All posts by Juan Carlos Bagnell

Juan has been obsessed with consumer electronics since before computers had GUI’s. Out of college he worked on a JIT computing contract which supported DOE facilities in New Mexico. He’s been featured on numerous podcasts and radio shows lending his tech insights. You can also find him in LA directing voice over actors and producing spoken word recording.

Real Person Video Review: Tom Costello chats about his Nokia Lumia 521

nokia lumia 521 review hands on somegadgetguy smartphoneMy friend Tom Costello is a working actor in LA, and he was kind enough to sit down with me to chat about his experiences using his Nokia Lumia 520.

I hope to continue this as a semi-regular series on how real people (not tech bloggers) incorporate tech into their daily lives. You can catch our first Real Person Review of Marie talking about her Galaxy S4.

We had a few teething pains with Google Hangouts getting the interview started, but it settled down once we got to talking.

I really want to thank Tom for sharing his experiences, and to keep track of his projects, please check out his IMDB profile: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1843641/

HDMI 2.0 approved and anounced! Get ready for 4K video at 60fps!

hdmi 2.0 cable somegadgetguyThis is the best kind of update!

A shadowy forum of TV specialty Ninjas have finally pulled back the curtain hiding the newest HDMI specification from the public. At least that’s how these kinds of events go down in my head.

HDMI 2.0 will offer a big bump to bandwidth allowing for 4K video at 60fps. Nicely timed as we’re starting to see consumer solutions for 4K films and TV. Along with the ability to pump an 18Gbps data stream, HDMI 2.0 will also support up to 32 audio channels. Why that many audio channels? I don’t know, but it’s there, so that’s good.

Best of all you shouldn’t need to buy new cables! The Shadow Forum has determined that the current HDMI cable design is equal to the task.

Full PR after the jump.

Continue reading HDMI 2.0 approved and anounced! Get ready for 4K video at 60fps!

AT&T confirms plans to sell Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Gear

16 air commandAs AT&T was the first carrier to support phablets, launching the original Galaxy Note, it should come as no surprise that they’re already on board announcing their plans to carry the Note 3. There’s no pricing or availability info just yet, but if you’re interested in going large with Big Blue and a Sammy Phablet, you can sign up for an email notification when more info drops.

Also interesting, is their announcement to carry the Galaxy Gear, expanding their line up of smartphone accessories in AT&T retail channels.

We’ll know more as we get closer to Samsung’s target release date of September 25.

Funny satirical ‘Honest Cable Company’ Commercial blocked in Canada.

Oh Canada.

Apparently this video, which skewered how cable companies and ISP’s do business ruffled some feathers, and it’s currently blocked due to a defamation complaint up north. Bummer. It’s also frustrating as it calls into question how companies can silence dissent and satire using these automated copyright and defamation tools. Recently, several of my videos were flagged because I included a clip of Night of the Living Dead in them. NotLD is in the public domain, but someone copyrighted a new work incorporating part of the clip I used, but I digress.

I’ll have to save this ire for a proper rant editorial. Honestly I’m just covering this story to re-post this video which makes me laugh. That and I’m currently going through some issues with Time Warner Cable, and this is hitting particularly close to home at the moment. Enjoy (unless you’re in Canada)!

Qualcomm Toq competes for your Smartwatch affection

toq smartwatch qualcomm somegadgetguy mirasolWell Qualcomm. The one piece of advice I might give is to not announce your new smartwatch at the EXACT same time as a Samsung press event. That said, with Toq they are launching an interesting alternative to the other smartwatches we’ve seen so far.

First off the display uses Qualcomm’s Mirasol tech which reflects light around it to enhance view-ability.  Not using a traditional backlight should also reduce power consumption, a nice side effect for a gadget which should last all day and all night with you.

