Features

Star Wars gadgets and accessories gift guide

Published

on

The Star Wars hype is in full swing with the much-anticipated release of the latest addition to the its saga, Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

If you or someone you know is a hardcore Star Wars junkie, there’s no shortage of toys, gadgets, and accessories inspired by this pop culture darling. There’s something for everyone, whether for you or for someone you hold dear.

Get ready to geek out!

Sphero Droids: BB-8, R2-D2, BB-9E

This is the adorable droid that rolled into our hearts back in 2015. It was launched right before the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens which is the first film in the new Star Wars trilogy.

And little BB-8 isn’t alone anymore; accompanying it is Luke Skywalker’s partner droid R2-D2, and the dark side droid that’s set to make its big screen debut in the latest Star Wars film, BB-9E.

Buy Sphero R2-D2 

Buy Sphero BB-8

Buy Sphero BB-9E

Star Wars: Jedi Challenges

I chose Star Wars: Jedi Challenges as My GadgetMatch for 2017 because playing it is an absolute blast! There are a few kinks here and there that can be improved on, but nothing beats the adrenaline rush of dueling with lightsabers against Darth Maul and other pawns from the dark side in augmented reality (AR).

You’ll need to catch your breath after a few lightsaber duels. Good thing there’s a strategy game and Holo Chess that can help you cool down.

Buy Star Wars: Jedi Challenges

OnePlus 5T Star Wars Limited Edition

Not to be outdone, OnePlus also announces a limited Star Wars edition of its latest flagship, the OnePlus 5T.

The design looks like it’s patterned after a First Order Stormtrooper. Fingers crossed they clone this phone like crazy so there’s enough to go around.

Samsung Star Wars POWERbots robotic vacuums

If you’ve always wanted to order Darth Vader around, this might be the closest you can get.

Samsung turned its smart vacuum into arguably everyone’s favorite Sith Lord and his minions. Through an app, you can command these dark side enforcers to literally do the dirty work for you.

Buy Darth Vader vacuum

Buy Stormtrooper vacuum

UBTECH Robotics’ Star Wars First Order Stormtrooper

Speaking of ordering stormtroopers around, this voice command-enabled robot will do exactly what you tell it to.

It also has other nifty features like first- and third-person AR modes, facial recognition so it knows you’re the boss, and sentry patrolling where it guards an area you specify. Although I’m not sure how effective that last feature will be, given how stormtroopers are notorious for missing their target.

Buy Star Wars First Order Storm Trooper Robot

Accessories from a galaxy far, far away

The fun doesn’t end with those Star Wars gadget goodies. There are plenty of accessories you can surround yourself with so you can start feeling like the Force is strong within you.

We know R2-D2 is useful, but did you know it can do all these?

Star Wars R2-D2 AC / USB Power Station

Let this droid provide you power.

Buy R2-D2 power station

Star Wars R2-D2 USB Car Charger

Even when you’re on the go.

Buy R2-D2 car charger

Star Wars R2-D2 Coffee Press

Need to make coffee? No problem!

Buy R2-D2 coffee press

Star Wars R2-D2 Measuring Cup Set

It can even help you in the kitchen.

R2-D2 — such a versatile droid. Now onto other Star Wars goodies!

Buy R2-D2 measuring cup

Star Wars LIGHT UP Chop Sabers

Sushi, sashimi, and maki don’t stand a chance when you wield these weapons.

Buy Lightsaber chopsticks

Star Wars BB-8 Lamps

Available as a desktop lamp or life-size, let BB-8 be your light in the middle of darkness.

Buy BB-8 desk lamp

Buy BB-8 floor lamp

Bonus: Lenovo Yoga 920 Star Wars Special Edition

Feel like spending a lot? Get this one for someone truly special or for yourself. You’re special, after all.

Launched alongside Jedi Challenges is the special Star Wars edition of Lenovo’s Yoga 920. It’s still the same lean mean bending machine, but highlighted by symbols die-hard Star Wars fans will recognize.

