ASUS Travelair N Wireless 1TB Hard Disk Review

Introduction


When it comes to storage you can either go the ordinary and boring route, or you can opt for something that breaks with the norm with more features than you would expect. I’m taking a closer look at ASUS’ Travelair N today which is a portable USB 3.0 hard disk drive that also works wirelessly with a built-in access point, comes with an SD card reader built-in, and has One-Touch NFC capabilities on top of the 1TB storage capacity.

The ASUS Travelair N ‏(WHD-A2) is a 1TB portable USB 3.0 hard disk drive at heart and that in itself isn’t without. You can easily carry 500 movies, thousands of photos, songs, and files with you where ever you go. An ordinary portable drive has some limitations on the road, mainly the connection interface. What if you would like to access the drive from your mobile phone or tablet? What if you are far from a power outlet? Well, that is no problem with the Travelair N that comes with built-in wireless network capabilities and a battery.

Using the 2.4GHz band, the Travelair N can connect to pretty much any wireless devices available. It is compatible with IEEE 802.11b, g, and n-style connections which cover the entire spectrum of the wireless band. The antennas are internal, so you don’t need to worry about connecting them or breaking them off either. The Travelair N uses enterprise-level WPA2 wireless security to connect with your smart phone or tablet, ensuring all of your content is kept private and secure.

Not only does it come with built-in wireless capabilities, the drive also features a built-in 3300 mAh battery that is rated for up to 8-hours usage. This should be plenty of time until you’re near a charging ability again.

And no, ASUS didn’t stop here and added more features to this drive. The Travelair N supports NFC technology for instant one-touch connection to supported devices without any configuration needs. Simply touch your NFC-supported smart phone or tablet to the drive and you can browse your media library and files straight away.

The final feature of the drive itself is the built-in SD card slot that lets you back up your data from memory cards with simple steps. This is the perfect solution to empty the memory cards onto a larger storage medium and keep shooting those photos while you got the opportunity.

ASUS created the AiDrive companion app which is available on almost any platform: iPhone, iPad, Kindle Fire, or Android devices. The app features an intuitive user interface to let you quickly and easily view and share your photos, videos, and files.

The Travelair N can connect with up to five devices simultaneously when transferring files and up to three devices when streaming movies in HD quality. This allows you to easily share a single drive between multiple systems, devices, and people.

A portable drive needs to have a better resistance to environmental hazards and the Travelair N features an IP43-rated water-resistant design. This should guarantee a protection from accidental splashes and spills onto the drive.

With all the talk about USB 3.0 for PC connections and wireless for mobile devices, we shouldn’t forget that we also can connect a drive like this to all our other smart devices with USB or wireless capabilities, may they be gaming consoles, smart TVs, or something else.

Feature Highlights

  • One-Touch NFC for easy connection
  • Integrated SD Card reader expands storage capacity
  • Connect up to five devices simultaneously
  • Splash-proof design with IP43 water resistance
  • Intuitive, easy-to-use companion app

Package and Accessories

ASUS packed the Travelair N in a horizontal shaped box which is unlike most that come more square. That’s very fitting for a drive like this that is anything but ordinary. The front will let you know what you purchase in a simplistic design including features and capacity.

On the rear of the box, you find a lot more details to the different functions such as environmental protection, wifi, and NFC.

Inside the box was a USB 3.0 cable, a warranty card and safety notice as well as the quick start guide. Normally there would also be an AD/DC power adapter for charging purposes, but that was missing in my review sample.

ASUS Announces Travelair AC Pocket-Sized Wireless Flash Drive

ASUS has created a few products out of their norm lately and I think it’s nice to see them breaching into new product categories, especially when they create things that aren’t all that common yet. The newest product to be announced is the Travelair AC which is a pocket-sized wireless flash drive.

The ASUS Travelair AC features 802.11ac wireless network connectivity which easily is 3 times faster than the legacy 2.4GHz band that a lot of such devices operate on. The faster wireless connection doesn’t just provide better copy and streaming speeds, it also allows your devices to stay on a single network for less hassle.

Basic 2.4 GHz and 5GHz wireless connectivity is just one of the features in ASUS new portable flash drive as it also feature NFC technology for instant connection to NFC-enabled mobile devices for an even easier setup. The Travelair AC features 32GB built-in memory which in itself isn’t much, but it can be easily expanded through the built-in SD card reader.

The flash drive also features a micro USB connector for a wired connection to non-wifi devices as well as to charge the built-in 3000 mAh battery.

ASUS added a dual wireless functionality to the Travelair AC, so you won’t lose your internet connection when using this wireless flash drive. You simply connect the Travelair AC to your router and any device that connects to the drive will also automatically get the signal forwarding to your internet connection. Naturally this support also includes WPA2 security for secure connections both ways

The ASUS AiDrive app for Android, iOS, and Kindle devices allows for easy setup and connection, but the drive is also compatible with Windows and Mac OS devices. The built-in battery should provide up to 10 hours of multimedia content streaming to Wi-Fi-enabled devices per charge which should be enough for even the longest trips.

