While Ultra High Definition 4K TVs were first introduced at January’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Sony has become the first hardware maker to ship its new line of screens through its Bravia brand.
Ready to Flip
Acer.com $1,000-$1,400 – The line of Ultrabooks that transform into tablets keeps growing, but Acer’s Aspire R7 is a different animal, with its Ezel hinge that turns the 15.6-inch screen completely around, floats it above the keyboard or lies completely flat. The innovate spaceage design is why Acer promoted its silver laptop via “Star Trek Into Darkness.” While the Aspire R7 packs impressive processing power, memory and hard drive, it does have its quirks: The 5.3 pounds make it slightly heavy, and the mouse pad is placed above the keyboard, making it fairly unusable. But with the touchscreen designed for Windows 8, you probably won’t use that mouse anyway.
BlueLounge.com | $130 – You need your mobile devices but their cords create a lot of clutter. We like the Sanctuary for its ability to hide away the cables with its USB ports that can charge up to 12 devices simultaneously. Designed to pair with more than 1,500 devices, from smartphones to Bluetooth headsets, the overall design (available in white, black or wood finish) is perfect for any surface.
Plair.com | $99 – Designed primarily for people who don’t have an Apple TV or better-designed Roku Streaming Stick, the Plair is meant to stream videos from mobile devices and software on Chrome browsers directly to your TV without a cord attached to both. The idea is good, and the USB-like design is fun and colorful (magenta, teal, black) but its software doesn’t yet support Netflix, Hulu Plus or HBO Go, limiting content options. Moreover physically connecting the device to your TV is cumbersome. It also requires a power cord, making it less wireless than one would like.
Playing by Ear
Sonos.com | $700 – The pricetag may be a little steep, but Sonos’ Playbar is a well-designed alternative to more expensive surround-sound systems that requires setting up multiple speakers around office or home. The Playbar
brilliantly mimics the effects of surround sound virtually through a single bar placed under or near your TV. It also can be expanded with additional Sonos speakers and subwoofer, all wireless and easy to control through the company’s Android, iPhone and iPad app.
Hero Worship: ‘Iron Man’ Smartphone Case
Anymode.com | $40 – Anymode’s line of officially licensed Marvel Comics-themed Beam protective cases for the Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone are totally unnecessary but you know you want them anyway. The hard-shell cases light up Iron Man’s eyes and chest plate (continued)…
Hero Worship: ‘Spider-Man’ Smartphone Case
…as well as Spider-Man’s mask when its built-in LEDs are paired with a Near Field Communication module. And the cool factor doesn’t add more bulk, keeping the S4 slim. (Anymode.com | $40)