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Get more time on the clock

Why You Need a Qualcomm Toq: The Businessman

Greed is good, says Gordon Gecko. A strong businessman, to put it lightly, though we won’t get into his ethics. Not everyone agrees with his motto on the money front, but certainly every one of us is greedy as hell about two other things: time and convenience. With that in mind, the Qualcomm Toq, a smart watch that is in many ways the most clever offering on the market, aims to make you more efficient through a plethora of useful apps and a build, design and aesthetic you can count on.

Qualcomm-Toq-Sponsored-Logo-Gear-PatrolSponsored by Qualcomm(R) Toq(TM) -- The smartwatch that's always on, active and visible in any light.
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What Happens in Vegas Goes on the Internet

Today in Gear, CES 2014 Edition: January 9, 2014

Have you (geeks) heard? CES 2014 is on, and we’ve got two men on the floor, app-ing and connectivity-ing and syncing with a vengeance. We’ll be updating you all week with the coolest thing’s we’ve found so far. Here’s the second batch, replete with a smart bed, a new flagship 3D printer and exciting news on the PS4 front.

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How It's Made

Making the All-New Mac Pro

Apple’s Mac Pro, released in the fall of last year, is the kind of provocative machine that makes even luddites turn their heads. Its design is reminiscent, in some ways, of Da Vinci’s plans for a flying machine: an impressive idea, a maelstrom of creativity, a game-changer that inspires curiosity and awe. It’s not anywhere near as ground-breaking as Leonardo’s plans — but then again, Apple is able to execute. Apple’s short film captures that execution.

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Get Above the Action

Rotary Club: Take to the Skies with These 3 Drones for the GoPro

Drones with GoPro capability have exploded in popularity over the past two or three years and are finally beginning to arrive at price points that might make the budget-minded filmmaker’s ears perk up. With that in mind, we sought to find the best drones for aerial filmmaking; after some worthwhile learning experiences (don’t try and learn to fly one in a New York City office), we’ve arrived at our three favorites.

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What Happens in Vegas Goes on the Internet

Today in Gear, CES 2014 Edition: January 8, 2014

Have you (geeks) heard? CES 2014 is on, and we’ve got two men on the floor, app-ing and connectivity-ing and syncing with a vengeance. We’ll be updating you all week with the coolest thing’s we’ve found so far. Here’s the second batch, with an ultra-portable gaming computer, a 3D printer for the kitchen, TVs that’ll make your eyes weep with joy and much more.

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What happens in Vegas goes on the internet

Today in Gear, CES 2014 Edition: January 7, 2014

Have you (geeks) heard? CES is on, and we’ve got two men on the floor, app-ing and connectivity-ing and syncing with a vengeance. We’ll be updating you all week with the coolest thing’s we’ve found so far. Here’s the first batch. LET’S GET TECHNICAL Best of Gear Patrol 2013: Tech | Tested: Xbox One |…

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The Start of a Smarter Home

Life With Iris: Installation

Much of what simplifies our lives has become effortless. Typing with our thumbs in swipes and stabs while our car parks itself in front of the restaurant that serves those Instagram-worthy dishes can be learned and perfected before the next status update hits our social media feeds. It truly is a brave new world — and it doesn’t have to begin outside your doorstep. The same levels of remote control can now just as easily be had for your home thanks to the Iris Home Management System ($179+) from Lowe’s.

iris-logo-140x40This Post is sponsored by Iris from Lowe's.
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Great Techpectations

The Best of 2013: Tech

Technology is constantly reshaping the world, to both our benefit and frustration. From a macro standpoint, the changes wrought during 2013 weren’t surprising at all. Computing increased; pixels were packed closer; connectivity expanded — just like the analysts said they would. We yawned with indifference while promptly pre-ordering, then tossed the pinnacles of 2012′s innovation on Craigslist.

