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Today in Gear: July 9, 2014

Today in Gear: Own Rodger Federer’s new Wilson racket, Microsoft’s Kinect sensor for app developers, Cole Haan’s super light shoes, Harbor Metal’s repurposed airline bar cabinets and more.

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Doing more

Elements: Dual Threats

Two for the price of one. Who can’t get behind a premise like that? We’re not talking about Corona-themed tank tops hocked in Cancun to the fanny-packed masses here (but…still). We’re talking about those rare multi-tasking gems that force you to reassess what’s possible in this day and age. The best of the dual-threat bunch become icons, whether real — the Swiss Army Knife, Bo Jackson — or imagined — a Delorean turned time machine. Most at least make the rest of your possessions look useless in comparison. In some cases their genius stems from clever hacks that seem obvious in hindsight; in others, the magic comes from years of groundbreaking research and technological progress. This is a celebration of versatile items from all walks of life. May your future purchases forever be multi-talented.

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Third time's the charm

Design Spotlight: Microsoft Surface Pro 3

Is it our technological destiny to want both a tablet and a laptop forever, or can advances in hardware and software, combined with intelligent design, actually unify our professional and personal lives within one screen? Microsoft made its stance on the matter abundantly clear with the launch of the original Surface in the summer of 2012.

Two years later, the third iteration of the Surface is a marvel of engineering honed by experience and proving more than ever that Microsoft’s vision for the future of computing is as real as it gets. Here’s a rundown of the key innovations that make new Surface Pro 3 both a powerful Intel Core laptop and an easy-to-use tablet.

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Today in Gear: May 21, 2014

Today in gear: Mircosoft’s latest attempt to kill your laptop once and for all, Clif’s new Builder’s bars, Dodge’s Challenger SRT Hellcat, a Stone IPA with the String Cheese Incident, Ursa Major’s travel solution to a dirty face and Twelve South’s new HoverBar for practically every iPad under the sun.

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Today in Gear: March 31, 2014

Today in Gear we examine the return of the “Pepsi bezel”, Office’s move to mobile, an off-roading bumper built for Wranglers, a new escapement from Nomos and a modern take on the Super 8.

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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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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.

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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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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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Talk about shopping in advance

12 Guys of Christmas: The Techie

Oddly enough, the proliferation of electronic gadgetry, computer stuff and other digital goodies has made buying for the discerning sparkhead (we just coined that — please enjoy and proliferate at will) tougher. With this list, we aim to make the shopping a little simpler by covering suggestions for readers, photogs, movie buffs and gamers. Take a gander and start clicking; your techie giftee will thank you, probably with an email or holographic video message or something.

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Today in Gear: September 25, 2013

Timberland 40th Anniversary Ltd. Collection Traditionally, rubies are the gift of choice for a 40th anniversary. In lieu of red gems Timberland is upgrading their signature boots; their classic yellow boots, Super Boot and World Hiker all get a refresh for this run, including details like PrimaLoft insulation, Vibram soles and Gore-Tex. You’ll have to…

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Gentlemen, start your graphics engines

Drive By Wire: 5 Best Racing Games

You grew up on Mario Kart, but that’s just it — you’ve grown up. But… not entirely. You still want to grip a controller and curse at a screen and burn rubber without having to see (real) flashing lights in the rearview. You want risk life and limb in the pursuit of speed — but not actually, you know, risk life and limb. Stretch your thumbs and be prepared to make up for the drudgery of that godawful commute this morning: here are the best racing games for most every platform.

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Brace for Betas

High Scorers: 5 Video Games Worth Waiting For

Walk into any amazon.com these days and you’ll be confronted with an incredibly massive library of video games; a new field of consoles (see sidebar below) just adds to the melee. How do you sort the Grand Theft Autos from the ExtremePaintbrawls*? We took a look at the crop of upcoming games for both current-gen and next-gen consoles and found the games you should be looking forward to.

