The Latest High Tech Toy

How do you keep up with it? For better or for worse, a new mobile phone, tablet or other “essential” gadget is hoisted upon us each season, and regardless of the fact the one we currently have works just fine, we rush out and get the latest and greatest. Some innovations are truly revolutionary (hats off to the iPod), some not so much (anyone invest in a 3D TV?). With the zeitgeisty International Consumer Electronics Show well in the rear-view for another year, here’s a look at what’s on the tech horizon.
How can any tech column start without the latest in phones — as if anyone uses a phone for phone calling anymore. For those of us that refuse to drink the iPhone Kool-Aid (lest we forget Blackberry was there first) the latest smartphone gadget from HTC, the HTC One (M8), hit Hong Kong stores on April 11. This iteration boasts, among other things, the brand’s Motion Launch controls, FDD/TDD dual mode LTE and multiple frequency support, Duo Camera technology HTC BoomSound, which HTC claims is setting a new bar for smartphone audio and a price similar to the iPhone at just under $6,000. Also new for this version? A Dot View case that allows users to dabble in basic functions with a retro cool dot matrix display without exposing the screen, giving the phone a longer shelf life. At least until the (M9) arrives.

If you’re sick and tired of Samsung’s “selfie” stunts with celebrities, here’s a product so-called real photographers will appreciate. The world’s first manufacturer of the classic 35mm camera, Leica, is celebrating its 100th anniversary with a series of centennial editions of its iconic cameras. First and foremost is the Leica S medium-format camera with a pair of the company’s popular S lenses — the Summarit-S 70mm and the Elmarit-S 30mm. The former is an excellent option for a “standard” lens, the latter akin to a 24mm lens on a traditional SLR. The set comes wrapped in a Rimowa cabin trolley case for extra care designed specifically for this set. But be warned: this is a serious camera for serious shooters. The set runs at approximately $300,000.

Finally, who said TV was dead? If a single philosophy jumps out in home electronics these days it’s out with 3D and in with 4K — simply put, 4,000 pixels on a horizontal display. Increasingly standard in cinema, 4K is fast penetrating the consumer market despite a lack of content. Once again, Samsung is ahead of the curve and serious television and movie viewers will want to get behind its latest innovation. Introduced at CES, the forthcoming curved 105-inch (2.5-metre!) UHD TV is a sight to behold. Samsung’s U9000 series (which also includes more manageable 55- to 78-inch models) offers a truly cinematic 21:9 aspect ratio and is wholly upgradable, so your latest, pricey toy it won’t be obsolete next year. And pricey it will be: Samsung has priced the 55-inch UHD at US$4,000. They haven’t publicly talked about the 105-inch behemoth. If that’s a bit rich for your blood — never mind the space demands — there’s always American manufacturer Vizio, who showed off their 50-inch, US$1,000 4K model. The P-Series Ultra HD units are also future-ready for when UHD is standard, it’s already 24/48 fps adjustable and has next to zero blurring among a raft of connectivity features. As a final complement to giant, crystal clear replay images? The makers of the original camcorder, Sony, just announced their brand new 4K Handycam. The FDR-AX1 and the lighter, more compact FDR-AX100 are both outfitted with state-of-the art image sensors and processors for super high quality pictures in all lights, Zeiss lenses optimised for motion and it’s tablet and smartphone ready. Like you aren’t going to watch the kids’ school play on your giant 4K TV