Hey gang, Valkor here. Now that summer is practically over and the kids are back in school, it’s time to think about the next big thing – the holidays and what you’ll want Santa to bring you this year. And after paying a visit to this month’s "Pepcom NYC Holiday Showcase", I can name a few items I’d like have in the cave… other than donning my gay apparel (nothing wrong with that). So get yourself a glass of eggnog, queue up your favorite Christmas carol, and let TOV whisk you away on a magical, holiday, and techy journey.
For this round, I kept things pretty light, though the show floor was pretty packed. While I do give repeat coverage to companies we’ve covered before, you’ll also see some new faces that deserve just as much shine. As always, click the name if you’d like to learn more about the company. And definitely, tune into TOV TechView for full review not only from these companies but a host of others as well.
Hasbro – I remember when Furbys were first released back in the 80s; I knew that I’ve always wanted one, but was never able to get one. Believe me, in my hands, it would probably be the most perverted sounding Furby ever! But here we are some 30 plus years later and Furbys are making a comeback with “Furby Connect”! This newer model sports the same look as the older model with a modern touch up to draw in a newer audience. For starters, the eyes are animated, which opens it up to a wide range of expressions. Furby also comes with an app (available on iOS and Google Play Store), where you can play along with your Furby through a host of activities. Next up is “Furreal Friends: Torch my Blazin’ Dragon” pet and it’s probably one of the coolest items any kid would want to receive as a gift this year! Torch is mad plush, plus he comes loaded with interactive features; touch the emblem on his chest and he breathes mist, bring a marshmallow close to his mouth and he’ll not only toast it, but he’ll also “eat it” making the appropriate munching sounds.
Switchmate – Here’s a company that takes a classic idea and adds a modern spin to it. Switchmate brings you smart lighting made simple by placing one of its panels over your current light switches and voila! Switchmate, along with the associated app, will switch on lights when you arrive, turn them off when you leave, or you can schedule when the lights go on or off when you’re away, so it always looks like someone is home. It’s a great idea for those who don’t want to delve too deep into Smart Lighting tech without feeling overwhelmed. And it comes in two forms – toggle and rocker, so it’s perfect for any home!
littlebits – Think of littlebits like Legos, only to the next level. Its “electronic building blocks” that will allow your child to let their imagination run wild and create thousands of items, toys, whatever they can imagine. With the “Rule Your Room” kit, they can make up to eight items with the included instructions such as – burglar buzzer, creepy eyes, or top secret safe. Other kits available are gizmos and gadgets, steam kit, cloud starter kit and the smart home kit. It’s pretty cool idea and if your child is feeling the creative burn, this will definitely fuel the fire! Ezviz – We’ve only just begun our journey into smart home surveillance with Remocam, so, of course, any chance I get to check out new cameras, I’ll take it! Ezviz brought along a few of their Wi-Fi security cameras for both indoors and out. Each comes with full 1080p (or 720p) HD real time video and multiple options for video storage such as local MicroSD (up to 128GB), cloud (which requires a monthly payment), or you can connect and save the video to the Ezviz 1TB Vault DVR. I know how much fun Alacran had with Remocam and I can see him going nuts over this.
IDo3D – See that globe in the pic below? Well, that’s an impressive creation of the IDo3D pen, which brings your works of art out of the 2D world and into 3D, allowing you to draw vertically. Not only that but you can add decoration to your favorite toys, clothes, or accessories. It looks like a fun concept that anyone at any age can truly enjoy.
Touch of Modern – Normally you’d find a company like this at the Luxury Tech Event, so it was pretty amazing to run into “Touch of Modern” at Pepcom, who were showcasing a number of luxury products. I got a kick out of the Star Wars Stormtrooper, and equally impressed yet cautious around the $3000 Bluetooth speaker. Not only that, but we got the chance to sample filet mignon beef jerky from “Three Jerks”, examine bullet-shaped ice makers, and a slew of other products. And as a parting gift… Morphine lip balm, which is supposed to add a numbing spice to your make out session. Schnice!
Monoprice – It’s been a hot minute since Monoprice has paid a visit to the Val-Cave, but we’ll see if we can close that gap with some of their latest products to cross my path. First up is the SonicSolice Active Noise-Canceling Bluetooth Headphones, which look great and felt really comfy. But I wasn’t able to check out the audio, which we’ll save for a future review. There there’s the IP65 Rugged Power Bank, which looks like it might be able to take some abuse and keep on truckin’!
Ventev – The maker of all things mobile such as cables, battery packs, and power hubs, Ventev is never short on products to show off and thankfully I’ve picked out a few that are very promising. First up is the rq600 charginghub, which features 6 USB ports (one that’s quick charge capable), so that you’re never shorthanded when you're carrying multiple devices. And for all of you Pokemon Go players still hanging in there (such as myself), Ventev has a couple of thin battery pack options that are perfect for travel; first, we have the powercell 6000c and the 3015c, both of which comes with an attached cable (either microUSB or Lightning). Finally, while it’s not shown, we have the powercell 6000 that’s capable of charging two devices at once, plus it has one port for quick charging and the other standard. Expect a full review of the 6000 in a few days.
HyperX – An offshoot of Kingston, HyperX is about to make a name for itself as the standard in high-quality gaming audio and gaming accessories. In the pic below, you get a peek at their limited edition HyperX Revolver “Gears of War” gaming headsets. But not shown (but expect a full TOV review) were the Cloud Stinger, which is HyperX’s answer to mid-tier gaming headphones. They look and feel great, but how well will they perform? We’ll find out soon enough.
Plox – While the moment has passed for "Star Wars Episode VII", I’m about to get hyped all over again with the soon to be released “Rogue One” in a couple of months. And to add to the hype, the folks at Plox have the perfect device for the occasion – the levitating Death Star Bluetooth speaker. This speaker promises 360-degree audio, 5-hour playback and it floats as if beckoned by The Force itself… though we know it’s just a series of magnets. Still, it’s fun to pretend. And if you’re a fan of Star Wars or know someone who is, then Death Star Speaker definitely makes for the perfect gift!