Jan 14

Best of CES 2016: ValueBasket’s Top Picks

We’ve seen all that the show has to offer this year, and after numerous debates amongst the team, we’ve boiled it down to our top 5. We didn’t see any extraordinary or revolutionary technology introduced at CES this year, but what we did find were some great advancements in existing categories such as robotic technology, smart home products, and drones, from both big players and startups. Let’s dive straight into our list:

 

1. ili – The Wearable Translator

ili

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The minute I saw this I wanted to get one. This is the holy grail for travellers and businessmen going abroad. The ili resembles an iPod nano in appearance, but functions as a nifty wearable translator which you can wear as a pendant around your neck. Currently, it can only translate between English, Japanese and Chinese by vocal recording, but the company says it will add more languages in the future. It’s small, it’s convenient, and you don’t even need an internet connection. See how it works here.

 

2. JmGO View – Smart Portable Projector

JMGO-IGG-Header

Here’s something you need in your home. We’ve seen a lot of projectors in the market but none that caught our attention like the View. Its full metallic coating is absolutely gorgeous and gives it a really expensive look. We love how everything you’d expect out of an entertainment device is packed into the View: portability, built-in battery, wireless connectivity, surprisingly good HiFi speakers and of course, you can control it with your smartphone. I can see myself using this for some Netflix at home, but also to keep one in the office for presentations. This projector gives you 180-inch of HD projection in a well-designed body – we think it’s the perfect screen-less TV solution for 2016.  We heard it will be launching on Indiegogo soon, find out more here.

 

3. Ehang 184 – Self-flying Drone

ehang 184

One of the innovations that gathered a crowd was definitely the 184 drone by Ehang. This is not just any drone, it could actually fit a living person. It’s powered by electricity, runs on auto-flying mode, and gets you to your destination in one single point-to-point tap. This idea is both terrific and terrifying. This could be the future. Judge for yourself. 

 

4. Segway Personal Robot

segway 

In this era, everything must be smart, especially your ride. Segway, in partnership with Xiaomi and Intel, unveiled it’s latest technology at CES this year – a scooter that’s also a robot. In a nutshell, this is a very smart personal ride that’s capable of responding to your voice commands and carrying your shopping bags. That’s not all, you can add extensions to the robot, like robotic arms, for it to perform even more tasks. How cool is that!? Check it out here.

 

5. Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator

samsung

We can foresee every home in the future equipped with one of these. The Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator is such a good idea, we hope it came into our lives earlier. This smart fridge is equipped with a touch-screen on its door, on which you can order groceries and refill your fridge without having to leave the house. If you are already at the supermarket, simply beam your fridge’s content (it has internal cameras), to see what you have to get. You will never have to write a grocery list again. See more here.

 

Here are our top 5, what are some of your favorites from CES this year?

Jul 21

Nikon D810 – Nikon’s best DSLR?

There is no doubt that Nikon is often on the top of the wishlist of many professional and enthusiast photographers. The Nikon D810, a replacement of the earlier D800, is claimed to “produce the best image quality of any DSLR in Nikon’s history”.

Lets see how Nikon’s new DSLR has raised the bar:

-the D810 sports a magnificent 36.3 megapixel FX CMOS sensor which produces jaw-dropping image quality with intricate detail and sharpness

-the anti-aliasing filter present in previous models has been removed, allowing it to record even more detail than previous models.

Nikon D810

-improved noise control, coupled with EXPEED 4 processing engine (30% faster than EXPEED 3) allows for noise-free images from ISO 64 to 12800

-higher resolution LCD screen with scratch and shock resistance

-sensitivity range of ISO 64-12800 (can be extended to 32 – 51200)

-videos can be recorded at HD 1080p, coupled with ISO Auto Adjust for the ability to move smoothly between light and dark scenes

-easy to handle with a deeper grip and magnesium alloy that has been tested against weather and dust, to protect your camera during outdoor adventures

All this could be yours. Check out the more specs of the Nikon D810 here.

Jul 14

Beats Solo HD On-Ear Headphones with ControlTalk – An Overview

There’s no need for much convincing when it comes to the sound quality of Beats Headphones. The Beats Solo HD On-Ear Headphones with ControlTalk carries Beats’ powerful signature sound and a high-quality premium look.