Buy Galactic Empire Yoga 910

Buy Rebel Alliance Yoga 910

Whether you’re with the Jedi or fancy the Sith, there are plenty of these gadgets and accessories to choose from. Which one will you cop and what other Star Wars-themed things would you like to see? Sound off in the comments section below!

SEE ALSO: GadgetMatch Awards: Lifestyle Favorites of 2017

Hands-On

Huawei MateBook X Pro hands-on

The most unusual camera placement

Published

on

Huawei’s newest release isn’t a smartphone and yet, this new device is also making news.

Released in Barcelona at MWC 2018, the Huawei MateBook X Pro is a powerhouse wrapped in one handsome package.

This machine looks sleek and feels premium. It’s very compact and it has a good weight to it — manageable for a laptop, but not too light for it to feel cheap.

It’s about the same size as a MacBook Pro and about the same thickness. Side by side with the Apple laptop, you see the glaring similarity in size.

At its thinnest point, it folds to 14.6mm. It houses two USB-C ports (yay!), a USB-A port (the option not to live a dongle life!), and audio input (double yay!). The premium metal unibody comes in two colors: space gray or mystic silver.

The Huawei MateBook X Pro has a beautiful 13.9-inch screen, bright and vivid at 450 nits. Look at those almost non-existent bezels! This laptop’s screen-to-body ratio is a whopping 91 percent.

And as if that wasn’t enough laptop screen goodness, the MateBook X Pro has 10-point touchscreen capabilities!

Now seeing all that screen, you may be wondering: Where is the webcam?

Because the laptop’s screen bezels are so small, there obviously isn’t any space for the camera. Huawei has a very interesting camera placement solution.

They put the laptop cam on the keyboard! Yes, you heard that right. This button on the keyboard turns into a camera!

Though pretty ingenious, the camera placement still makes for awkward photo angles. (But really, what laptop cameras can take photos that look good, right?) What’s great about this “recessed camera,” however, is the fact that its placement promises ensured privacy when the camera’s not in use — you’re not going to need tape on that webcam anymore!

The device also has a pretty wide trackpad on it — the better to work on!

What really impressed me was how loud this thing’s quad-speaker setup is. At MWC, I accidentally played a video as we were shooting this, and trust me, the whole room heard it. Even better, the whole room heard it in Dolby Atmos, which this device is capable of.

It also has a quad-mic system which means the laptop can hear and record you perfectly from all 360 degrees.

This machine is powered by an Intel Core i7 or i5 processor with memory of either 8GB or 16GB and storage options of 256GB or 512GB. It’s also equipped with an NVIDIA GeForce MX150 graphics card. That means you should be good for tasks like video editing, or even light to casual gaming. It has a battery capacity of 57.4Wh which totals 12 hours of video playback — that’s a lot of show episodes, people!

Of course, this device is capable of Huawei Share which is an easy transfer solution powered by Bluetooth from any Huawei device to the MateBook X Pro. If you’re on a Huawei phone, this creates a great fuss-free ecosystem between gadgets.

SEE ALSO: 24 hours in San Diego with the Huawei Mate 10

SEE ALSO: Follow our MWC 2018 coverage!

Continue Reading

Automotive

Explainer: 4 electric car myths, debunked

What you should know about the car of the future

Published

on

Did you know that the first electric vehicle was invented by Scottish inventor Robert Anderson in 1832? Back then, electricity-powered cars were nothing but curiosities and novelties. Now, electric vehicles are readying themselves to take over the car industry in just a few decades.

As with all revolutionary technology, reception for electric cars is lukewarm at best. Most consumers are still wary with converting to full electric, citing an unstable and uncertain future for the industry.

With the car and fuel industry hanging in the balance, gas car companies have a lot to gain by downplaying the benefits of electric vehicles. Due to the lack of information available, unproven myths inevitably pop up. Myths, as always, need to be debunked especially when electric cars overtake gas car production.