Pricing and availability of the ASUS Travelair AC are yet to be announced.

Specifications

  • Wi-Fi standards: IEEE 802.11b/g/n/ac 2.4GHz & 5GHz
  • Storage capacity: 32GB
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Micro USB, NFC
  • OS Compatibility: iOS 7 or higher, AndroidTM 4.0 or higher, Kindle Fire HD and HDX, Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Mac OS X 10.6 or higher
  • Battery: 3000mAh
  • Colors: White
  • Size: 86 x 86 x 21mm
  • Weight: 120g

The Best Budget-Friendly Everyday Wearable Technology

We all love our technology. From the mobile phone which you have in your pocket to the computer you have hidden away in your house ready to reward you with some much-needed “Netflix and chill” time after a busy day. Have you noticed all those people who seem to sit there staring at their phone screens, almost as if they are trying to will a text message or phone call? Or maybe they’re just worried about it being another two inches from their hands, they might end up missing an important call. That same fear has led to a new generation of technology, wearable technology. The name kinda says it all, technology that you can wear and use. Featured below are a few pieces of technology you could start wearing now and some which won’t break the bank when you start getting interested.


Smart Watches

Smartwatches are designed to be connected to your phone, with Companies like Apple hoping theirs will take over a whopping 40% of the market, you can see why some people might be interested in them. So why not go out and grab an Apple Watch? With the ability to monitor your heart rate, how many steps you take and even be used for Apple pay means that you don’t really need to your phone out of your pocket for anything other than actually texting and making a call. Sadly though the Apple watch is only compatible with iPhones and comes in at a whopping £289, so why not look at something a little cheaper? Sony’s universal smart watch is available for Android devices and features some impressive figures. With 2-4 days battery at “normal usage”, and with a selection of apps from the play store and a price tag of £60.75, it may be an alternative if you like using your android phone without it being out in front of you.


Smart Ring

Wearable technology is designed to make your life easier while meaning you don’t carry a computer on your hand. So why not make something smart that most people wear without a second thought?

The NFC ring is designed as yet another companion to your smart phone. By communicating with NFC (near field communication) technology, you can unlock your phone just by swiping your ring over the top, meaning no more trying to remember your password. What about your wireless password or a link to your favourite website? The NFC can store that information and transmit it just as easily, meaning sharing your details could be as easy as waving your hand over someone’s phone.

With the ability to interact and transmit data to anything with NFC capabilities, the ring has almost unlimited potential. Do you have any wearable technology we didn’t mention? What kind of technology are you looking for? Share your ideas below in the comments.

Fitness Trackers


With all this technology, why not use it for something regarding your health? Smart watches can track your heartbeat and steps, though they cost a little bit more. Fitness trackers are simple little bands that blend seemingly with your everyday wear. I personally have one and the little band tells me everything from my steps and the approximate calories burnt for those steps, it can also track my sleeping patterns, detecting when you move a lot in your sleep and often more. Pivotal Living offer a subscription based band, for $12 per year they will give you access to everything you need to track your life. Fail to pay though and the app locks up making it a beautiful piece of plastic on your wrist, not much else.

Samsung Pay Users Best Avoid Rooting Their Phones

First you paid in coins, then you paid in notes, then you swiped your card and put in some numbers, now you don’t even swipe your card to pay with it. So what could be next for paying for everything? With the recent release of Apple Pay, the answer seems to be simple, your mobile phone.

Apple pay uses the same technology as NFC (Near field communication) based cards, this means that you can swipe your phone/card/tag and the card reader will receive the information from it, after just a few seconds of being in contact with each other. This means you can pay very quickly but it has raised some concerns, such as the fact that there is no check on who is using the card. Apple Pay addresses this by asking that when you swipe your phone you simply place your thumb on the fingerprint reader and it checks that you are authorized to use that card.

When money is involved people want to be safe, and during its trail run in South Korea Samsung Pay has given a few users a problem. The people involved all have one thing in common, their phones are rooted, a technique where you modify the operating system the phone uses, this means you can gain access to new features which are blocked by the system normally. Samsung pay doesn’t seem to like this and has been throwing up messaging warning users that they can’t use the app because “the system has been modified”. NFC payment systems, such as Google Wallet, tend not to care about rooting because they never physically handle the information about the payment, they just use tokens to point and share the required information.

Samsung Pay looks to accelerate the pace that Apple Pay has set, with not only the ability to pay in an NFC manner but also featuring another three letter acronym technology, MST (Magnetic Secure Transmission). MST enables you to use your phone to act as if you have swiped your card on a magnetic card reader, such as those found on a lot of payment terminals, this means that you could use Samsung Pay on devices and terminals which don’t support NFC, allowing stores all over to benefit from the latest addition to the payment methods roster.

Thank you Phandroid for the information.

Image courtesy of TheTechy. 

