. $5,442. www.surface-tension.net

Scosche boomBottle: A Rugged Weatherproof Wireless Speaker

 

Life is often better with a soundtrack and since I’ve started biking again, the boomBottle is a must. I don’t like wearing headphones because you can’t hear oncoming traffic or rabid raccoons chasing you. It fits in the water bottle rack of your bike (I don’t need to stay hydrated anyway) and it is weather proof, so feel free to take it out with you on rainy days. The boomBottle offers a ten hour battery life, two forty mm drivers, a passive subwoofer and can connect to any Bluetooth device. This is a great accessory for any outdoor adventures, but you may want to skip the old school Ice Cube tracks when there are kids around. $150. www.scosche.com

Bosch PB120 12V Compact Radio

 

We love listening to music at the Guydster, the tunes are always on.  But when working on a reno project in our spare time, we wouldn’t dare bring our nice audio gear along – it’s too precious and totally not portable.  The Bosch PB120 radio however, is designed to be the perfect companion for your next reno project.  It’s lightweight and compact and can be powered by a wall outlet or a 12V Bosch battery pack (same battery that your drill uses).  In addition to the AM/FM radio, it’ll also play tunes from your smartphone thanks to its aux input.  And if you get a little rough with it, it should be able to handle it easily because it’s equipped with a shock-absorbing roll-cage, which doubles as a handle.  $99.  www.boschtools.com

Sony PlayStation 4 (PS4)

 

Get ready to experience the next level of gaming on the PlayStation4, coming this holiday season!  The PS4 will offer a new system architecture with a powerful custom chip that contains eight x86-64 cores and a state of the art graphics processor.  This will allow next generation games to offer unprecedented levels of details, realism and immersion.  The new console will have deeply integrated social capabilities, such as the “share” button on the controller which will let gamers share their epic gaming moments with others seamlessly while playing the game.  A second screen feature will enable the PS4 to carry the gaming experience over to the PlayStationVita (PS Vita), smartphones and tablets.  The PS Vita, for example, will let you take some PS4 games on the road, while smartphones and tables will be utilized to enhance the gaming experience by offering additional features and gameplay options.  A new “suspend mode” will allow the console to start up faster than ever before.  So far Sony has shown the new PlayStation4 controller, but the console itself was not revealed.  At launch time, the leading new game will include first-person shooter Destiny from Bungie (the guys who created Halo), Killzone Shadow Fall, Diablo III and a new Final Fantasy.  News via www.canadahifi.com

The Last Barfighter Beercade

 

We work hard and play equally as hard.  That’s why we’ve got a MAME machine at the Guydster studio.  And for the first time, we’ve come across something that takes this idea to a whole new level.  The Beercade, developed by two creative employees of agency McKinney which represents Big Boss Brewing, combines the awesomeness of an arcade machine together with a beer dispenser.  The machine itself contains a game called “The Last Barfighter” which offers the classic feel of games like Street Fighter with its own twists.  The fight takes place in a biker bar and lets players make some kickass moves like fire throwing, unicorn-horn impaling and butt slaps (ha!)  The best player of three rounds wins a sample of beer that’s automatically dispensed from the Beercade taps.  How sweet is that?  The Beercade can be found in many bars in Williamsburg, North Carolina.  www.bigbossbrewing.com

The Dark Knight Trilogy: Limited Edition Box Set

 

Want to know how I got these scars? I woke up next to this cosplayer girl after The Dark Knight premiere and she…was into some strange stuff. Regardless, the important thing is that I love those movies and now you can get the whole trilogy in an, oh so serious, five disc box set. The package includes all three Nolan films with their respective special features in Blu-ray format and a sixty-four page book giving you an even deeper look into the making of the trilogy. It also includes a download code for UltraViolet copies of each film; allowing you to watch them on the cloud from anywhere. Great price for a great trilogy and you won’t risk waking up with Joker paint on your chest and shame in your heart. $37.97.  www.amazon.ca

Boomphones Phantom – Headphone That Turns Into a Boombox

 

 

Smartphones and headphones are the modern guy’s ultimate entertainment accessories when navigating the urban jungle.  The trouble is that it’s hard to share music with anyone else using headphones… until now.  The Boomphones Phantom is a headphone when you need it and a boombox when you want to share music with friends – with just a push of a button.  Equipped with a rechargeable lithium ion battery, this headphone contains its own amplifier which can be plugged into other music sources.  An in-line mic allows the headphone to be used answer or make calls from you cellphone, in private or speakerphone modes.  Music was meant to be share with friends and the Phantom is an awesome way to do so!  $149.  www.boomphones.com 

Audio Guide: Best Headphones / Earphones

 

Smartphones and tablets have revolutionized the way we download and listen to music.  Serious music fans knew long ago that the earphones included in the box with smartphones and tablets sound lousy and don’t allow you to hear all the details that your music has to offer.  But now the masses are finally starting to catch on and realize what they’ve been missing.  So do yourself a favour and ditch those cheap plastic earphones that came with your device and get yourself a decent pair of earphones or headphones.  Not only will all of your music sound significantly better, your ears will thank you because they won’t get as tired when you listen for extended periods of time.  And if you own a decent amplifier, try your new headphones/earphones with it.  Did you know that a $200 pair of headphones can sound nearly as good as a $2,000 pair of speakers?  We’re not kidding!  With so many brands out there, choosing a new pair of headphones or earphones can be a little overwhelming.  That’s why we’ve assembled several pairs that we know you can trust.

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THX Tune-Up App – Improve Your TV’s Picture in Minutes

 

So you bought yourself a new TV and when you first turned it on, you quickly realized that the picture doesn’t look quite as good as you had hoped.  That’s because most manufacturers calibrate their TV pictures to compete with one another on the brightly lit showroom floor.  But those are far from the picture settings you should be using at home if you desire an accurate picture.  THX Tune-Up is a simple to use app that will help you make basic adjustments to fine tune your TV’s picture to look more realistic.  It’ll assist you with setting the aspect ratio, brightness, contrast, color, and tint – and on the audio side, speaker assignments and speaker phase.  Available now in the App Store and coming to Google Play in March.  Free until Feb. 4, $2 after that.  News via www.gizmodo.com