Despite Beat’s appeal in sound, it can be a let down because of its bulky size and weight. The bass may sound great at the beginning, but it’s hard to deny that after long-wear the weight can cause more discomfort than pleasure to the ears and the head. The Beats Solo combines the best of both world, making great sound & structure into one headphones. They are made to be lighter and improved in areas of sound clarity, portability, and functionality.

With two speakers instead of one in each can, you can expect clearer highs and lows, and a more powerful bass. The additional built-in mic gives these headphones an added level of functionality that makes taking incoming calls a breeze. You can also use the remote control in the cord to take calls, adjust volume, and skip songs, which means you don’t even have to remove your phone from your pocket!

The cups are made of soft leather which gives it optimal comfort and class. And the headphones can be easily folded to a very compact size, small enough to fit into your purse.

Beats by Dr. Dre Solo HD On-Ear Headphones

 

Beats were created to give high-end audio quality to those who can’t do without a music-rush in their everyday lives. Hear the finest details of songs and feel what artists feel.

Available in classic black, groovy green, hot pink, posh purple and many other colors – you can be sure to find a pair that fits your liking. Check out Beats Solo HD On-Ear Headphones with ControlTalk here.

Jul 09

Oppo PM-1 Planar Magnetic Headphones – An Overview

Oppo PM-1

 

The Oppo PM-1 Planar Magnetic Headphones is not your average kind of headphones. They are a high-end and with its quality comes a hefty price tag. But are they worth it?

Planar What?

Unlike the vast majority of headphones, the PM-1 is planar magnetic. This technology is a big leap from the traditional dynamic speakers. Basically, it’s designed to overcome many limitations found in cone drivers. They are also a lot thinner and lighter as compared to dynamic drivers. Benefit-wise, planar magnetic transducers offer greater responsiveness, wider frequency response, lower distortion, can maintain performance over a longer period of time, and has an overall better sound quality.

 

Aesthetics

These headphones feature large earpads that are extremely well-made, soft, and puts minimal pressure on your ears. The earpads also allow for great axial movement which adds to the comfort when worn. With its body mainly constructed of metal and leather, it feels and looks the price. However, the PM-1 might feel slightly heavier than most over-ear earphones, but I would say that are still at the comfortable to wear for long periods.
Oppo PM-1

 

 

Sound Quality

The PM-1 has an open backed design with sheer speed and tonal accuracy when you move up the frequency range. The treble sounds pure and impressive. The PM-1 just misses out on perfection as its bass depth is perhaps the weakest area of the performance, but it has enough depth and impact impact to make bass driven music sound as powerful as it should be.

To describe the Oppo PM-1 in two words: it’s great. These headphones will be your music companion for a long time. (The only thing that isn’t so user-friendly is the price tag!)

Jun 30

Lenovo S930: Big Screen, Slender Design.

Being a person who has to move around the city a lot, I really appreciate having a device that can keep me entertained during long bus rides, and at the same time is light enough for me to carry around in my pocket throughout the day.

Given all the lightweight and big-screened smartphones available in the market nowadays, the Lenovo S930 is unique for a few good reasons.

 

Lenovo S930 smartphone

Visual Appeal

Videos or games always look better on a bigger screen. The Lenovo S930 offers a 6″ wideview display, with a thickness of 8.65mm and a weight of only 170g, it’s hard to resist taking this phone with you wherever you go. What’s more, text and websites are made easier to read on this wide screen, so you won’t have to zoom in and pan around the page in most situations.

 

Music To My Ears

With Dolby Digital Plus and Dual Speakers, you can expect to get some crystal clear, high-fidelity audio from this smartphone. You can also connect to your home theatre through the S930 to experience 7.1 channel surround sound. So that’s both your eyes and ears satisfied.

 

1.3GHz Quad Core Processor

S930′s 1.3GHz quad core processor allows you to multitask between different apps, as well as ensuring that your user experience is smooth and fast whether you’re browsing the web or playing games.

 

 

 

 

Other Cool Stuff

Dual SIM - great for separating business and pleasure

Dual Cameras – back and front cameras for high quality images or video calls

Offline GPS – satellite controlled GPS helps you find your way around the city even when you don’t have internet connection

 

Lenovo S930

Before you decide whether the Lenovo S930 is right for you, you can check out more technical specs here.

Jun 25

Blue’s Snowball USB Microphone: Rebirth of the Cool

Not everyone has the ability to record in a professional studio. But why should that stop you from creating music?