IFixit Tears Down the Brand New Apple Watch

The eight months waiting time since Apple introduced the Apple Watch to the world has been a long wait for some people, but that wait was over yesterday when the Watch officially started to sell. iFixit is well-known for their teardown of Apple products and they’ve of course also taken the Watch in for a close inspection and to find out just exactly what is inside this device.

The teardown is still ongoing while I am writing this piece and it’s being updated in real-time until they’ve taken everything apart that can be taken apart. The watch looks like a solid piece of engineering and the assembly looks great, but then again it has to be perfect if you want to fit this amount of technology and a battery into such a tiny device.

The previously rumoured diagnostics port hidden between the armband and the watch itself was also discovered. iFixit is also taking a closer look at Apples first foray into inductive charging, a thing that many believe will be the future for a lot of mobile devices.

Apple Watch Specifications:

  • Pressure-sensitive, flexible, touchscreen AMOLED Retina display
  • One model measuring 38 mm (vertically) with 272 x 340 pixels (290 ppi), the other model measuring 42 mm (vertically) with 312 x 390 pixels (302 ppi)
  • Custom-designed Apple S1 SiP (System in Package)
  • 8 GB onboard storage
  • NFC + Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n + Bluetooth 4.0
  • Accelerometer + gyroscope + heart rate monitor + microphone + speaker

As previously mentioned, the teardown is still ongoing and you can head over to the official page and stay up to date with the latest findings.

Thank you iFixit for providing us with this information

Buffalo Announced new MiniStation Extreme NFC Portable Hard Drive

Data security is more important than ever, especially for companies who work with a lot of personal details about their customers. Buffalo announced a new external hard drive that doesn’t just come with great physical resistance, it also packs the latest in digital protection. Buffalo’s new portable hard drive is called the MiniStation Extreme NFC and it will be available as both a 1TB and a 2TB version.

The drive has been tested and passed the US military drop test where it can withstand bumps and drops from a height of up to 1.2 meters. The ruggedized chassis and specialized internal bumpers absorb and transfer the shock away from the drive itself. It has also passed the IPX3 test to prove that it can withstand water and splashes and the IPX5 test for dust protection.

The digital side doesn’t just bring a 256-bit AES Full Data Encryption to protect sensitive data, it also comes with an included NFC smart card to protect and unlock the files. You don’t need to remember any passwords and you can ship the card and drive separately for additional protection.

“When examining the rugged portable drive market, many of our competitors focus on being the best at a single metric of device protection while sacrificing other data security capabilities,” said Matt Dargis, COO, Buffalo Americas, Inc. “We designed the MiniStation Extreme NFC to be the most complete rugged portable drive on the market, including features that not only protect against the elements, but also support the latest hardware encryption technology and NFC secure access functionality. We packaged all of this functionality into a sleek, compact design that sets it apart from the competition.”

The MiniStation Extreme NFC comes with an integrated flex connect cable and connects through USB 3.0 for maximum transfer speeds.

The new Buffalo MiniStation Extreme NFC is available now for an MSRP of $129.99 for the 1TB model (HD-PZN1.0U3B) and $199.99 for the 2TB model (HD-PZN2.0U3B). Both are backed by a three-year warranty and comes bundled with TurboPC EX2, Backup Utility, Formatter2, and Lock and Go for NFC.

Nikon Introduces The 1 J5, a Mirrorless camera that takes 4K Video

Nikon just introduced a new addition to its 1 series of mirrorless cameras, the J5.  The J5 has a new 20.8MP VFI CMOS sensor, an XPSA image processor, an ISO range of 160 to 12,800, NFC, and WiFi.

The brand new camera also has a 3″ high res tilting LCD that can flip up and be used from the front for selfies.  The camera can take 1080p video at 30 or 60 frames per second, and there is also an option for 720p video that records at 120fps.  While Nikon did see fit to allow it to capture 4K video it can only record it at 15 frames per second.  The camera is also great at taking still shots in continuous-shooting mode, up to 20 fps with focus enabled and 30 or 60 fps when locked.  The camera will be released soon and will start at $500.

Innovative New Folding Bike Helmet Set For Launch This Spring

Closca has announced its new Fuga helmet that folds down into a smaller size for easy storage. The helmet is made of three shell parts that can collapse down and still remain safe when worn as a helmet.

Closca has stated that the new Fuga helmet has already passed certification testing in Europe, Canada, and the US. The helmet is made up of polystyrene and polycarbonate which are common in bike helmets. The innovative new design of the Fuga has won the Red Dot Design Award 2015. Another feature that you don’t see every day in helmets is that this one is NFC connected, though it is not clear on the specifics of that. The helmet is available for pre-order for $75 and will ship later this spring.

Gigabyte Announces its Lates Brix mini-PC Lineup Featuring Broadwell CPUs and NFC

Gigabyte has announced its new generation of Brix barebones PCs that offer a range of Broadwell CPUs and storage options to customers wanting a small office PC solution.

The new Brixes are said to be available in two sizes, one with room for a 2.5″ storage and another without the latter option. Both solutions are said to come with Intel’s Core i5-5200U or Core i3-5010U CPUs, having a higher model upgradeable to a Core i7-5500U and coming with an additional NFC upgrade.

