Our pick of this month’s best gadgets includes the latest from Microsoft, Amazon and more. Our team has taken a look at what new developments have taken their fancy throughout this past month, read on to find out more!
Microsoft Surface Studio
So, you may have seen the Microsoft event the other day which showcased their updated and brand new products. The product that really caught the eye of our team was the Microsoft Surface Studio. The Surface Studio turns your desk into a studio. The Surface Studio has been designed for the creative process. With the thinnest monitor ever at 12.5mm, 10 point multi-touch and 28″ PixelSense display, you really do get the highest of the range. With a smarter display, you can rest your hand on the screen as you write! There are over a billion different colours. 32GB of RAM, 270W of integrated computer power and an Quad-Core Intel i7 Processor brings the Surface Studio to life.
The Surface Studio has a zero-gravity hinge that will move the display effortlessly and can be done with one hand. This enables the computer to turn from a desktop computer into a studio computer. The Surface pen which goes hand-in-hand with the Surface Studio, now has real-time writing so it feels just like pen to paper. This new updated surface pen will also work with the Surface Book and Surface Pros. A new tool that Microsoft have released alongside the Surface Studio is the Surface Dial. The Dial will sit on the screen and once pressed will display a radial menu of tools, supporting your workflow. The Surface Studio really is very impressive. It is available for pre-order now with prices starting at £2,999.
The Amazon Echo is a hands-free speaker and it is controllable by your own voice. This is done through a connection to the Alexa Voice Service. You are able to play music, provide the news, sports scores, information and much more. If you are an Amazon Prime member you will even be able to ask the Alexa Voice Service to order products. The Echo has a total of seven microphones and has a perfectly tuned speaker which enables it to fill a room with a full 360 degree immersive sound. The Amazon Echo also has beam-forming technology which means it can hear your voice in noisy environments and from across the room.
The Amazon Echo will provide hands-free control for Amazon Music, Spotify, Prime Music, TuneIn and of course you can stream via a tablet, iTunes, YouTube etc. When you want to use Echo you should awake it with the word ‘Alexa’ – this will make the Echo light up and respond to you. The Alexa Voice Service is updated straight through the cloud and it is always learning in order to add new functionality and skills. For instance, Alexa can order a takeaway from JustEat, order a ride from Uber, check train times from the National Rail and so much more. This can be done through the Alexa app.
The Amazon Echo seems to be getting better and better! It can even control your smart home. You can switch the lights on and off, change the temperature in the room via the thermostat, turn the TV off and the same for other switches. It is priced at £149.99 and as a high-end speaker and an assistant – that’s not bad at all!
Headspace is an app that is your own personal trainer for your mind. It focus primarily on meditation, and although meditation may not be for everyone, they have plenty of topics for everyone. You will find topics on how to quit smoking, how to pass your driving test and how to reduce stress. Meditation has been shown to have a myriad of benefits and this is what Headspaces promotes. Meditation is said to make you focus, increase your creativity, relieve anxiety and lessen your stress.
You can sign up for free for the 10 day trial. This is 10 days worth of 10 minute medication sessions. You get progress stats, a mobile app and a buddy feature included. You can then choose to follow on from this to unlock more topics. This is an app for iOS and Andorid.
Amazon Fire TV Stick
Although this is not new, it is very popular! The Amazon Fire Stick connects your HDTV to online entertainment. You can enjoy this Amazon Fire Stick whether you are a Prime member or not. The Fire Stick combines all your favourite subscriptions and streaming services such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Video, Music, Photos, Games and much more. If you are a Prime member, you can gain access to Prime Video which includes thousands of videos and TV episodes at no additional cost.
If you download the Amazon FireTV app, you will be able to speak into in order to control your TV. For example if you say ‘Forest Gump’ into the app, Fire Stick will find this film for you. Another great benefit of the Amazon Fire Stick is that it is portable. If you are changing rooms in the house, going to or from University or out in a different city for work – you can watch your favourite TV instantly. Along with all of this you get cinematic surround sound, a dual-core processor enabling it to be very fast and an introductory credit of £2.00 to spend on movies in the Amazon Video Store. You can purchase the Amazon Fire TV Stick for £33.20.