Welcome to Gadget Dreams and Nightmares, the column that takes the newly announced gadget for a fictional test run, rendering the verdict long before it hits the shelves.
This weekend: Samsung’s latest mid-range smartphone, a gesture-based ring, shiny headphones and more.
As always, these are first impression opinions and not reviews. The rating is only an indicator of my desire to use each item.
Another interplanetary phone
Samsung has another mid-range smartphone in the Galaxy A7 (picture above). Sure, it’s thin, fast, strong and everything else – but that’s it.
There is a voice-activated selfie tool, which I think is great if you are in a selfie and are not asking someone to take a picture of you like a normal person.
Samsung and Apple, the two biggest players in the smartphone market, probably have too much to say to actually do something new on killer features like stellar battery life or second e-ink screens.
The A7 looks like a pedestrian update to an important line, and I casually tend to take a walk and wait for something really impressive.
Keep your fingers in the air
Fujitsu has offered a description of the most ridiculous item we’ll possibly see this year, and it’s in mid-January.
Its smart ring provides motion control and a sensor that turns text you type into the air into text – you know, when you can’t type letters on a phone’s keyboard or write in an app Can, because your hand suffers from this narrowness.
Remote for the home
A major concern of mine about having a fully connected house is the disparity between platforms and the inability to control everything from one central center. Attempts are being made to fix some, including Neo.
Its crowdfunded remote control lords have not only home entertainment, but all manner of devices scattered throughout the house. This is a very small thing, and individual user profiles, including parental controls, are a nice touch.
I like the idea of sitting back on my couch and using the same remote to control the TV, lights, thermostat, toaster, electric blanket, washing machine, rumba and kitchen sink. If it works as well as promised, then Neyo is on a winner.
Beauty in sound
Bang and Olufsen have long offered beautiful gadgets, and the BeoSound Moment and BeoPlay H8 are no exception. Notable are tablet-esque music controllers and wireless headphones.
Moment, in particular, thanks to its gorgeous wooden touch-sensitive surface.
I like it a ton, especially for its connectivity to music-streaming services, the ability to learn my taste, and the color wheel that plays music based on my mood. Completely beautiful.
The headphones lagged a bit behind my need-to-be-right-now list, though they still sound great on their own. I’m sure they sound great, and I can use a set of quality noise-canceling headphones for my commute.
The Leotte Tech handbag is essentially useless to me, but it is a wicked useful looking accessory, and one I’m sure many would find attractive.
It is a handbag with a built-in battery to charge devices on the go, and lights on the inside to help the wearer, whatever item they need.
The bag is inherently very heavy, given additional hardware, and the secret compartment on the bottom is not seen as having a practical purpose.
Still, consolidated items (say, a handbag and portable charger) are a good thing, especially when one can carry them throughout the day.
Like to count
The flap is also an item that I personally would not use, although I doubt I would enjoy seeing its nifty analog ticker in the storefront of small businesses to let them know that they are on Twitter and Facebook and other social networks But how popular they are.
If nothing else, these can help me as a social media consultant identify key target clients for a potential side career. Or trick yourself into the middle of the road counting a company’s pathetic Twitter followers.