All new Brix models come with the Intel HD Graphics 5500 and can connect through a HDMI and mini DisplayPort output. The miniaturised PCs also come with Intel wireless-AC cards, allowing them to connect to any wireless source with ease. A small downside to Gigabyte’s Brix lineup is the lack of M.2 storage, having them rely on the mSATA technology.

Up until now, only the Brix BHi3H-5010 model has been spotted on the market with a price tag of $290. The Brix BXi5H-5200, BXi3-5010, BXi5-5200 and BXi7-5500 models are yet to hit the market, but anyone wanting to buy one of them should expect a price tag of between $250 and $500 for the latter models.

Thank you TechReport for providing us with this information

Creative Launches Ultra-light Sound Blaster JAM Bluetooth Headset

Creative released their latest mobile wireless headset, the JAM. The connection to them is created by Bluetooth 4.1 while NFC technology allows for quick and easy one-touch pairing. The headset also doubles up as a pair of Sound Blaster audio-enhanced headphones when connected to a PC via the included USB charging cable.

The headphones provide up to 12 hours wireless audio per battery charge, more than enough for a long day of music blasting from the 32mm Neodynamic drivers. The ergonomic fit of the soft ear cushions is said to ensure comfort even for long periods of times and the headset is overall built from lightweight materials that totals at 83g.

The headset features controls on ear cup, including one-tap bass enhancement. It has built-in noise reduction and an acoustic echo cancellation microphone for voice calls.

The Creative Sound Blaster JAM Bluetooth headset should be available now and is priced at £39.99/$49.99.

Thanks to Creative for providing us with this information

MEElectronics Rumble AF80 Bluetooth Headphones Review

Introduction


Listening to your music on the go is hardly a new trend, we’ve had portable audio since the introduction of devices such as the Sony Walkman; the biggest change in recent years is easily with how we listen to music on the go. Mobile devices act as MP3 players, they offer music streaming services, gaming, movies and of course the least used feature on most people’s phones these days, actual phone calls. Sure all these things can be enjoyed to a certain extent via the built-in speakers and microphones on your device, but for music, movie and games, that may not be the ideal solution. There are many audio solutions on the market for mobile products, such as speaker docks, headphones, headsets and more that all offer ways to expand your audio experience. The latest headset from MEElectronics is packed full of features that make it very appealing to a wide range of users. The headset features wireless technology via Bluetooth, NFC connectivity, a built-in microphone, rechargeable battery, multimedia controls and more!

MEElectronics may not be the first name you think of when purchasing a new headset, but they’re quickly earning a good reputation for creating great quality products and I’m very excited to have my first review sample from them. I’m eager to see how this headset performs and to see if the headset lives up to the hype, so let’s get right to it and see what MEElectronics have to offer to the mobile audio market.

In the box, you’ll find everything you need to get you started. There’s the headset (obviously), a protective pouch to keep them scratch free when not in use, a 3.5mm cable for backwards compatibility with older phones, as well as with none wireless ready devices such as portable games consoles and media players. Finally, there’s also a USB to Micro-USB cable which can be used to charge the built-in battery.

The overall design of the headset is sleek and stylish. The headset itself is quite slender and lightweight, which should bode well for prolonged usage and comfort.

The glossy black exterior of the headband is backed with a warm red, while the ear cups are trimmed with a silver highlight. There’s a microUSB port on the right ear-cup for the charging cable and an optional 3.5mm jack on the left for the AUX cable.

All the major controls are located directly on the side of the ear cup, giving you quick and easy access to the multimedia controls.

The headband has been given a soft rubber coated padding for extra grip and comfort; it shouldn’t slip off your head while walking around. The ear cups are a little small, but they come with a thick and soft padding that feels very comfortable to the touch; they’re designed to be on-the-ear when worn, rather than over-the-ear.

Helping to provide a better fit are the ear cup mounts, a small pivot at the back allows them to move a few degrees in each direction, so they should feel comfortable on any head shape.

The headband is expandable and foldable; just pull the drivers in and they’ll fold up nice and small; this makes them easier to fit into the included protective pouch.

Overall a very stylish set of headphones, a nice mixture of glossy finishes, soft finish padding and unobtrusive control switches.

Google Rolls Out Money Attachments for Gmail in the UK

Google’s ‘Attach money’ feature for Gmail, launched in the US back in 2013, is now being rolled out to UK account holders. The feature transfers funds through e-mail from the user’s Google Wallet account.

Launched in 2011, Google Wallet is a pre-paid mobile payment service that can be linked to a user’s credit card or debit card. Payments for goods and services can be made for online purchases that accept Google Wallet payments, or even in shops that offer NFC transactions via smartphone.

In a blog post announcing the UK launch, Google said, “We’re excited to make this feature available for Gmail users in the UK. ‘This means people in the UK will now be able to quickly and securely send money to friends and family in the UK directly within desktop Gmail.”