Still, a few trends did stand out amid the churning tech landscape. The actions and unique characteristics of our bodies have officially joined the digital party, providing new forms of interactions, security concerns and data points. Novel careers in the gaming industry button-mashed ever closer to the mainstream while the consoles wars reset for the decade to come. Personal devices like smartphones finally became personalizable and, in some cases, made in America. True to our heritage, we also devoted plenty of man-hours to simplifying your acquisition quests by researching, testing and sharing the best devices available in countless critical tech categories.

Just in case you missed any of it, here you’ll find a retrospective on some of our favorite forays into the world of technology during 2013. Enjoy them now in the pre-obsolescence stages of their lives, and make sure you check back soon. Next year will bring plenty of innovation again, and we’ll be here to cover it like only GP can.

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It's all in the wrist

Qualcomm Toq: Your Personal Command Center

Checking our phones has become an awkward social tic, one that the Smart Watch segment addresses with sleek wrist-mounted media mediators. Digital communications magnate Qualcomm seems like the company that would provide smartphone horologists-cum-futurists with the groundbreaking technology to outdo competitors. Instead, Qualcomm has gotten into the ring with their own Toq, which leverages the company’s innovations to create the most clever smart watch on the market.

Qualcomm-Toq-Sponsored-Logo-Gear-PatrolSponsored by Qualcomm(R) Toq(TM) -- The smartwatch that's always on, active and visible in any light.
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SOS for Less

Want This, Get This: Breitling Emergency or SPOT Messenger Gen3

If you’re like us, you have a long list of watches you’d love to own. But reality (almost) always steps in, and your desires remain unfulfilled. Gear Patrol’s series Want This, Get This presents a lust-worthy timepiece along with a more affordable alternative that scratches the same itch. This week, we offer two very different ways to save your skin.

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No Phone Booth Needed

Microsoft Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2: Work Hard, Play Hard

They say it makes Jack a dull boy, the whole single-sided approach to life. We’ll go one further, though, and say that even being able to switch from fun to serious or from any identity to another, for that matter, isn’t all that impressive. Sure, Batman saves lives, fights crime and delivers justice, and sure,…

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Stuttgart Speeds Into the 21st Century

The 127-Year-Old Startup: Visiting Mercedes-Benz’s New Silicon Valley R&D Facility

Mercedes has been innovating in Silicon Valley for over two decades, but they’ve decided to bolster their cutting-edge technological efforts with their new Mercedes Benz Research & Development North America (MBRDNA) headquarters in Sunnyvale, California. We were on hand to explore the new facilities, check out their in-car technology and gawk at the beautiful, newly unveiled AMG Vision Gran Turismo.

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What Your Air Should Wear

On Air: 35 Great iPad Air Cases

Just because the word “air” is in your latest iPad’s name doesn’t mean it’s going to float on the ether if (when) you drop it. There isn’t going to be some magical, fluffy cloud protection when you slip it in your work bag or duffel; there is neither a keyboard nor some sort of built-in kickstand. So, clumsy, what’re you supposed to do? How do you keep your pristine investment and advanced piece of technology looking new? How do you keep it accessible and functional in every imaginable way and every imaginable place, from the airplane to the board room to the living room?

For starters, you could do worse than picking up one of the best iPad Air cases on the market. We’ve rounded up 35 of the grandest grippers, gewgaw-laden sleeves, shells, keyboards and folios and parsed them by price.

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Alien Chess

Red Bull Battle Grounds and the Rise of eSports

We visit Red Bull Battle Grounds, a two-day tournament in which eight of the world’s best Starcraft II players send angry virtual military units across a digital landscape to destroy their enemy’s virtual bases. Does this event (and the many others like it) signal a shift in gaming’s social legitimacy? Read on for an exploration and a photo essay of the event.

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Digital Hoarders

Super Storage: Best External Desktop Hard Drives

The best desktop hard drives have, to steal a phrase from our favorite genie, “phenomenal saving power; itty bitty stylish case[s]“. Should you need a little extra room (actually, a lot of room) to move large files from one place to another, or or if you’re storing files temporarily for some other reason, look no further than these, the best external desktop hard drives around.