Blue’s Snowball USB Mic is a revolutionary, world’s first, professional USB mic. It lets you plug-and-play directly with your PC or Mac, then record instantly on any recording program without having to go through the trouble of installing additional programs.

 

Technology

The Snowball is a condenser mic, which means it gives a smooth open sound with a natural high-end. With a dual capsule design, you can switch between three recording settings (or polar patterns). What are polar patterns, you may ask. Polar patterns are like the different areas that the mic can capture sound.

-Cardioid is ideal for solos or podcasts as it records sound directly in front of the mic
-Omnidirectional is for multiple people or orchestra recording as it records from all around -and Cardioid w/10db Pad was created for recording loud instruments.

The different polar patterns are all very useful features of a mic which will help you control the pickup to capture the best sounds out of every situation.

 

 

Colors

Towards the end of last year, Blue announced an addition of five hot colors to the already very cool looking line of Snowball mics. Featured in Hot Pink, Wicked Purple, Bright Orange, Neon Green or Electric Blue, you’re sure to find something that suits your taste. But if you’re looking for something that looks a little less wild and a little more professional, the Snowball also comes in White, Gloss Black and Brushed Aluminium.

 

 

Whether its recording soft vocals or full metal rock bands, Youtube voiceovers, or ordinary Skype calls, the Snowball USB Microphone can give you incredible sound quality. Whats more, it’s actually priced lower than many other microphones in the market that don’t give you such high quality performance. If you’re serious about your music/podcasts, get a Snowball.

Jun 18

Fill a room the right way with the TDK V513 Wireless Sound Cube

In a market so densely populated with wireless speakers, it’s easy to get lost in the mix with what to choose- especially with the huge range of prices to choose from. This is where the TDK V513 Wireless Sound Cube steps in: where high quality signature sound meets a reasonable price tag that won’t break the bank.

 TDK Wireless Sound Cube

With 360 degrees of room filling TDK signature sound as well as a slim, appealing design and USB charging port for your device and adjustable base and treble, this sound cube is sure to become your favorite party assistant.

The TDK Sound Cube can also switch from omni-directional sound mode to select a sound direction that better suits your party, giving you the freedom of where to place your sound cube whilst maintaining optimal sound quality.

 

Sure it may not be a Bose surround sound home audio system, but with four 2-inch drivers, 2 passive radiators and a powerful subwoofer, this sleek black speaker is sure to produce exceptional audio quality for a reasonable price.

You can check out more features of the TDK Wireless Sound Cube here.

Jun 12

Sony Cyber-shot WX350 – World’s Smallest 20x Zoom Camera

In a world where digital cameras are on the brink of extinction by the replacement of smartphones, its one saving grace is optical zoom. Sony Cyber-shot WX350 offers a 20x Optimical Zoom lens, whilst holding the title of the world’s smallest and lightest camera in its category.

Portability

Made to be easily pocketable and with a light weight of 164g, it’s hard to find an excuse for not taking it with you wherever you go.

Sony Cyber-Shot WX-350

 

Image Quality

Equipped with a back-illuminated 18.2MP Exmor R CMOS sensor and a sensitivity of ISO3200-12800, the WX 350 achieves superb contrast even in low-light. The new BIONZ X image processor allows Full HD video with stereo sound, along with a continuous shooting rate of 10fps for a 10-shot burst. There are six shooting modes to choose from, such as: Intelligent Auto, Superior Auto, Program Auto, iSweep Panorama (a really cool mode that lets you pan the camera and it’ll automatically combine the images to form a panorama).

 

Ergonomics

To be honest there isn’t a lot to boast about how the WX350 looks. With its simple design, the camera is made to take good photos but is not much of a fashion item. There isn’t a finger or thumb grip, however, it is still pretty easy to grip once you get used to its shape in your hand. With a physical dial, you can rotate between six shootings modes easily without the frustrations that touch-screens sometimes give us.

 

With Wi-Fi connectivity, choose from the thirteen creative effects filters, and instantly share your precious memories with your loved ones!