Myth 1: Electric cars are more expensive than gas cars

The cost of an electric vehicle is the most hotly contested aspect of EVs. Admittedly, the world’s most famous electric car, the Tesla Model S, still falls under the luxury car category. The battery-powered car still hovers around the US$ 100,000 range.

Budget-friendlier alternatives are out now, but their price ranges are still a bit more than a conventional car. The Chevrolet Bolt and the Nissan Leaf both cost around US$ 40,000, for example.

Illustrations by Yanni Panesa

 

Additionally, installing a home charging station compounds that price by about US$ 600.

It’s no surprise that most consumers are turned off by the exorbitant costs of EVs. However, the one-time price tag fails to show how much cheaper it is in the long run.

Right now, the cost of one kilowatt-hour (the standard for EVs) is below the cost of one liter of gasoline. Roughly estimating, one kWh costs 20 cents, while one liter of gas costs US$ 1, according to today’s standards.

The Nissan Leaf carries a 40kWh battery. Charging it to full will cost 40kWh x US$ 0.20 = US$ 8. Meanwhile, a 40L gas car will cost 40L x US$ 1 = US$ 40. Added with a much steeper maintenance cost, gasoline vehicles will quickly overtake the cost of EVs in the long run. (Of course, actual costs will still vary on usage, real prices, and road conditions.)

Myth 2: EVs don’t perform as well as gas cars

Don’t be fooled. Even if EVs are remarkably silent on the road, they are hiding powerful engines that are quickly catching up to the standards of speed today.

At their core, gasoline vehicles are inherently faulty. Their emissions aren’t only a hit on air pollution; they also mean that a car wastes a huge portion of their energy through heat, smoke, and other harmful pollutants.

On the other hand, EVs convert up to 62 percent of their stored energy for movement. For comparison, gas cars only use up 21 percent of their energy.

In terms of mileage, EVs can travel up to 193 kilometers on a full charge, adequate for a day’s worth of traveling. However, gas cars still rule the road by hundreds of kilometers more. It’s only a matter of time before EVs catch up, though. The industry-leading Tesla Model S 100D already tops out at 530+ kilometers.

Finally, when it comes to speed, EVs can do well to catch up with you in traffic. For example, both the Nissan Leaf and the Chevrolet Bolt reach speeds of up to 150km/h. While the more widely available EVs can still be woefully left in the dirt on a straightaway, the Tesla Model X blazes through with a top speed of 250km/h.

Amid all of this, EVs do their jobs quietly. If you’re not paying attention, an EV can sneak up on you from behind. Besides air pollution, EVs avoid noise pollution, too.

Myth 3: Maintaining an EV is more trouble than it’s worth

Both an EV and a gas car take you from one place to the other. EVs just do it with far fewer components. Unlike conventional cars, EVs aren’t frequent visitors to the mechanics. Fewer parts mean fewer components to maintain.

That doesn’t mean that everything is breezy, though. Replacing the battery is a nightmare for your budgeting. For example, a Nissan Leaf replacement battery costs US$ 5,499.

Thankfully, batteries are a lot more durable than you would expect. The Nissan Leaf guarantees a battery life of eight years or 100,000 miles (or approximately 161,000 kilometers). Most electric car brands already offer warranties (including replacements) before their batteries expire. Moreover, electric car batteries are completely recyclable. You might even get a trade-in return for your old battery.

Currently, the only hurdle impeding an electric car’s maintenance is the lack of able mechanics who specialize in EVs. On the bright side, by the time that you’ll need a thorough repair on your EV, the employment industry will have evolved to accommodate your needs.

Myth 4: Electric vehicles are the saviors of the environment

There is no doubt that EVs eliminate the carbon emissions that gas cars will always emit. Even from their construction, EVs carry a design trait that puts them beyond gas cars: They don’t have a tailpipe.

Currently, 75 percent of air pollution comes from motor vehicles. With their energy-efficient design, EVs eliminate the pollution caused by carbon emission. Converting to an EV is one of the greenest decisions you can make to save the environment.