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Resurfacing

Meet the Microsoft Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2

As a tech-minded individual, you appreciate a solid hands-on experience with any device before you purchase it. You storm your local electronics haunt and play with display models for hours on end before making a decision. But you’re still here reading because you want the deets up front from a reliable (thank you) source. With this in mind, we must first explain that no matter how many of the glorious specifications, design and interface highlights and general accolades we spout over the next page, we simply won’t be able to scratch the surface (huzzah!) of the technological nerdery that makes up Microsoft’s Surface 2 ($449) and Surface Pro 2 ($899) tablets. But are we ever gonna try.

Best-Buy-Promo-Logo-Gear-Patrol This Post is Presented by Best Buy.
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A Basketball coach, literally

Tested: 94Fifty Basketball

This year, the basketball gets a new update in the form of the 94Fifty ($295), a Bluetooth-enabled basketball that pairs with your mobile device to track shot speed, dribble force, control, spin, and acceleration. Posted to Kickstarter on March 5th, it crushed its $100,000 goal in a little over a month. We took it for a test run.

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4Dads

Photo Essay: 4Moms Headquarters

Robotics engineers and industrial designers, rapid prototyping and 3D printing, adroit methodology and open workflow — sounds like a Silicon Valley tech startup, right? But things aren’t always as they seem. In the case of Pittsburgh-based company 4Moms, this business model is being applied to baby products that leave the status quo in the dust. We went to their headquarters to get a behind-the-scenes look at a few products poised to change things up in the baby world once again.

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Three Amateur Gamers Play for 14 Hours Straight

Tested: Xbox One

The Xbox One ($500), which comes out Friday, promises to be more entertaining, more immersive and more addictive than its predecessors. But how much more entertaining? Will all aspects of the game-rendering, movie-playing, internet-surfing, friend-connecting, shopping-enabling entertainment system pull their weight? Will the games serve as playable works of art? How much more immersive could they be? Will the Kinect 2.0 build upon the groundbreaking recognition technology of its predecessor? Will the machine seamlessly integrate all our disparate media and create a monster — an addictive one? Perhaps the last question is the most important, but really, at its current MSRP of $500, they all are.

Three GP staffers, all casual gamers, had the chance to test the Xbox One this weekend, and, in general, it lived up to expectations. We played it for over 14 hours straight; we came away with a severe lack of sleep and plenty of strong first impressions. Addicted? Clearly. Here’s what we remember.

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Jolly Good

KEF M500

Premier audiophile brands owe Doctors Amar Bose and Dre a begrudging thanks for opening the eyes of the public to the value of investing in a set of headphones. Thanks to their savvy marketing and branding, the luxury hi-fi headphone market is exploding as an entire generation of consumers look to replace their bass-blasting, noise-canceling sets with something more refined. Perhaps the most ready to profit is KEF, the British hi-fi manufacturer best known for selling six-figure sound systems. Their flagship M500 headphones ($300) capture the luxury bent of potential buyers and hold up their end of the elite audio bargain, all at a price well below the company’s mortgage-your-house standard fare.

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Inline Magic

Meridian Explorer

The Meridian Audio Explorer ($299) is a portable USB DAC designed for the Jony Ive age that transforms traditional computer listening into a hi-fi experience with minimal fuss. It’s small, incredibly easy to set up, and designed to blend seamlessly with other high-end electronics you already own. It also retails for a reasonable $299, despite being made in England using the same exacting standards Meridian applies to gear with price points that make car dealers blush.

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Abbey Road, to Go

Zoom H6

It’s 2013. Zoom has held an iron grip on the portable recording industry for seven years and needs to improve on an excellent product. What do they do? They release the H6 ($400), a new recorder that takes everything that mobile maestros loved about the previous H4 and H4n models and adds versatility and power.

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Look Ma, No Mirrors!

Nikon AW1

The underwater digital camera is certainly not a new concept; you probably picked one up before your honeymoon to take pictures while scuba diving. How’d that work out for you? Not too great, we bet, because while the underwater digital camera is clever in theory, there aren’t many companies who have made it worth our time and money. The lenses are cheap, the images are underwhelming, and face it: the cameras are homely as hell. Luckily, Nikon has decided to get serious about underwater photography — and photography in all sorts of rough conditions — with the new AW1 ($800), the first mirrorless digital camera that’s completely waterproof and has interchangeable, waterproof lenses.

