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Sean Bacher

Something on the Side: A neater, cheaper PC

In this week’s round-up, SEAN BACHER highlights the CloudGate computer, Sony Smartband, Awox SmartLight, the Phillips NTRX100 Party Machine and the Xeno interactive monster.

CloudGate computer

The CloudGate computer uses the Android operating system that runs on many smartphones and tablets, but has the advantage of being able to be connected to an external screen, mouse and keyboard. This is makes it more like a home computer, just more affordable. The idea came about as people like using touch screen devices to read content, but sometimes find it difficult to input content using virtual keyboards. The computer has a hard drive, but uses this only for the operating system and programs – the user’s data is all stored in the cloud.

Stockists: Expect to pay: R2 000

Sony Smartband

The Sony Smartband features SmartWear, which records a user’s social, entertainment and physical activities on a daily basis. It also displays pictures that were taken that day as well as any Facebook or Twitter interactions. The Lifelog app displays weather forecasts and gathers points on how active a user is and what he or she eats. Additional apps can be downloaded to the wristband and it is compatible with most Sony smartphones. In contrast to the one-day battery life of many other smart bracelets on the market, the Smartband offers battery life of up to 5 days.

Stockists: Most electronic stores across South Africa. Expect to pay: R958

Awox SmartLight

Although it looks and acts like a normal light bulb, the Awox SmartLight does a little more than just illuminate a room. The light bulb is Bluetooth-enabled, which means a user can control the light with a smartphone. The SmartControl app is able to control up to eight lights at a 20-meter range, meaning you can save electricity by turning off unneeded lights without having to go to the light switch. The lights also change colour. They are screw-in bulbs, making them compatible with most household lamps.

Stockists: Most hardware and electronic stores across South Africa. Expect to pay: R455 per bulb.

Phillips NTRX100 Party Machine

The Philips NTRX100 Party Machine uses dual rotatable discs, allowing wannabe DJs to play and mix music from two music libraries. The routable discs also fast-forward and rewind a track. Users can connect smartphones, tablets and computers to the Party Machine, and can even pair their devices through Bluetooth or NFC (Near Field Communication). The Party Machine features an array of lights that change according to the beat and type of music being played.

Stockists: Makro Expect to pay: R 5 499

Xeno Monster

Through the use of LCD eyes and motorised arms and legs, the Xeno Monster toy is able to convey up to 40 emotions, ranging from anger through to happiness. Kids can interact with the monster through eight sensors on its hands, feet nose and mouth. These sensors are also used when playing games with the Xeno. The Xeno Monster is Wi-Fi enabled, enabling it to communicate with other Monsters in the same room. An app is also available for it and it provides users with a range mini games to keep the Xeno Monster entertained.

Stockists: Toys R Us stores nationwide.

Expect to pay: R1 200

* Sean Bacher is editor of Follow him on Twitter on @SeanBacher

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