Unlike the Galaxy Gear, Toq will be compatible with every Android handset using 4.0.3 or higher through their Toq app in the Play store. The idea here is for sleek simplicity and at a glance functionality instead of Samsung’s approach which is almost a proper phone replacement. Toq will have simple controls for interacting with notifications and controlling apps like music playback. Plus you’ll have the ability to see caller ID to accept or reject in coming calls. No other buttons or controls. Qualcomm is keeping this set up simple.

toq smartwatch qualcomm somegadgetguy bluetooth headsetsAs an optional accessory, Toq can pair with a set of truly wireless bluetooth headsets. No cable or band connecting right ear and left ear any more, these are truly wireless. They link up and are controlled through Toq for all your audio needs.

A wireless charging base comes with Toq which can also juice up the bluetooth headsets. Again, simple and clean presentation, Toq looks like any other watch in a nice stand or case even when charging. No “geeky” cables or flaps hiding USB ports. Hopefully his should mean decent water resistance.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, this is one of Qualcomm’s first forays into the consumer space as its own brand. The techiest of folks might know which phones use Qualcomm internals, but few consumers probably have Qualcomm on their radar. This is a big step for a company which formerly operated in a somewhat “behind the scenes” fashion, and will likely be the beginning, the first product in a chain of future releases as they try to form relationships with consumers directly.

toq smartwatch qualcomm somegadgetguy wireless charging

More info on the official Toq site, and intro video below.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzTrqifCOhs&w=640&h=480]

IFA 2013: Asus shows off FonePad, MeMO Pads, and the Transformer Book T300

Asus MeMO Pad 10Asus brought an incredible line up of new gear out to Berlin for IFA, and we finally got a look at the hardware they’ve been teasing all week.

MeMO Pad was on display, their line of affordable tablets, in both eight and ten inch form factors. Both Android tablets use 1280×800 resolution screens, 1.6GHz quad-core processors, and come with 1GB of RAM. Interestingly enough the MeMO Pad 8 has a higher resolution rear camera at 5MP than the MeMO Pad 10 which only has a 2MP shooter. However, you should be mocked if you’re using tablet cameras out in public.

ASUS-Fonepad-7_02FonePad 7 is getting a refresh for 2013.  Still sporting a 7″ 1280×800 screen, this BigPhone/LilTablet hybrid aims to take a shot at devices like the Galaxy Mega. On board is a 1.6GHz Intel Atom with Hyper-Threading and 1GB of RAM. You can choose between 8GB/16GB/32GB for storage, and it will have MicroSD card support good for another 64GB. Asus touted their front facing stereo speakers, similar to those found on the HTC One, so hopefully this will rock as a speaker phone too. Asus hasn’t been known for great tablet audio in the past, so this will be a welcome improvement.

transformer book t300 (2)Moving up the food chain, Asus finally took the wraps off of the Transformer Book T300. Similar in design to their line of Android Transformers, the T300 is a full Windows 8 computer powered by an Intel Haswell Core processor with a 13.3″ screen rocking a full HD (1080p) screen. Optional SSD choices can push storage up to 256GB, and you can pick between an i3, i5, or i7 for your CPU. USB3 and Micro-HDMI are included, and all those proper computing guts are stuffed into a slate 11.5mm thin. Of course, the thing we love about Asus Transformers is the incredible keyboard dock functionality. Popping T300 onto the dock gives you a real Ultrabook experience, plus the dock houses an additional battery. Asus claims the combo should be good for 8 hours of run time. Plus the dock has magnets. Magnets are cool.

 

IFA 2013: The Rest of Sony’s Shock & Awe – Cameras, Speakers, and Laptops, oh my

Sony was a busy bee today, unveiling all kinds of goodies in Berlin.

CAMERAS 

1237130_10151672757411997_128816263_nFor those wanting to rock some HD video with great audio, the HDR-MV1 might be just the trick. Pairing a small HD camera to a pair of stereo mics, this looks to be an improvement over previous Flip-style cameras. A wide angle lens is built into the front so you shouldn’t have to stage it too far away to get the whole band in the shot. NFC and WiFi are also built in allowing you to quickly tap and share pics and vids to your favorite online destination. No current pricing info or availability.