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Boom Buds

Sennheiser IE800

It used to be that if you wanted superb audio, you’d have to shell out top dollar for a pair of clunky over-ear headphones. That’s all well and good when you’re sitting at home on Sunday night, quietly enjoying a glass of Scotch and listening to Schwarzkopf and Ackermann’s 1953 recording of Strauss’s “Vier letzte Lieder”, but what happens when you’re on the go? After all, if you’re going to pay $1,000 or more for something, shouldn’t you be able to show it off? Sennheiser’s IE 800 ($1,000) in-ear headphones have been heralded by many audiophiles as the best combination of sound and portability on the market.

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Don't take my Kodachrome away

Want This, Get This: Nikon Df or Olympus OMD E-M1

If you’re like us, you have a long list of cameras you’d love to own. But reality (almost) always steps in, and your desires remain unfulfilled. Gear Patrol’s series “Want This, Get This” presents a lust-worthy shooter along with a more affordable alternative that scratches the same itch. This week, we’re celebrating two DSLRs that recall the golden age of film while also delivering next-gen features.

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Like Mike

94Fifty Smart Basketball

It seems like everything is becoming quantified these days. Not to be left out, the data-mining 94Fifty Bluetooth Sensor has made its way into one of America’s most popular sports. 94Fifty Bluetooth Sensor Basketballs ($300), made in partnership with Spalding, are the first digital sports products to be embedded with inertial motion sensors, serving up coaches and players with various metrics concerning ballhandling, shooting, jump-explosion, defensive foot-speed agility and athleticism.

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Music to His Ears

12 Guys of Christmas: The Mediaphile

Thought purchasing a Christmas gift for your in-laws was tough? Try shopping for someone who knows everything about media gadgetry and can’t abide anything but the best. The Mediaphile’s affinity for films, games, music, and yes, eBooks, goes beyond the bounds of reason and continues to expand as the consumer market welcomes the latest tech innovations daily. Best believe he’s on top of everything from next-gen gaming consoles to popular subscription-based apps. This presents a problem, because you think HDMI, DSLR, DAC and WAV are medical tests and/or prerequisite exams for grad school applications. Don’t run to the Geek Squad yet. We’ve pulled together some awesome media-primed options worth your coin this holiday. He’ll thank you — and then you won’t see him for a couple months, save for Doritos runs and the rare bathroom break.

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See the Difference

Panasonic TC-PZT60

February of 2009 was a sad month for videophiles: Pioneer, maker of the critically acclaimed Kuro (“Black” in Japanese) line of premium HDTVs with best-in-class blacks, announced that it was throwing in the towel. Carrying the torch for the ailing plasma market fell to Panasonic, who dutifully purchased many of Pioneer’s patents. While consumers saw plenty of bells and whistles grafted onto TVs launched in the following years, no set managed to best the Kuro’s picture quality — until now. Panasonic’s flagship ZT60 series ($3,000) has finally dethroned the king.

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Through the Looking Glass

Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD

Announced all the way back in September 2012, Tamron’s 70-200 f/2.8 Di VC USD ($1500) — one of the company’s gutsiest moves into the pro lens field — had plenty of time to be picked apart prior to its release. Though the lens was announced a year and a half after Canon introduced the second edition of their vaunted 70-200 f/2.8 IS, the Tamron was able to combine image quality and build that kept up with the competition at a significantly reduced price point. In May 2013, nine months after its initial announcement, Tamron’s bold product was released — and then vindicated by an outpouring of positive reviews.

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Turnkey

McIntosh MT5

While anything bearing the McIntosh signature blue meters is guaranteed to catch our eyes faster than Brooklyn Decker at the pool, the MT5 Turntable ($6,500) deserves special attention. That’s partly because its 5-pound, 1.5-inch thick silicon acrylic platter glows greener than the envy of all who gaze upon it. But this beautiful piece of audio machinery has much, much more than just some literal flash.