Weckler on technology: Spider's big brother tablet is every bit as useful
Reviewed this week are Breffo Tablet Spider, Pioneer Digital DJ WeGo2, Toshiba Kirabook and Sony LifeBand.
Breffo Tablet Spider Price: €30 Rating: ****
We really liked Breffo's Spiderpodium (reviewed two weeks ago), which allows you to prop your smartphone up on the desk or rest it on your car's dashboard. So we were amused to see that there's a big brother to the dangly device.
The Spiderpodium Tablet does exactly what the junior gadget does, except it's bigger and thicker. So you can easily prop up an iPad, Galaxy Tablet, Nexus 7 or Surface. It's a handy aide if you need to use a (standalone) keyboard with your tablet to work on.
A new digital toy for all aspiring bedroom DJs
Pioneer Digital DJ WeGo2 Price: €350 Rating: ****
Remember those hours of teenage bedroom lock-ins with mates, trying to replicate Pump Up The Jam with tape decks, turntables or midi-centres? One downside to today's music streaming is the lack of ability to mess around with tunes. Pioneer's WeGo2 'Digital DJ' aims to capitalise on the raft of virtual DJ apps that have sprung up for iPads (mainly).
Armed with a plethora of knobs and nozzles, the gadget works fairly flawlessly with some of the most popular such apps, including Virtual DJ, Algoriddim djay, Serato DJ and Traktor Pro 2. Good fun.
Light and smooth – with the right amount of oomph
Toshiba Kirabook Price: €1,350 ; Rating: ***
There was a time when 'business laptops' could incorporate large clunky juggernauts. That era ended about three years ago. Today, the archetypal business machine is a sleek, light, thin device with moderate oomph and robust craftsmanship.
Toshiba's Kirabook hits most of these metrics bang on: it's thin, light and has more than enough power (courtesy of an Intel i7 processor) under the hood. If there is one quibble, it is that its trackpad is poorly placed, leading to left-click right-click functionality mix-ups. But that may just be me – as my experience with Sony's LifeBand (see review) attests, it's been a bad week for me and technology.
Sony's new 'wearable' is wearing out my patience
Sony LifeBand Price: €85 Rating: **
Depending on your perspective, Sony is either very late to the 'wearables' party or has cannily held its powder to see how the first generation of Fitbits, Jawbones and Galaxy Gears got on.
Whatever its motivation, its SmartBand has been a frustrating experience for me so far.
There are lots of elements to setting it up, some of which are quite glitchy. For example, trying to change my Sony Entertainment Account password to take advantage of some of the SmartBand's features proved to be a nightmare.
When up and running, the gadget is supposed to keep track of your daily life, measuring activity, sleep and other such metrics. Another week of trying to get it to work and I'll fill you in more on it.
A handy and efficient tool for data transfer and backing up
LaCie 5TB D2 Thunderbolt Drive Price: €420 Rating: ****
While Apple may be irritating some customers with the news that it is considering the abandonment of the 3.5mm jack for its next-generation iPhones and iPads, some of its proprietary connections are a joy to use.
A case in point is Thunderbolt, which does for data transfer what its Firewire technology did 10 years ago. LaCie's (5,000 gigabyte) D2 Thunderbolt drive doesn't restrict itself to the connection, allowing USB 3.0 also. But for anyone doing business on a Mac who needs to back things up, this is a damn fine way to do it.