Best of Summer Tech
By Amy Eller, Bob Plunkett, Susan Davis, Richard Sherwin
with Ilinca Tuvene, Elisabeth Ng
Just Ask Logitech’s Hub to get more Entertainment
Capitalizing on its long time leadership in audio, video, computer and home automation accessory skills, the Swiss giant’s Hub controls your entire home entertainment experience without lifting a finger. With Harmony Hub and Amazon Alexa or Google Home, you can enjoy easy, hands-free control of all the things you love. Turn on your TV, change channels, control volume, or start an Activity like “Good Morning” to play a favorite music playlist, raise the blinds, set the lights, and warm the house temperature. Your voice makes it all work and like its predecessors, this version of the Hub operates almost any audio-video product you own.
In addition to operating your TV and set top box(s), you can lower the blinds; dim the lights, control the heat and cold—all with a tap of the finger. With Harmony Activities you can enjoy single-touch automation to trigger limitless experiences. Harmony automatically suggests everyday Activities or you can have fun creating as many as you can dream up. Time for bed? Tap “Good Night” to lock the door and turn out the lights, then fall into a deep and tranquil sleep. As usual with the tightly packaged Logitech equipment, make sure you take out all of its parts and don’t be afraid of calling Logitech’s terrific support staff open 7 days a week.
Logitech also showed off its new and improved home security cam (we loved the simplicity of this web cam). The new version the Circle 2, is the only indoor and outdoor, weatherproof, wired or 100% wire-free 1080p HD home security camera with night vision and up to 180’ field of view that you can set up in minute; we also loved the Ultimate Ears (Logitech owned) Wonderboom, easily one of the best Blue Tooth portable speakers available today. The newest model, totally water proof is so easy to use… simply power on, pair with your phone, MP3 player, Tablet or PC, press play. You can then skip a song, pause a song and if your friends bring their Wonderboom connect the two of them or more and have even more powerful sound.
e-Motion™ Motorized Automatic Open and Close Compact Umbrella
Some say it is the biggest breakthrough in umbrella technology in 25 years! With a mere push of a button, the fully-motorized, rechargeable Shedrain e-Motion™ umbrella opens and closes completely on its own in one smooth motion. We tried it and it was useful and fun. Finally an umbrella that you can truly operate with one hand! Makes getting in and out of cars and revolving doors a breeze. It does keep that other hand free for phones, bags of groceries, kids, etc. One charge lasts for months, though the eMotion is designed to operate manually too if the battery ever runs out, so you’re never stuck in therain. Sturdy design, oversize coverage, and Teflon coating for superior water repellency makes this quite possibly the only umbrella you’ll ever need.
The company also makes a Sport Shell Umbrella with UPF 50+ Sun Protection and other special feature models.
Designed to enhance sound quality and cancel out background noise, the wireless IQbuds will play music from most smartphones and devices and comes with their own charging case. Each case is capable of three full charges, and each charge provides 4 hours of playback while the complete charging cycle only takes one hour.
What makes the Nuheara different from other earbuds on the market is the fact that it has been designed as a Personal Sound Amplification Product (PSAP) – that is, a reasonably priced alternative to professional hearing devices for people with mild hearing impairments. As a comparison, the Apple Airpods (without assistive capabilities) cost $150, most professional hearing aids run around $4000 while the Nuheara IQbuds are priced at $299.
At the core of the Nuheara system is SINC technology – Super Intelligent Noise Cancellation. More than just background noise cancellation, these earbuds completely block out ambient sound. Just be careful using these when you’re walking down the street!
The IQbuds offer a variety of customized sound settings that you can play around with such as Music, Home, Driving, Plane, Office, Restaurant, Street, Workout etc. Each setting allows you to control the amount of ambient noise you want and direct your focus. As an example, you can increase clarity of a conversation nearby while reducing sound level of background activities.
You will need to download the free app (available on Apple and Android) to use the settings. Set up is easy, and you can use Siri or Google Voice to work the app.
Regarding fit, the IQbuds come with eight different sets of ear tips, and while they are not small, generally offer a comfortable fit.
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus
Samsung’s brand new Galaxy S8 comes in two models – regular and plus. The S8 Plus has an impressive 6.2” inch screen, slightly longer and narrower than one would expect.
The S8 comes with a new and improved 12 MP Rear Facing/8 MP Front Facing Camera, HDR, Netflix – worthy resolution and most importantly, its key feature – Samsung’s Infinity Screen, giving us the opportunity of seeing photos and videos in more vibrant colors than ever before.
Battery life is 34 hours of talk time and preset storage is 64 GB, with the option of adding a micro – SD card.
While Android has been improving their user friendliness, they’re still not quite tied with Apple’s – however, they have been making it easier and easier to transfer between an old phone to a new one.
One downside of the S8 would be its voice assistant, Bixby – trying to surpass Apple’s Siri and Google’s Voice Assistant, Samsung’s been highly publicizing the launch of the groundbreaking Bixby. However, that leaves much to be desired, despite its one great feature called “Bixby Vision” – Bixby can identify the pictures the phone takes and, for instance, take you to the corresponding website – a picture of the Empire State Building can lead to its Wikipedia page, providing you with additional information.
Price: $623 – $724 or $28.34 – $35/month (with a phone plan)
In order to protect this great, yet pricey, piece of technology, we strongly recommend the “Zagg’s InvisibleShield” product line for screen protectors, and the UAG (Urban Armor Gear) line for cases.
Samsung Gear VR
Almost thirty years after Virtual Reality’s start (at the time, using a supercomputer that filled an entire room), VR has become a quite approachable and affordable system. One of the least expensive headsets on the market is the “Samsung Gear VR”.
The Original headset is quite easy to use – it must simply be connected to your Samsung smartphone, and it will project whatever you choose on its lenses. Initially designed for gaming, there are new and exciting uses to the VR Headset, such as virtual traveling! Groups such as The Huffington Post or National Geographic provide some of the best travel experiences out there.
VR is in its experimental stages when it comes to therapy as well – early results have been quite positive in the treatment of stress, anxiety, PTSD and even TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury).
To conclude, it’s safe to say that this new technology is becoming more and more a part of our daily lives, as programmers find new ways of bringing it away from a gaming experience, and closer to a human experience (e.g. exploring the interior of a new car).
Price: Starting at $50.
For more information on this summer’s latest gadgets, check out our partners at :