Source: Technodrum

Logitech Introduces Portable Videoconferencing Solution

The new Logitech ConferenceCam Connect is a portable all-in-one video conference solution with a design for small and medium sized rooms. It works with any computing device with USB connection like PC, MAC, and Chromebooks and with virtually any video conferencing software: Microsoft Lync and Skype, Cisco Jabber and WebEx, Citrix GoToMeeting, Blue Jeans, Google Hangouts, Lifesize, Vidyo, Zoom, and many more.

“For about the cost of an office chair, businesses of all sizes can now afford to quickly connect with customers, vendors and remote employees anytime and anywhere with the Logitech ConferenceCam Connect,” said Jason Moss, general manager of the Collaboration Group at Logitech. “We believe there is simply no workspace that should not have video conferencing capability, and the ConferenceCam allows us to connect to meetings no matter where we are.”

The portable solution can easily be moved from room to room and around where ever it’s needed at the time. It supports mobile connectivity for screen-mirror projection through Miracast technology and Windows and Android users can connect wirelessly to the ConferenceCam Connect for screen-mirror presentations, spreadsheets, videos or Internet content.

It has a 90-degree field of view with digital pan and tilt, mechanical tilt control, 4x digital Full HD zoom, and ZEISS optics with autofocus. The speakerphone supports both mobile and USB audio calling with features such as Bluetooth, NFC, and USB. The 360-degree sound system allows users within a 12-foot diameter range to hear and be heard, while full duplex sound, acoustic echo, and noise-canceling technology delivers great quality.

It even has a built-in battery for up to 3 hours video conference or up to 15 hours speakerphone use, but it can also run on AC power.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?x-yt-cl=84838260&feature=player_embedded&v=iMmiUjSNsfg&x-yt-ts=1422327029

The Logitech ConferenceCam Connect is expected to be available worldwide in March 2015 at a suggested price of $499, €499 and £449.

Thanks to Logitech for providing us with this information

Toshiba to Unveil Wide Range of Next-Generation Innovations at CES

Toshiba will celebrate their 50th anniversary in the US market next year, and they’re starting that out with showcasing their newest products and vision for the future at the Consumers Electronics Show (CES), January 6th to 9th 2015.

There will be a wide variety of storage solution on display, but the focus seems to be on wireless transmissions this year. This includes products with TransfertJet technology, a close proximity wireless transfer technology, NFC, and Bluetooth smart applications with NFC tag functions. But also FlashAir, a wireless LAN SD memory card that removes the need for card readers and instead uses your wireless connection. The latest line of SSDs, portable hard discs and SD cards will be on display too, of course.

Healthcare gadgets are one of the new big things, and Toshiba will be part of that wave as well. They’ll be presenting their new Wearable Wristband Fitness Tracker, a biosensor device that allows users to take a total approach to managing daily exercise, sleep and diet. Silmee is also mentioned as helpful in disease prevention and care work by enabling analysis of autonomic nerve activity, but I don’t know if that is a wristband device or comes in another shape or form.

As new inventions, there will be a showcase for Toshiba Glass, a B2B solution that enables quick retrieval of manuals and other information while doing maintenance and logistics work away from a computer. A lifelike robot named ChihiraAico will be there as well as body scanning technologies for cloth fitting and much more. An image processor for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) with improved performance during night time with focus on pedestrians recognition will also be presented.

Thanks to Toshiba for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of CNET and Toshiba

Job Posting Confirms Apple Pay International Expansion

A new job posting discovered by iClarified suggests that Apple is hard at work on expanding Apple Pay across Europe, the Middle East, India, and Africa. Apple Pay is currently only available in the United States, with Apple saying that they are “working hard” to bring it to more countries.

The job posting details that there is now a team in London working on bringing the NFC service to more countries.

“Apple Pay is a new and exciting area in Apple that is set to expand across Europe, Middle East, India and Africa. Apple Pay will change the way consumers pay with breakthrough contactless payment technology and unique security features built right into their iPhone 6 or Apple Watch to pay in an easy, secure, and private way. The new London-based Apple Pay team will work to drive the roll-out of this technology across EMEIA by working with a variety of internal and external partners, including teams in the US where the product will first launch and the EMEIA organisation, as well as Issuers, payment networks and merchants across Europe.”

The service was introduced in the US to great acclaim, with users finding the system easy to use, efficient and secure. Oddly, it also brought praise from users and supporters of Google’s Android as Apple’s efforts to get the service accepted by banks and merchants has led to the wider use of NFC-compatibale readers that are of course compatible with any type of NFC payment system, including Google Wallet.

Source: iClarified Via: MacRumors

Astro A38 Gaming Headset Review

Introduction


Astro is one of the hottest gaming brands around. They’re proving a popular choice with pro gamers in the eSports community, as well as winning over consumers with their high-end performance, and premium aesthetics. We’ve reviewed a few products from Astro here at eTeknix and we’ve yet to be disappointed by any of them. The Wireless Astro A50 Multi-format headset (review) and the A40 Audio System 2013 edition (review) still stand as some of the best headsets I’ve ever tested, so I’m eager to see what their latest product has to offer.

