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Worth The Hype
Creative Outlier Sports
Working out with music or audio cues from a personal trainer app is common these days, but it isn't always easy to find a pair of sweat-proof headphones that also sound good without breaking the bank. Local brand Creative Technology has always delivered value for money when it comes to sound quality, so you can expect the same from the Creative Outlier Sports.
They are in-ear headphones that connect to your music player, phone or computer wirelessly via audiophile aptX or run-of-the-mill Bluetooth. A built-in microphone means you can us it as a hands-free headset. Eleven hours of battery life, coupled with IPX4-grade water resistance, means you never need to take the headphones off. Weighing in at just 15g, you might just forget they're there. Pick your colour - blue, green or orange.
Asus ZenFone AR
Just when you've started to take smartphones for granted - augmented-reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) promise to make phones even more interactive. The ZenFone AR has Google's AR and VR technologies built-in. Tango is Google's AR platform that includes games and navigation. And Daydream is Google's VR platform for apps and mobile VR experiences. Any phone that supports Tango and Daydream has to be powerful, and not only is the ZenFone AR powered by the latest and greatest Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor, it's also the world's first smartphone with a whopping 8GB RAM, which is the same amount that's in many laptops. You also get a three-camera system to support all the VR and AR wizardry, and a 5.7-inch Super AMOLED touchscreen. Look out for it sometime this year.
HP ENVY Curved All-in-One 34
These days, phones can do what only laptops could do a few years ago,
and laptops can handle the tasks only desktop computers can do. But when it comes to sheer screen real-estate and computing brawn, there's still nothing quite like a big desktop machine. The centre piece of the HP ENVY Curved All-in-One 34 is an expansively curved 34-inch screen, which sits on a four-speaker Bang & Olufsen-tuned sound bar. Sweep your eyes left to right and you will only see screen, and more screen. Available specs include the 7th-generation Intel Core i5 and i7 desktop processors, along with various graphics and storage options. The ENVY Curved All-in-One 34 will be available in early February, only at Harvey Norman and the HP online store (h20386.www2.hp.com/singaporestore).
LG Hub Robot
The Internet-of-Thing (IoT) promises to connect your home, but it will still require you to operate everything. LG's adorable Hub Robot will do much of that for you, be it turning on the airconditioning or activating alarms, though it's been designed to work specifically with LG's smart home appliances. It can even recognise different family members and greet them appropriately. And it will do it all with blinking eyes and changing expressions displayed on its screen, depending on what mode it's in. Don't worry about controlling the Hub Robot, just talk to it. It's powered by Amazon's Alexa voice assistant.
Price: US$7.99/month or US$39.99/year
Hardware wasn't all that was launched at the recent CES. Personal training app Fitstar got its first major revamp since being bought by Fitbit in 2015, and it's better than ever. Fitstar hadn't really evolved all that much since it launched in 2013 with American football star Tony Gonzalez as your video coach. But Gonzalez is now gone, replaced by US military veteran Adrian Richardson and certified nutrition consultant Lea Rouse. The fresh-faced duo, complemented by a new team, are a welcome change, as are refreshed workout programmes. You can try free workouts on Fitstar, which works on in a computer browser, or on iOS and Android apps, but to really get the most out of the service, you need to subscribe for workouts that evolve with your goals and fitness.
Echobox's gorgeous wooden music player might look familiar to those who follow the gadget crowdfunding scene. That's because the Explorer was launched in November 2015 on crowdfunding platform IndieGoGo.
What's news is that unlike some crowdfunded gadgets that never become real, actual Explorer players were available to test at CES 2017 and
you can order one at www.echoboxaudio.com. It's got all the circuitry to play back high resolution music files at audiophile quality, along with
64GB of built-in memory and a microSD memory card slot to hold your library. Android 6 gives you access to a great user experience and plenty of apps, along with robust WiFi and Bluetooth support. But what really
catches the eye is the solid hardwood chassis. You can choose from sustainably sourced maple, mahogany, ebony or zebra wood.