Our obsession with hardware is here to stay — don’t expect an apology for it anytime soon. We’ll be the first to admit, though, that even the right headphones, speakers and amps are only as good as the source material you play through them. Garbage in, garbage out. The solution? Get more out of the tunes you love by upgrading your music library.
Five Oceans, Five Cameras
Nowadays, there are many options for underwater photography and videography available to the avid diver and occasional vacation snorkeler alike. These five underwater imaging options — everything from custom-machined metal housings to cameras that don’t need a housing at all — will serve you well on your next dive trip. What you shoot is up to you.
No excuses, just good shots
Today’s affordable tools, cameras, classes and copious creative outlets have brought making a film (one of the best story-telling devices) nearly to the everyman. Still, all those advances can’t change a basic fact: sometimes making a movie means going to where the story is rather than waiting for it to come to you. But paying to check 10 Pelican cases of equipment will essentially eat your entire production budget, not to mention it’s tough to sneak into a location if you have a fleet of boxes and bags. This kit can be carried by one or two people in traditional suitcases — which means you get your shots, no matter where those shots may be.
Nip your audio in the bud
Earbuds, rather than full-size headphones, are essential to many a man mostly because they are so very compact. If you’re a commuter or jogger or some other type of person who can’t balance one-pound earmuffs on your head all day, and you don’t want to spend a pretty penny on something that you’re likely to lose or break, these are for you. They’re the best budget earbuds we’ve heard of, so listen up.
Nowadays media streaming devices offer dramatically improved user experiences, access to a wide range of content at 1080p, and price tags easily within anyone’s budget, making it easier than ever to cut the cable company’s iron umbilical cord. We’ve selected the top five that should satiate any media user, aficionado to amateur.
Stuttgart Speeds Into the 21st Century
From the Archives: 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.
If you fake it, you won't make it
Canon is on the front line of the assault against counterfeit parts, taking the proverbial (cannon) shot across counterfeiters’ bows. Counterfeit products, be they purses or batteries, boast cheap price tags because they’re cheaply made. Fake Canon batteries, battery grips and chargers aren’t manufactured under the stringent quality standards and regulations that true Canon products are, and as such they can be at best a nuisance — lower performance, voided warranties — and at worst cause hazards like overheating, device damage and fires.
Three Amateur Gamers Play for 14 Hours Straight
From the Archives: Three GP staffers, all casual gamers, tested the Xbox One for over 14 hours straight and came away with a severe lack of sleep and plenty of strong first impressions. Addicted? Clearly. Here’s what they remember.
Ever wish you could hit a 95 mph fastball? Us too. In lieu of that pipe dream we’ll happily take the ability to see a 95 mph fastball better while whiffing. Aaron Seitz — a neuroscientist at The University of California Riverside (UCR) — seems to have an answer with a new eye training app. His creation may have more far-reaching consequences than an increase in homers.
The pick of the little
Does your iPad Mini Retina need some love? We’ve updated our best iPad Mini & Mini Retina cases at a variety of price points to help get your new Cupertino buddy from birthday suit to warm and cozy. Whether you prioritize looks, function or insurance for your butterfingers, each of these iPad Mini cases has a forte — and a price.
Anyone who followed CES this year saw the amount of new wireless Bluetooth speakers — an avalanche eclipsed only by the utter horde of new fitness trackers. Still, it’s clear when a winner emerges from the pack. While the fight for the best portable Bluetooth speaker continues, one high-end contender threatens to end the competition: the foxL DASH 7 ($219), produced by Soundmatters, the same company that originally provided components for the best-selling Jambox.
To Russia We Fly
Packing for a trip to Russia for the Sochi Olympics is no small feat. There’s weather, international travel, technology and a desire to stay light on our feet to consider. Gear needs to be tough, functional, lightweight and understated. Here’s a sampling of what we’re packing to use on a normal day in Sochi.
Less is more, you photo whore
As it turns out, most of Instagram’s 100 million users aren’t jet setting to exotic locations, climbing mountains or doing other exceptionally picturesque stuff (see #dentist for further evidence). That being said, you don’t have to summit Everest to post interesting Instagrams. By following a few (relatively) straightforward guidelines you’ll soon be ‘gramming like Ansel Adams.
Go Forth and Multiply
The Iris Smart Kit ($299) does a fantastic job of keeping our home in check, but a quick survey of the complementary products available for the Iris Home Management System, by Lowe’s, had us feeling like a pot-bellied biker with a bone-stock Harley at home. Accordingly, we tested out an Iris Kit army of great add-ons.
There once was a...
Storehouse brings illustrative storytelling to the everyman (and everywoman) through an iPad app with a very basic formula: add photos from dropbox, your photo library, Flickr or Instagram, then swipe, pinch, and pull to structure them in a wide variety of formats, with or without text, which can likewise be added and edited. More importantly, it brings better alternative storytelling abilities to those outside of major publications.
The best gets better
Audioengine’s original A2 speakers launched in 2008 and were immediately showered with praise. They were sized to feel right at home on a desk but also boasted smart design decisions and spectacular sound quality, both of which were more in line with traditional bookshelf speakers or studio monitors. The newly updated Audioengine A2+ ($249) retains its predecessor’s baseline of quality but builds upon that wide range of usefulness with notable improvements for a variety of audio setups.
Integrated Tech, Around the Clock
The smart watch has been a future fiction muse for decades. Dick Tracy used his to keep in touch with The Chief; George Jetson undoubtedly strapped one on before heading to work and leaving Rosie to take care of the kids and his
shopping-obsessed fashionable wife. But here’s what all the clever creators behind those characters were missing: wrist-based tech that wasn’t just for business. Whether it’s tucked under the cuff of a sport coat or a sweatshirt, the Qualcomm Toq excels at conveniently (and discretely) connecting users to their digital livelihoods.
Bigger is Better
Now that the content is beginning to arrive and prices are right, it’s time for consumers and video professionals to use 4K monitors. A whole crop of 4K displays have been announced by all the big names in electronics (save for one…we’re waiting on you, Cupertino), and the variety combined with esoteric naming conventions can lead any well-minded consumer to bouts of madness. We’re here to help. Here are our five favorites that you can actually afford.
Empty Canvases, Waiting to be Filled
We know you love leather bags, and so do we. But there are times, say, when you’re toting your photography gear, that you need a more all-weather, utilitarian alternative. In fact, we’ll say it now — leave the leather for trips and commutes. We’ve rounded up our favorites and put them through their paces to come up with our list of the five best canvas camera bags for the discerning photographer.
What Happens in Vegas Goes on the Internet
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 Steam’s new controller, a Garmin dashcam, a digital servant and more.
Get more time on the clock
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.
What Happens in Vegas Goes on the Internet
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.
How It's Made
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.
Get Above the Action
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.
What Happens in Vegas Goes on the Internet
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.
What happens in Vegas goes on the internet
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 |…
The Start of a Smarter Home
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.
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.
It's all in the wrist
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.
SOS for Less
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.