The new A38 gaming headset we’re looking at today comes packed full of features. The headset is wireless, thanks to its use of Bluetooth technology, which also offers APTX low latency, AAC high-fidelity audio, active noise cancelling technology and more!

The Astro A38 also features NFC waring and wake up, and an array of integrated microphones for the integrated chat features and noise cancelling technology.

A headset that’s designed for gaming as well as those times you’re on the go, needs a good carry case. Fortunately, the Astro A38 come with a zip up compact hard case that should do a great job of keeping them safe and scratch free.

On the interior of the case you’ll find a snug pocket for your cables; there’s a USB to MicroUSB cable included.

The headset is really nicely designed, not only does it look unique, but it also feels fantastic thanks to the lavish soft touch rubbery finish.

Since this is a wireless headset, all the controls are located on the headset its self. On one drive you’ll find a small toggle switch for the microphone mute button, the power and call buttons. Here you can also see how the ear cups can be rotated 90 degrees.

The other ear cup has the volume controls and a microUSB port tucked away on the bottom for charging the internal battery.

As with most Astro headsets, the backplates on the ear cups are held in place with magnets. You can pull the covers off to customise them, or you can buy pre-customised ones from the Astro web store.

The headset is designed to sit on the ear. It features a unique design to its thick padding and its incredibly comfortable to wear.

The ear cups are offset from the headband; this unique shape provides a more comfortable and natural fit. The headband has a really good range of extension, making the A38 suitable for a wide range of head sizes. Because it can be made so small, it should also be suitable for use by younger games.

there’s only a small padded section on the headband, but the padding is soft and grippy; more than enough to keep the headset from slipping off your head. Despite the wireless technology and the internal battery, the headset is light weight and it more than comfortable to wear.

This is easily one of the more unique headsets I’ve ever tested, but it’s also one of the coolest looking.

Speedlink Gantry Portable Bluetooth Speaker Review

Introduction


It’s no secret that mobile phones lack impressive audio. There have been many developments in the mobile market over the years, with phones getting better bass, louder speakers and more. However, it’s still not enough to satisfy the needs of someone like myself who loves to blast out a few albums every day. My phone (a Sony Xperia Z1) sounds pretty decent, but without headphones it’s really not a great way to listen to music.

Today I’ll be taking a look at the Gantry, a mobile Bluetooth speaker with NFC support from Speedlink. It promises to offer a big performance boost for your mobile audio, while being significantly more portable that a full-size dock. It features a USB rechargeable battery and a downward firing bass speaker port for extra punch.

Specifications

  • Active wireless Bluetooth speaker
  • NFC function for easy Bluetooth pairing
  • Bass-reflex Downfire function for powerful bass
  • Integrated Li-polymer battery
  • Wireless range of up to 10m
  • Integrated microphone for hands-free phone calls
  • Up to 5hrs’ battery life – USB chargeable
  • Charging and audio cable included
  • Rubberised coating

In the box you will find the speaker, a simple user guide, a 3.5mm male-to-male cable and a USB to microUSB charging cable.

The Gantry comes with a red mesh finish on the front, behind which you’ll find a pair of small stereo speakers.

On the base of the unit are four rubber grips to prevent it sliding around your desk, as well as four small holes that will help push better bass levels.

There is an NFC tag built into the right side, just tap your compatible phone against it and it’ll pair up the Bluetooth.

Around the back you’ll find the AUX line-in, a microUSB charging port and a master power switch.

On the top you will find the volume, skip track and a multifunction play/pause/answer call button.

Super Smash Bros. For Wii U Sells Nearly 500,000 Copies in Three Days

After a shaky first year, the growth of Nintendo’s Wii U – in the wake of impressive sales of Mario Kart 8, which doubled sales of the console – continues with the success of Super Smash Bros. For Wii U, which has sold over 490,000 copies in just three days since its release, making it the fastest-selling Wii U game in the console’s short history.

Nintendo hope that another rise in console sales – like with Mario Kart 8 – is set to follow Super Smash Bros.’ strong showing. But Nintendo have another potential cash cow ace up their sleeve, that they hope will benefit from proximity to Super Smash Bros., called Amiibo. Amiibo are a series of character figures – such as Link from the Zelda games, or Fox from the eponymous Star Fox series – similar to the Skylander figurines, that can connect to Wii U or 3DS via NFC. They are compatible with Super Smash Bros. and offers players stats boosts and unlockable content.

Source: TechCrunch

Square Bringing Apple Pay to Small Businesses

We’ve recently reported on Apple Pay coming to your mobile phone through their technology advancements, now news has come to light that a credit card processing service for small firms called Square is looking to bring it to the wider audience. The original list of participating Apple Pay stores was completely dominated by big names, leaving the small fish in some hot water.