1208825_10151672823256997_1561317119_nIf you need something a bit more “pro”, the FDR-AX1 Handycam might be more your speed. Sony’s first 4K camcorder records video at 60 frames per second in four times the resolution of HD TV. Pro mics are built into the front, with the ability to plug in XLR cables for additional audio options. Sony is using a 20X zoom lens (31.5mm-630mm) so you should have most shooting situations covered in that range, and built in ND filters can help you cut bright light out of your frame. $4499 is the pre-order price and it’s expected to ship early October.

Speakers and Headphones

1233473_10151672757861997_1430604708_nPortable wireless speakers are hot right now, we’ll be covering a few audio solutions in the coming weeks here on SGG. Sony showed off their Splash-Proof Bluetooth wireless speaker today. Looks like a great solution to bringing audio to small gatherings and spaces. Plus you don’t have to fear a trip to the pool or beach as they’re water resistant. Available now in six colors for $129.99 each.

555336_10151672757451997_688780776_nIf you want to keep your tunes to yourself however, Sony is also dropping a new pair of noise cancelling headphones. The MDR-10R feature a comfortable looking on the ear design which should help with isolation, and active noise reduction will sample the background audio around you and block it. $269.99 pre-order and they should ship the middle of October.

Laptops and Tablets

Sony is moving into its Windows 8 strategy nicely.

1229954_10151672756976997_685812621_nThe Vaio Tap 11 is Sony’s response to the Surface Pro and Asus Transformer Books of the world. It’s an 11″ slate running a full version of Windows 8. Built into the rear of the Tap is a kickstand like the Surface, which allows the tablet to stand and interact with a wireless keyboard cover accessory. Folded up together, the keyboard and Tap 11 are about as thick as the Surface pro alone, and Sony might just be telling us the truth when they boast this is the world’s thinnest PC.

Standard Ultrabook options are built in behind the 1080p display, and you have your choice of Core i3, i5, and i7 paired with up to 512GB of solid state storage. USB 3 and Micro HDMI are on board for connectivity, and the screen has a wacom tablet built in for pen touch computing. Front and rear facing cameras help with your video needs, and an IR blaster is built in to use the Tap as a universal remote for your TV and cable box. No pricing or availability yet.

sony-vaio-flip-575x368The Sony Vaio Flip is an interesting twist on the convertible laptop (see what I did there). A hinge in the middle of the screen allows the display to flip outwards from the keyboard in a kiosk-like setup, or to fold flat on top of the keyboard to use the computer as a slate. And that display is a very high resolution 2880×1620, while the guts of this mobile work horse are also capable of driving a 4K display.

Screen sizes will come in 13, 14, and 15 inch flavors with your standard CPU and storage options. 14 and 15″ models will also have the option for discrete graphics, here an NVIDIA GT735M, a welcome option for graphics professionals really wanting to get the most out of that UltraHd screen.

1185589_10151672757711997_764467108_nLastly, the Tap 21 is pretty much what it sounds like, a 21.5″ version of the Tap 11. Obviously more of a desktop replacement, it does only weigh eight pounds, which could make it an interesting semi-mobile solution for things like presentations where we would normally carry a computer and a monitor or projector. Improvements to the Tap 21 include a new hinge which allows the system to reach just about any angle from near perfectly flat to completely upright.

Well done Sony. I think I might need to take a nap now…

Video Review: DreSuit’s Bamboo Bed Stand for iPad

dresuit bed stand ipad inexpensive bamboo review somegadgetguyAdmit it.

You use your tablet so much it’s starting to give you back and arm pain. You’ve tried propping it up on pillows or on cradles. It’s embarrassing. I get it. It’s ok. This happens to the best of us. No judgement here.

Well DreSuit might have just the trick to help you use your iPad in creative positions. Best of all, it’s quite inexpensive!

DreSuit Bed Stand for iPad on Amazon: http://goo.gl/t6jQRs