Digital: Glimpse into future at CES gadget heaven
FROM the ingenious to the downright wacky, all forms of gadget life were represented at last week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The annual trade event showcases the tech that will be hitting the shelves later this year. Or in some cases, never. Here are my highlights:
Panasonic 4K 20-inch tablet
Never mind the fact you'd be effectively carrying around something the size of a small PC monitor in your hand – check out all the pixels. This prototype has a huge 20-inch screen with four times the resolution of a HDTV. It's a photographer's dream.
When getting fit seems like too much hard work, how about the fork that warns when you're eating too fast? The €75 HAPIfork monitors the time between bites and buzzes gently to encourage you to slow down. It also links to an iPhone app that sets out a healthy eating programme.
Dacor Discovery internet-connected oven
We've seen fridges linked to the web before, but this beast mates an Android screen with a luxury oven to enable download of recipes, remote control of the oven and viewing of videos. But at €5,600, you'd hope it actually comes with a chef too.
Olloclip iPhone lens
The iPhone camera holds its own versus many cameras but lacks flexibility. Enter the €50 Olloclip – a neat add-on that enables wide-angle, fish-eye and macro views. The small lens clips to your iPhone securely – but doesn't fit over a case, unfortunately.
Kingston 1TB flash drive
Six years ago, a single 1TB drive didn't exist. Twenty years ago, 1TB of storage required a room full of computers. Now Kingston has squeezed the same 1,000 gigabytes of space into a USB drive (left). But the sting in the tale is the €2,500 price tag. Yowza.
Hi-Call Bluetooth gloves
It's winter and it's cold. Why fumble in your pocket to answer your phone when you can just talk to the hand – literally? These €50 gloves feature a speaker and microphone built into the thumb and little finger. They connect to your phone via Bluetooth – and yes, you do look like a wally.
Nvidia Project Shield
The graphics hardware experts took everyone by surprise with this handheld games console, which looks like an overgrown Xbox controller. It may be able to run PC games too. But seeing as PS Vita has struggled to attract the hardcore gamer, Project Shield faces a big challenge.
Game of the week
Trine 2: Director's cut
Probably overlooked in the low-key launch of the Wii U last month, this little gem ably demonstrates the graphic power and gameplay potential at Nintendo's disposal.
A remake of an indie PC hit, Trine 2 ladles on lush graphics and physics puzzles for your three characters – wizard, thief and knight – to explore and conquer.
The puzzles benefit from the Gamepad's touchscreen and while the game is enjoyable in single-player, it really comes to life in online multiplayer, a feature not even the PC original could boast.
While the levels can become frantic at times, one of Trine 2's simple pleasures is wandering through the beautiful scenery.
Just Dance 4
Once you get past the realisation that Just Dance on Wii/Wii U is not a game (the motion tracking is appalling) but rather an excuse to have a good time dancing, then JD4 justifies its existence.
New tracks and a smattering of Wii U specific modes (non-players can doodle on-screen via the Gamepad, choose songs or choreography) give it life. But Just Dance, the series, needs some new moves itself.
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