Category Archives: Tech Reviews

7 Top Tech Gifts for the Holidays


There’s still time to shop for the holidays. If you’re looking for some great last-minute tech gifts, look no further than these seven gadgets I showed on WABC TV this week:
You can see the full video here.

iPhone 6 $199 w/contract
The best phone of the year – touch ID for security.
4.7-inch brilliant Retina HD display, a great camera and easy-to-use features like time lapse videos.
iOS 8 which brings Apple Pay, the company’s convenient platform for mobile payments.
https://www.apple.com/iphone-6/

Amazon Kindle Voyage $199
This is the best e-reader I’ve used. Light and thin, comfortable to hold, crystal-clear image quality.
There are no distractions like on a tablet; no email, no facebook, no interruptions.
Sharp, clear text – easy to read on the 6-inch e-ink display.
New features:
Take notes on passages or quotes to share with book group
At-a-glance lets you see how long until end of chapter
Share books and content across household
Built-in adaptive front light
http://www.amazon.com/High-Resolution-Display-Adaptive-PagePress-Sensors/dp/B00IOY8XWQ

Microsoft Xbox One $349
If you’ve been waiting to get Microsoft’s Xbox One gaming console, now’s the time. There’s great deals on bundles and special edition consoles. I’m showing the Assasin’s Creed bundle which is selling for $349. You get 2 games, wireless controller, chat headset and a 500 GB hard driv. There’s also access to your TV and music all in one place so you use your voice to control the action. Switch between apps, answer a Skype call, record gameplay, watch Netflix.
500 GB hard drive
http://www.xbox.com/en-US/xbox-one?xr=shellnav#adrenalinejunkie

Plantronics BackBeat Pro $249
Wireless noise canceling Bluetooth headset that’s so comfortable to wear
Smart sensors know when it’s on your head. When you take it off to answer a call or talk to someone, it automatically pauses the music. Put the cans back on and the music starts
Can connect to 3 devices at once so switch between music and calls, one-button for ANC.
Controls are built into ear cup; tap to pause, play, accept call.
Bluetooth 4.0 so range extends to over 300 feet.
http://www.plantronics.com/us/product/backbeat-pro

Tory Burch Fitbit $195
This is one wearable that definitely does not look like an activity tracker. Fitbit teamed up with designer Tory Burch to create a wearable women actually will want to wear.
Stainless steel bracelet and pendant come in rose gold and silver in addition to gold.
Use it to track steps, distance and calories burned.
http://www.fitbit.com/toryburch#1
http://www.toryburch.com/tory-burch-fitbit/

Microsoft Universal Mobile Keyboard $80
With the Microsoft Universal Mobile Keyboard, it doesn’t matter if you’re on your tablet or your smartphone, the Universal Mobile Keyboard was designed to work with iPad, iPhone, Android devices and Windows tablets. Pair the keyboard with up to three devices with different operating systems and easily switch between them with a simple flick of the OS (operating system) switch.
The rechargeable battery provides up to 6 months of usage on a single charge.
http://www.microsoft.com/hardware/en-us/p/universal-mobile-keyboard/P2Z-00001

Cobra JumPack Charger $129
Don’t leave home without this small device that’s powerful enough to jump start a car’s dead battery – a few times over. The JumPack has safety features like a strobe light in case of emergency, and a 7,500 mAh battery with 2.1 Amp USB output so you can power up a dead cell phone with a USB cable.
https://www.cobra.com/products/portable-power/cobra-jumpack

Gadgets for Taking Better Smartphone Pictures


What’s the best camera to use? The one you always have with you, of course. For most of us, that’s the one on our mobile phone. Although smartphone cameras are improving in quality, they don’t always let you do thinks like zoom in very close or get a wide angle shot. Mobile photography gadgets like the ones I showed on CNBC can help you capture great pictures you’ll want to share and preserve. See the whole segment here.

4 Naggiest Products Ever…and Why You Want Them


Somewhere around my son’s 14th birthday, I grew weary of “gently reminding” him to stop wolfing down his food and to clean up his room. Of course he called these gentle reminders nagging, and we both came to realize it wasn’t a good thing. So how do you help someone who needs some coaching or gentle reminders to get out and exercise, sit up straight or quit a bad habit? I found four gadgets and apps that may be able to help with that.