In basic terms, Square is described as a mobile credit-card reader that allows a small business to process payments without needing a terminal. Originally seen as a competitor to Apple Pay, Square’s founder Jack Dorsey has publicly stated that his companies service is designed to function as  “a [cash] register, and this register accepts all these forms of payments”, not a competitor to Apple’s newly announced technology. Adding to this, he is planning to integrate Apple Pay compatibility into his existing model with development said to commence in 2015.

CNN reported that this change will require a hardware update into Square’s existing technology, which currently serves as a module that plugs into smartphones. However, we’ve come to learn that most smartphones with NFC capabilities will quite possibly allow Square’s Apple Pay integration to work flawlessly without touching any hardware upgrades. If you’re a small business and are planning to use Apple pay, it’s about time you grabbed yourself a Nexus 5 or later model phone.

This is some good news for small business owners for sure, once again opening up another portal for their customers to pay with ease. We’re waiting with baited breath to see if, when and how Apple Pay takes off in the mainstream market.

Image courtesy of Engadget

Get Friends to Use Google Wallet – Get Up To $100

Got an Android device? Got 20 friends with Android devices that currently don’t have a Google Wallet balance?

Well send each of them a penny (20 cents) and you could easily get up to $100 in return.

Google has announced a referral program for Google Wallet, encouraging people to use the service. All you have to do is send a friend any amount of money and you’ll get $5 in return. You are allowed to do that up to 20 times, meaning you could easily convert 20 cents into $100.

You and your friends have to be in the US and the program lasts until the end of the month, or until Google racks up 20,000 referrals (which will probably be very soon).

Source: The Next Web

Apple’s Eddy Cue Makes Rare Appearance on Local TV

In a bizarre move for the usually private Apple Senior Vice Presidents, the company’s SVP for Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue, was seen in a local news report demoing Apple Pay yesterday (Monday).

The very open report focuses on the new payment system, with Eddy and the reporter going on a shopping trip together. Apple Pay was first released in the US last month to good reviews, with some suggesting that the new system could be the death knell for credit cards. Although NFC systems such as Google Wallet have existed before it, Apple’s force in negotiating agreements with banks has meant big changes have come rapidly to US merchants, leading to a significant number of stores that previously didn’t accept NFC payments now doing so, at the benefit of all NFC services.

Source: MacRumors

Tt eSPORTS Sybaris Wired & Wireless Bluetooth NFC Enabled Headset Review

Introduction


Tt eSPORTS are a powerful force in the gaming market these days, they’ve got a wide range of gaming peripherals that have won countless awards for them around the world, and a fair few of them came from us here at eTeknix. Their gaming keyboards and mice are some of the best in the business, and in recent years they’ve also been creating so absolutely stunning gaming headsets too. So when I heard that they had a new Tt eSPORTS gaming headset to review, I was very happy indeed and the Sybaris certainly sounds like a headset worthy of excitement. Not only does it operate on your desktop via a wired connection, but you can also pair it via NFC / Bluetooth to your mobile device, perfect for when you need to get up from your desk and actually venture out into the server known as “outside”.

A lot of headsets are now dual function, as very few people like the idea of having to spend money on two premium headsets, one for desktop and one for mobile use. Especially when the difference is usually nothing more than the cable that connects them. Buying a multi-format headset is a great way of saving money, but also getting more value from the product, so it will be interesting to see how the Sybaris performs in both wireless and wired applications. With a price tag of around £80 it is far from cheap and for this price range I’ll be expecting excellent performance and build quality, as well as a decent range of features to compete with other similarly priced headsets such as the Astro A30 and MadCatz FREQM.

As you can see from the specifications below, the Sybaris features two high quality 40mm drivers, a bi-directional microphone, APTX lossless streaming, Bluetooth 4.0 and a good quality rechargeable battery.

The packaging is nicely designed with a clear image of the headset and the microphone on the front, as well as a quick run down of the major features.

Around the back we have a more detailed breakdown of the specifications, but of course we’ll take a closer look at the features in just a moment.

The slip cover comes off to reveal a presentation box, inside which you’ll find a very nicely packed headset with protective film on all the sensitive glossy areas.

Behind the headset was a nice collection of accessories; a protective pouch, mobile / mp3 cable, in line controller and PC cable, detachable boom microphone and a micro USB recharging cable.

MediaTek Announces Its Quad-Core Cortex-A7 MT8127 Soc Featuring the Mali-450 MP4 GPU

MediaTek has just announced its newest addition to its SoC empire, the MT8127, which is said to offer full hardware support for the new HEVC or H.265 video playback standard, allowing videos to play with an average of up to 50% less video bandwidth consumption compared to the previous H.264 standard.

The MediaTek MT8127 is said to feature connectivity solutions such as Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, FM reciever and GPS, having the SoC target the super-mid market given its advanced multimedia features, great performance, low power consumption and affordable price. The company also states that the MT8127 allows manufacturers to shorten the time and costs of delivering the product on the market.