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Today in Gear: June 11, 2013

Microsoft Xbox One Microsoft just announced pricing for its new flagship gaming system, the Xbox One, due for a November launch. To the chagrin of everyone, espeically teenage boys subsisting entirely on allowance and lawn-mowing money, at $499 it’s priced a bit higher than anticipated. $499 PlayStation 4 The PlayStation 4 will be released in…

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Lighten the load

Super Models: The 10 Best Lightweight Laptops

When it comes to choosing the right laptop, everyone seeks three necessities: a sleek profile, high performance, and most importantly, portability. A weighty — or worse, bulky — portable computer can take a heavy toll on the body and make daily commuting a pain in the ass; yet everyone from business buffs to college grads wants a machine powerful enough to meet computing needs. We’re fortunate to bask in a beautiful balance of both virtues thanks to the latest leaps in laptop engineering. From convertibles to high-end subnotebooks, we sifted through the market to find the best laptops weighing in at under four pounds. Just remember, they’ll probably make you look fat in comparison.

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One for All

Breakdown: Xbox One

Ambiguous branding aside (trade you my Xbox 1 for your Xbox One!), we’re predicting the Xbox 360′s singular successor to be a hit. The just-unveiled console’s first looks are rolling in, and though we haven’t gotten our paws on it yet, our Master Chief Covenant-killin’ senses are tingling. We break down the 360′s successor.

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Drive a wedge

Microsoft Wedge Mobile Keyboard & Mouse

Leaning into the October launch of tablet-ready Windows 8, Microsoft’s Wedge Mobile Keyboard and Mouse saves you from sacrificing screen real estate for data input. The two compact tools are both Bluetooth-enabled and designed to match smoothly with the company’s operating system. The keyboard comes with Hotkeys set to take full advantage of Windows 8…

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Arm flailing not required

Asus Taichi Ultrabook Tablet

Anyone who’s tried working off just a tablet for a day has experienced the ecstasy of an easy, lightweight carry, and the agony of hunching over a slightly inclined screen for 10 hours. Like other gadgets we’ve seen, the Asus Taichi aims to solve that dilemma by combining an ultrabook and tablet into one airy…

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Two of a kind

Microsoft Surface Windows RT & Windows 8 Pro Tablets

It was no secret that Microsoft intended to make their new crown jewel Windows 8 operating system equally capable on both desktops as well as their eventual potential replacements — tablets. Few predicted, though, that the house that Bill built would cross the dangerous line from software Czar to hardware vendor with a Microsoft branded…

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Scandinavian Champion

Nokia Lumia 800

The Nokia Lumia 800 is the first overwhelmingly positive result born from two mobile underdogs. It’s essentially Nokia’s gorgeous N9 on the hardware side, packed finally with a mobile OS (Windows Phone 7) whose tombstone isn’t already chiseled. Its curved, 3.7-inch, 12.1mm-thick polycarbonate frame and ClearBlack AMOLED display looks and feels almost like the iPod…

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D for "About Damn Time"

Xbox 360 Controller With Twist-Up D-pad

Sure, the new Xbox Wireless Controller with Twist D-pad ($65) features a smooth matte silver finish along with spiffy monochrome buttons, but it’s the new transforming D-pad that gives our hadouken launching fingers pause. With a simple twist, the D-pad’s directional bars rise a 1/4″ to give traditional gamers (especially fighting games) new found life…

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Redmond's Long Rumored Handsets Are Headed for Verizon

Microsoft Kin One & Two

Known as the Microsoft Pink, Pure, and Turtle by the tech rumor mill leading up to their launch, Microsoft in the end seems to have ditched these monikers for something far more Seussian. Dubbed Kin 1 and Kin 2, both handsets are aimed squarely at the texting, Facebooking, and Twittering masses of young adults immersed…

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iPad Challenger, Round 1

Microsoft Courier

The Apple iPad has caught the eyes of many, but frankly not all of us are in the the Federated Obsessed Fanboys of Apple. The Microsoft Courier isn’t yet entirely real, nor can you order it next week like the Apple iPad, but the recently leaked specs show that the tablet/e-reader/netbook will be under 1″…

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The Engadget Show with Steve Ballmer

Yesterday in the midst of Windows 7 Launch craziness, the New York based Gear Patrol staff took some time away from the gear-review mayhem to go see Engadget editor-in-chief Josh Topolsky grill Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer on everything from the new Window 7’s improvement over it’s dismal predecessor Vista, to Ballmer’s knowledge of the elusive…