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Stuff.co.nz - Gadgets



Top Stories from Stuff.co.nz. New Zealand, world, sport, business & entertainment news on Stuff.co.nz.



Copyright: Fairfax New Zealand Ltd.
 



Most Googled gadget of 2017

Mon, 18 Dec 2017 08:57:55 +1300

Smartphones dominated in 2017.


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Samsung may announce Galaxy S9 in February

Mon, 18 Dec 2017 08:21:05 +1300

Samsung is said to be planning to debut its next flagship smartphone in February, presenting Apple's iPhone X with a sooner-than-expected challenger.


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Surface Book 2 review: the ultimate laptop for work and play

Thu, 14 Dec 2017 11:46:29 +1300

The original Surface Book practically perfected the convertible laptop design, offering a great tablet experience while making sure the machine wasn't limited when you used it as a standard computer, so it comes as no surprise that the design hasn't really changed in the years since.


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Amazon wants a key to your house. I did it. I regretted it

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 12:45:15 +1300

I gave Amazon.com a key to go into my house and drop off packages when I'm not around.

After two weeks, it turns out letting strangers in has been the least-troubling part of the experience.

Once Amazon owned my door, I was the one locked into an all-Amazon world.

When Amazon first floated the idea of Amazon Key, an internet-connected lock it can access, people had two responses. 1) THIS IS CREEPY. 2) I kind of want this, so my packages don't get stolen.

READ MORE:
* Amazon Key is Silicon Valley at its most out of touch

* Creepy or convenient? Amazon to sell smart locks so it can slip packages into your home

But make no mistake, the US$250 (NZ$362) Amazon Key isn't just about stopping thieves. It's the most aggressive effort I've seen from a tech giant to connect your home to the internet in a way that puts itself right at the centre.


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Feilding youngsters eager to take on the robotics world in United States

Sat, 09 Dec 2017 13:24:57 +1300

A group of Manawatū pupils are taking the robotics world by storm as they prepare for their second world championships.


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Top tech gifts for Christmas

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 13:16:56 +1300

Gadgets are a popular gift to give at Christmas but it can be tricky picking the right one.


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Why I prefer my iPhone 6s over the iPhone 8 Plus

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 10:56:14 +1300

A few weeks ago, one of my worst tech fears was realised: I cracked my iPhone screen.


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What I learned when my laptop died

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 09:37:43 +1300

Last week my laptop died. Well, that's not strictly true – its power socket did after a power surge blew it out, rendering it impossible to recharge.


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Smart speakers finally coming to NZ

Tue, 05 Dec 2017 10:49:42 +1300

OPINION: Smart speakers, which are praised for their usefulness and criticised for their creepiness, are finally coming to New Zealand.


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Google's phones and other gadgets have had a bumpy ride

Mon, 04 Dec 2017 09:00:05 +1300

Google, which prides itself on developing simple, intuitive software that seems to know what you want almost before you do, is finding itself in a very different world when it comes to its own phones and other gadgets.


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The thrills and frustrations of smart toys

Thu, 30 Nov 2017 12:32:59 +1300

Sometimes it's hard to see how technology has progressed over the past few decades.


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How to use your iPhone in 'dark mode'

Tue, 28 Nov 2017 11:39:18 +1300

Thanks to a new feature in iOS 11, you can finally give your iPhone a form of "dark mode."


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Ka-ching: Why this year's top tech gifts cost so much

Thu, 23 Nov 2017 08:47:54 +1300

You may notice something different about the prices of the tech products that companies are pushing the hardest this year: They're four digits.


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4K TV: Should you get one this year? Here's how to decide

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 08:58:20 +1300

They are likely never wrapped - who wants to wrestle with all that wrapping paper? - but big-screen televisions historically top holiday wish lists.


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Why Apple's HomePod is three years behind Amazon's Echo

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 08:24:57 +1300

Apple audio engineers had been working on an early version of the HomePod speaker for about two years in 2014 when they were blindsided by the Echo, a smart speaker from Amazon with a voice-activated assistant named Alexa.


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Apple finds interns worked illegal overtime on iPhone X

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 07:58:58 +1300

Apple found that its main supplier in Asia has been employing high-school students working illegal overtime to assemble the iPhone X.


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Review: Kindle Oasis, the joys of a good e-book

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 11:53:49 +1300

With a larger screen and waterproof design, Amazon's new Kindle Oasis is for well-heeled readers who struggle to put down a good book.

Starting at NZ$400, the Oasis has dropped in price but is still the most expensive Kindle by far. In return it steps up to a 7-inch screen, with the extra space letting you see more text, or else bump up the font size. Despite this, it's barely larger or heavier than the others in the stable.

It's beautifully balanced and comfortable to hold for hours, while the screen looks fantastic and is easy on the eyes.

Onboard storage is also bumped up to 8GB or 32GB, although you'd only need the latter if you're a fan of Audible audio books, which take up about 150MB each.


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Learning to love robots and even hugging them

Tue, 21 Nov 2017 09:30:09 +1300

Think of Jibo and Kuri as the great-grandparents of R2-D2, the buddy robot from Star Wars.

Of course, R2 was actually a 3 foot-8 inch dude crouching in a can. Jibo and Kuri are real robots with real artificial intelligence you can really take home (for US$900 and US$800, respectively).

Another way to think of them is what comes after talking speakers like the Amazon Echo and Google Home, which opened the door to new kinds of computers for the home.

Jibo, the brainchild of an MIT professor, looks like one of those know-it-all AI assistants borrowed a face and a twirling body from a Pixar movie. Kuri, made by a startup backed by appliance giant Bosch, looks like a penguin mounted on a Roomba vacuum.

I don't expect either will be a top seller any time soon. They're expensive, and their practical uses are few compared to other talking speakers or a Roomba that actually cleans. And to some of you, I'm sure the idea of "family" robots is pretty terrifying. Is this step one to Terminators marching the streets? Are they always watching?

Yet testing these robots with the help of people ages 3 to 75, I was struck by something different. For all their first-gen disappointments, the robots managed to melt hearts like a Shih Tzu puppy.

People, especially kids, wanted to hug them. Or at least to pet them, to which they both responded by purring. I've never seen a talking speaker do that.

What make Jibo and Kuri one giant leap for robot-kind isn't their functions-it's their personalities.


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Review: Microsoft's newest laptop, the Surface Book 2

Mon, 20 Nov 2017 11:38:43 +1300

Microsoft's original Surface Book was my favourite computer.


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Apple debuts GymKit in Sydney

Fri, 17 Nov 2017 11:34:20 +1300

Hoping to extend your digital health and fitness tracking data beyond what a phone or watch could measure, Apple is partnering with gyms to let workout equipment and its Watch work together.

Announced at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference earlier this year the new system, called GymKit, allows Apple Watch users to sync data with gym equipment with a simple tap, displaying information from your personal profile on the equipment's screen while also sending analytics from the equipment back to your apps. 

The recently refurbished Fitness First gym on Bond Street, Sydney, is the first in the world to support the new system, which can be found in its cardio equipment on the floor including treadmills, elliptical trainers, stair climbers and exercise bikes.

In the next week, Fitness First will introduce GymKit-enabled equipment to three more locations, two in Sydney and one in Melbourne.

READ MORE: 
* Fitbit's smartwatch plan hits more snags
* Louis Vitton launches upscale smartwatch to compete with Apple
 


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