In terms of performance, the MT8127 is said to feature a Cortex-A6 Quad-Core processor having it clocked at 1.5 GHz as well as the Quad-Core ARM Mali-450 MP4 GPU. Other features offered by the MT8127 SoC includes low-power consumption, Full HD 1080p video playback and recording and 13 MP camera support. In addition to the latter, the MT8127 also comes with MediaTek’s MiraVision for excellent image quality and Miracast as well as NFC, providing easy content sharing between devices.

Mediatek announced that the MT8127 will be featured in Alcatel’s Onetouch Pixi 8 tablet which will be launched later this year.

Thank you MediaTek for providing us with this information

Quixter Shows How Your Palm Can One Day Replace A Credit Card

Quixter, created by engineering student Fredrik Leifland at Lund University, aims to replace the standard method of  paying at your local retailer by removing the need for a card or device completely. Instead it uses your palm and a phone number. NFC was aimed to speed things up by allowing you to just wave a device over a machine. But there’s still a lack of NFC-enabled devices on the market and it still requires a device be present.

The technology works by integrating a biometric scanner into the payment device. Then, once signed up, the user can pay simply by allowing their palm to be scanned for a couple of seconds and then entering the last four digits of their phone number. It’s secure because every vein pattern in a hand is unique. It’s also very convenient as you aren’t fumbling in your pocket for the thing that allows you to pay.

Quixter is only working as a system at Lund University right now with 1,600 users. It’s possible that it may expand into the consumer space, but for now NFC looks like the safer bet.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s1fJLZAtD2Q[/youtube]

Thank you to Tech Crunch for providing us with this information.

Wireless Calling With The Help Of An Earpiece Discovered In The Upcoming TalkBand B1

There is a lot of competition going around in the wearable devices market, having manufacturers keeping it a secret, with a few leaks every now and then. However, just as HTC, Huawei isn’t keeping it a secret.

Therefore, its ‘unexpected’ reveal of the TalkBand B1 shown us exactly what it has revealed about the smartband in the past, having a 1.4-inch flexible OLED display. Though we learn of a new feature added to the TalkBand B1, and that is its support for wireless calling, having a removable earpiece hidden inside it.

The earpiece now explains why the 14.6 mm thick bulk is for, it is designed to be the hidden compartment for the feature and not just a bump in the smartband. Aside from that, it also presents the usual fitness tracking features, such as caloric burning analysis.

There is also a sleeping pattern monitor, having it be a smart alarm to wake up the user at an optimal time. Besides that, it also has NFC for easier pairing with phones and a 90 mAh battery which is said to last six days (having a two hour long charging process).

No pricing has been revealed for the TalkBand B1 just yet, though it is said to be released in China next month, followed by the rest of the world in Q2.

Thank you Endgadget for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Endgadget

PayPal Worried About Apple’s Payment Method, Attempts To Stike Partnership

Having recent news reveal Apple’s initiative to extent into the mobile payment system, it seems that PayPal was not ignorant to the extensive plans of the iPhone maker giant. PayPal wants a part in Cupertino’s project, according to news from Re/Code.

Sources from Re/Code state that Apple is capable of releasing a mobile payment system without PayPal’s help, but they could not rule out the possibility of some type of partnership between the two companies. Apple is allegedly focusing on the iPhone for its mobile payment system, though details on how the phone will process payments is not known.

Having looking for clues, we see that recent patents point to iBeacon, having recent changes point to the use of NFC and Bluetooth. Apple recently deployed iBeacons throughout its retail chain of stores, while retailers like American Eagle and Safeway are experimenting with the technology in limited trials.

Looking at the big picture, it all adds together, having Eddie Cue meeting a while ago with industry executives “to discuss Apple’s interest in handling payments for physical goods and services on its devices.” and Tim Cook’s confession during the earning conference call that the mobile payment area was “one of the thoughts behind Touch ID” in the iPhone 5s.

Thank you Macrumors for providing us with this information

German Judge States Nokia Should Be Granted Injunction Against All HTC Devices

A German judge has ruled that Nokia should be granted an injunction against all HTC handsets running Android. Judge Dr. Matthias Zigann of the Munich I Regional Court found the devices to be in violation of a broad patent related to a method for transferring resource information across Bluetooth or NFC according to a report from FOSS Patents.

HTC is in between a rock and a hard place in Germany following the ruling. In the event the company can’t come up with a chance to appeal, Nokia could then enforce the injunction which would put a stop to all sales of HTC devices running Android.

And to make matters worse, this isn’t a temporary injunction like we’ve seen so many times before. If Nokia is eventually successful, they would be able to keep the offending devices off store shelves indefinitely.

A victory here could have far-reaching ramifications for other handset makers as well. That’s because the broad patent essentially describes a method used by handset makers to transfer data between devices. True, there’s still Wi-Fi as an option but near-field communication and Bluetooth are both commonly used among Android devices.

This is the second favorable ruling for Nokia against HTC this month. Previously, Nokia won a case that would have required HTC to remove devices from store shelves but HTC made a change that circumvented the infringement. It’ll be interesting to see whether or not HTC can make similar changes this time around to once again thwart Nokia’s injunction.

Thank you Tech Spot for providing us with this information