However, it has its own fair share of gray areas. Critics often share the myth that EVs only displace the emissions from the tailpipe to a coal plant’s smoke stack.

Which is partly true.

 

On their own, the world’s main methods of producing power are terribly unprepared for a sudden surge in demand. Despite recent developments in renewable energy, coal power is still the world’s leading generator of electricity.

Hypothetically, if everyone in the world adopted EVs right now, coal plants would have to exponentially increase their output, creating more smokestack emissions as a result.

Luckily, the world isn’t ready to go full EV yet. Early predictions still date the takeover to 2040. We still have a lot of time to adjust our energy consumption for more energy-efficient means, like solar, hydro, and nuclear.

In reality, EVs can’t save the world by themselves. The myth that they just displace damage is only half-true. However, the environment can’t survive with 50 percent solutions. It has to rely on us changing our perspectives on energy.

Electric vehicles are the future. But with unchecked energy consumption rates, that future can look quite grim.

SEE ALSO: The Best Car Tech of CES 2018

Continue Reading

Features

All that we can expect from Nokia at MWC 2018

We’re looking forward to all of them!

Published

on

Nokia 6 (2017)

Under the helm of HMD Global, Nokia rose back as one of the popular mobile phone brands that fully embraces Android. While the journey back to the top is still a long way to go, Nokia continues to pique our interest in their new and upcoming releases.

With Mobile World Congress 2018 just a couple of days away, let’s have a quick recap of what we can expect from Nokia’s announcement in Barcelona.

Nokia 1

Google already confirmed that we’re seeing the first batch of Android Go-powered phones at MWC 2018, and one them could be the long-rumored Nokia 1. There’s not much to expect from the device, because it’s a low-end smartphone. It’s rumored to have a pocketable HD display with 1GB of memory and 8GB of storage, which is enough to run Android Go.

For those unoriented, Android Go is a lightweight version of Android specially developed for entry-level phones, but it’s not the same as Android One.

Nokia 7 Plus

Speaking of Android One, Nokia is also expected to unwrap their Android One smartphone, the Nokia 7 Plus. If the Nokia 1 with Android Go is targeted for those who are on a tight budget, the Nokia 7 Plus will be a midrange phone.

According to previous rumors, it’ll have a 6-inch Full HD+ display with an 18:9 aspect ratio. A Snapdragon 660 processor will power the phone along with an ample 4GB of memory and 64GB of storage.

Keeping in with the trend, it’ll have two rear cameras with Zeiss-branded lenses. The fingerprint reader is positioned at the back since the front is occupied by the near-borderless display.

Nokia 9

Nokia’s next flagship is quite confusing to determine. There have been many rumors about it but none as concrete as the Nokia 1 or 7 Plus. When it comes to its name, the premium Nokia phone might be called the Nokia 9 which is one number higher than the previous flagship.

Being a 2018 flagship, the Nokia 9 is expected to sport the latest specs and design including an edge-to-edge display with curved sides ala Samsung Galaxy S8 and dual rear cameras with Zeiss optics. It’s also rumored to sport the latest Snapdragon 845 processor (as it should) and unique colors like the Nokia 8’s.

Nokia 8 Sirocco

Lastly, there are also rumors about the return of Nokia’s prestige Sirocco branding. If you guys can still remember the golden years of Nokia, Sirocco-branded phones have the most premium craftsmanship among Nokia’s lineup. Interestingly, HMD Global has trademarked the Nokia 8 Sirocco name.

Nokia 8800 Sirocco

The Nokia 8 Sirocco is likely to feature an OLED display, dual-selfie cameras, and added storage, but the rest of the specs like the Snapdragon 835 processor and memory are expected to carry over from the original Nokia 8. Even the design might be similar, but with more premium craftsmanship.

Nothing’s official, so take everything with a grain of salt. We’ll be covering Nokia’s event at MWC 2018 live, so stay tuned here on GadgetMatch!

Continue Reading

Trending