 

Summary of features:

  • 18.2MP Exmor R CMOS Sensor
  • BIONZ Image Processor
  • 20x Optical Zoom 4.3-86mm f/3.5-6.5 Lens
  • 3-inch Clear Photo LCD 460k-Dot Monitor
  • Full HD 1080/60p AVCHD Video
  • Optical SteadyShot Image Stabilization
  • 10fps Continuous Shooting & Lock-On AF
  • Intelligent Sweep Panorama 360°
  • Enhanced Superior Auto
  • Built-In Wi-Fi Connectivity & NFC

 

If you’re looking for a budget-camera that takes impressive photos & videos, is so light you’d barely notice it’s there – why not go for the Sony Cyber-Shot WX350?

May 28

The Lenovo S860: A Breakdown

It’s not hard to see why this smartphone has caught so much attention. With a massive 4,000MHa battery, the Lenovo S860 not only guarantees up to 40 days of active standby and 24 hours of 3G talk time, but also enables users to charge other devices on the go through the powerful smartphone via microUSB.

A quad-core MediaTek 6582 processor powers the device, along with a Mali 400MP2 GPU and 2GB of RAM, enabling the smartphone to run Android 4.2 Jelly Bean smoothly. The device is also encased with brushed metal cover, making it more durable.

 Lenovo S860

 

With a large 5.3 inch, 720p resolution screen and an 8mp rear camera, the S860 captures great quality photos and video footage, despite not having full HD.

Whilst there is no microSD slot for additional memory, there are 2 Sim Card slots, making the S860 convenient for travelers who need access to dual networks.

Lenovo S860

As expected, all the familiar Android apps are included with the Lenovo overlay, not to mention numerous built-in Lenovo apps for sharing between Lenovo devices  backing up contacts and keeping the device secure.

Of course the restricted 16gb memory and HD limited resolution may not suit everyone, but all in all, the Lenovo S860 seems very compelling with it’s incredible battery capacity, large 5.3 inch screen and Dual SIM connectivity.

 

May 19

Canon IXUS 265 HS Digital Camera

The Canon IXUS 265 HS is a reasonably priced digital camera given the quality and features it offers. It fits easily into your pocket and is user-friendly too. I’ll point out a few features the Canon IXUS 265 offers and are also the features which I believe are necessary in a compact point-and-shoot.

 

Image quality

  • Having shaky hands is one of the major frustrations I face when taking photos, so I’m grateful for this camera’s 16 megapixel high sensitivity CMOS sensor, Image Stabilizer and Intelligent IS. These work together to eliminate blurriness in photos and has helped me take steadier and clearer shots.
  • Its 25mm ultra-wide angle is helpful for capturing group photos or wide view scenery.
  • Its optical zoom lens is sturdy in build and offers 12x zoom capability with 24x ZoomPlus to let you take close-ups as well as faraway objects without losing detail.
  • In dimly-lit situations, the DIGIC 4+ processor will improve low-light shots to reproduce photos just as you experienced it. With Canon’s winning sensor technology and processor, it can take high ISO images with a lot of noise, and still make it look good.
  • You can also record full HD (1080p) movies in MP4 format using the Intelligent IS feature, so you can shoot at ease while in motion

 

For Creativity

 

  • You get 3 modes to pick from: Auto, Creative Shot, Hybrid. Creative Shot lets you shoot six images in a burst – in different aspect ratios & color effects, so you end up with 6 different creative & funky photos. Hybrid Auto on the other hand, captures a 4-second video with every photo you snap.
  • Within Shooting mode menu, you’ll find a range of fun effects you can play around with, such as Fish-eye, Distortion and Retro Look.
  • Smart Shutter function automatically snaps a shot when it detects a smile!
  • And of course, you get different color or monochrome settings

 

Playback

  • Connect to your smartphone effortlessly using Wi-Fi to either share your experiences online and backup your favourite shots, or connect with printers to print your images directly
  • For videos, you can use the HDMI-CEC connection to see your recording on a compatible HDTV

 

Ease of Use

  • It’s pocket-size body (99.7 x 57.6 x 22.4mm) makes it easy to carry in a pocket or handbag, and point-and-shoot photos whenever the right moment comes up. 
  • Everyone appreciates a large LCD screen. The IXUS 265 offers a 7.5cm (3″) screen so you can see more and do more. However, do not that it isn’t touch-sensitive.
  • You can also download the Canon CameraWindow app on your smartphone and connect it to your camera to control it wirelessly.

 

 

Overall, the Canon IXUS 265 is for those who are looking for something compact in size, with good build quality, wireless connectivity, 12x zoom range, good colour and exposure, decent low light performance and to take 1080p videos.

Older posts