You can read my full story on Techlicious here:

Top Kids Toys and Tech Gifts for the Holidays


Recently I did a few segments on tech gifts for the holidays.
Of course, since the holidays are so very busy, I forgot to post them here.

So, if you’re still looking for any cool tech products before we see everything new coming out of CES, here they are.

WABC-TV segment on Top holiday gifts here:

CNBC segment on Top Kids Tech toys here:

What fun tech toys did you get for the holidays?

Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom: A Great Camera on an Average Smartphone


I’m often asked by new parents; “what’s the best camera I can buy for taking pictures of the baby?” My advice always is “the camera that’s with you all the time – the one on your phone.”

That’s why I was so excited to test the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom which is a scaled down Galaxy S4 smartphone with a kick-ass camera. It’s an ideal device for people who like to take and share lots of pictures of their kids, or their surroundings, without sacrificing picture quality.

Read my full review on Chip Chick here:

Sony’s PS4; Perspective From my Favorite Game Tester


In all the years I’ve been covering video games, I’ve had one constant tester in my life; my son Matt. I could always count on him to pop in the latest game and take it for a spin. He told me the good, the bad, the truly sucky, and more often than not declared he needed further testing and had to take it to a friend’s house.

I’ve noticed in the last few years he’s settled into a routine. Certain games – like multiplayer – need to be played on the Xbox 360, while others are better on the PS3. Of course some games are available for only one console so that pretty much dictates where they’re played. Since he still enjoys gaming in his downtime, I thought it only fitting to ask for his thoughts on the new PlayStation 4, Sony’s new gaming console.

 

Let me set the scene. I was at work Tuesday evening — working until 11pm — when my mother called me with great news! She wanted to let me know she had brought home the new PS4 with eight games; however I couldn’t’t play any because I was at work. It was as if she was torturing me on purpose. She said she’d wait for me.

 

When I got home that night I immediately took everything she had brought home and with a big smile on my face, hooked everything up for her.

 

At that moment I decided I needed to play every game given to her that night so I could see how the PS4 compared to PS3 and Xbox 360. After all, it’s been seven years since PS3 came out.

 

I hooked it up and got everything connected very easily but then ran into a problem. Where was the power button? I ran my entire hand over the console before bing – a noise associated with the startup of the system filled the air and it came to life. To this day I still don’t know what I touched. Not thrilled with the new positioning.

 

I started with Battlefield 4, a fictional war game set in present day. I was blown away by this game. Get it? The graphics were so crisp and clear. The noises made me feel as if I really was the character gearing up to go to war. Everything this game offers is fantastic. Battlefield is known for its game content in which the entire world is destroyable. No matter what you shoot it will blow up. This along with the sound of the game made for one incredible experience.  

 

At this point I took a break and focused my attention on the console itself. The new controller is by far the best controller they have made so far. All of the buttons work cleanly and everything feels like it’s in the right place. The previous controller felt cheap – as if it would break any second. The new one is wider and it has a little more weight to it. This may be because they introduced a touch pad for extra entertainment during gaming.

 

I am not a fan of the startup menu. It seems very cluttered and there’s no way for you to control what you want and where you want it. The most previous game you have played shows up in front while everything gets pushed back. Finding the settings proved difficult for my mother who wanted to change her email address.

 

I really am a fan of gaming consoles. I’ve been a huge Xbox fan for most of my life. I have that in my bedroom and the PS3 is in the family room since we use the Blu-ray player for DVD’s. PS4 is a vast improvement for Sony over the PS3 and quite frankly over the 360 as well. I look forward to trying that out too!

 

Matt PS4

So there you have it – one gamer’s first impressions. Overall I have to say I like the new controller, it makes it easier for me to use. Sony said a million consoles were purchased in the first 24 hours it was on the market and it’s on track to become one of the company’s most successful product launches. There are reports of a few defective units that Sony is looking into but overall, we’re quite impressed with the new console and looking forward to the gaming companies learning how to create content for the new hardware.

 

 

Back to School Tech Gadgets


A touch-enabled laptop, a smartpen, a device that displays textbooks and movies. What more could today’s students ask for?
I showed off a few tech gadgets for back to school on WABC-TV this week. You can see it here or watch the video below.

What’s on your shopping list?