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Something on the Side: Dyson’s vacuum really sucks – in a good way

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In this Something on the Side issue, SEAN BACHER reviews the Dyson V6 cordless vacuum, Guardian Eye Lite outdoor camera, Fitbit Charge HR, Seagate Seven 500GB external hard drive and the Amped Wireless AC1750 WiFi extender.

Dyson V6 cordless vacuum

Many cordless or handheld vacuums have been infamous for their lack of suction power. They are great for a few crumbs around the house, but that’s about it. However, this isn’t the case with the Dyson V6. The vacuum creates a cyclonic effect via a magnet that spins110 000 times per minute, generating enough suction to pick up dirt on just about any floor type. The battery will last up to 20 minutes, and there is even a boost mode for really stubborn dirt.

Expect to pay: R5100

Stockists: Visit www.dyson.co.za

Guardian Eye Lite outdoor camera

Once mounted and linked to a WiFi network, the Guardian Eye Lite outdoor camera can be accessed remotely via any smartphone, tablet or computer. It features three infra-red LEDs that display night-mode scenes with brilliant clarity. Features like motion-triggered alerts, an SD card slot and the transmission of audio make it an ideal home security accessory.

Expect to pay: R2549

Stockists: Visit www.voxtelecom.co.za

 

Fitbit Charge HR

The Fitbit Charge HR continually measures a user’s footsteps, distance walked, calories burned and heart rate. This data is then synchronised with a smartphone, giving the wearer an up-to-date overview of daily movements. The Charge HR also includes a silent alarm and displays the date and time. Sleep patterns and times are recorded but, unlike its predecessor, the Charge HR does not have to be manually put into sleep mode.

Expect to pay: R2499

Stockists: Visit www.zastore.co.za

 

Seagate Seven 500GB external hard drive

The Seagate Seven’s enclosure is made entirely of steel, which makes it thin and sturdy. It is compatible with most operating systems and connects via USB 3. In keeping with the drive’s style, Seagate has moved away from the standard USB cable and used a braided design, making it more flexible and easier to use in cramped situations. With its dimensions and weight closely resembling that of a Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone, the Seagate Seven is a great addition to a business traveler’s backpack.

Expect to pay: R1500

Stockists: Most reputable electronics retail outlets nationwide.

 

Amped Wireless AC1750 WiFi extender

Most users these days have numerous notebooks, TVs, smartphones and computers all connected to their home WiFi network. The problem is that many of these devices sometimes fall outside the range of the WiFi signal. To remedy this, manufacturers have been manufacturing WiFi extenders, but these are often cumbersome and difficult to install and setup. However, with the Amped Wireless AC1750 WiFi extender, users just need to find a suitably placed electrical outlet and plug in the extender. No setup or additional software installation is required and the WiFi coverage is extended by 10 000 square feet. A word of warning, though: before you plug in the extender, make sure your WiFi is properly secured with passwords.

Expect to pay: R2000

Stockists: Visit www.ampedwireless.com

* Sean Bacher is editor of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @SeanBacher

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Low-cost wireless sport earphones get a kickstart

Wireless earphone brands are common, but not crowdfunded brands. BRYAN TURNER takes the K Sport Wireless for a run.

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As wireless technology becomes better, Bluetooth earphones have become popular in the consumer market. KuaiFit aspires to make them even more accessible to more people through a cheaper, quality product, by selling the K Sport Wireless Earphones directly from its Kickstarter page

KuaiFit has an app by the same name which offers voice-guided personal training services in almost every type of exercise, from cardio to weight-lifting. A vast range of connectivity to third-party sensors is available, like heart rate sensors and GPS devices, which work well with guided coaching. 

The app starts off with selecting a fitness level: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Thereafter, one has the ability to connect with real personal trainers via a subscription to its paid service. The subscription comes free for 6 months with the earphones, and R30 per month thereafter. 

The box includes a manual, a USB to two USB Type B connectors, different sized soft plastic eartips and the two earphone units. Each earphone is wireless and connects to the other independently of wires. This puts the K Sport Wireless in the realm of the Apple Earpods in terms of connection style. 

The earphones are just over 2cm wide and 2cm high. The set is black with a light blue KuaiFit logo on the earphone’s button. 

The button functions as an on/off switch when long-pressed and a play/pause button when quick-pressed. The dual-button set-up is convenient in everyday use, allowing for playback control depending on which hand is free. Two connectivity modes are available, single earphone mode or dual earphone mode. The dual earphone mode intelligently connects the second earphone and syncs stereo audio a few seconds after powering on. 

In terms of connectivity, the earphones are Bluetooth 4.1 with a massive 10-meter range, provided there are no obstacles between the device and the earphones. While it’s not Bluetooth 5, it still falls into the Bluetooth Low Energy connection category, meaning that the smartphone’s battery won’t be drastically affected by a consistent connection to the earphones. The batteries within the earphones aren’t specifically listed but last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the mode. 

Audio quality is surprisingly good for earphones at this price point. The headset style is restricted to in-ear due to its small design and probable usage in movement-intensive activities. As a result, one has to be very careful how one puts these earphones, in because bass has the potential of getting reduced from an incorrect in-ear placement. In-ear earphones are usually notorious for ear discomfort and suction pain after extended usage. These earphones are one of the very few in this price range that are comfortable and don’t cause discomfort. The good quality of the soft plastic ear tip is definitely a factor in the high level of comfort of the in-ear earphone experience.

Overall, the K Sport Wireless earphones are great considering the sound quality and the low price: US$30 on Kickstarter.

Find them on Kickstarter here.

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Taxify enters Google Maps

A recent update to Taxify now uses Google Maps which allows users to identify their drivers, find public transport and search for billing options.

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People planning their travel routes using Google Maps will now see a Taxify icon in the app, in addition to the familiar car, public transport, walking and billing options.

Taxify started operating in South Africa in 2016 and as of October 2018 operates in seven South African cities – Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane.

Once riders have searched for their destination and asked the app for directions, Google Maps shares the proximity of cars on the Taxify platform, as well as an estimated fare for the trip.

If users see that taking the Taxify option is their best bet, they can simply tap on the ‘Open app’ icon, to complete the process of booking the ride. Customers without the app on their device will be prompted to install Taxify first.

This integration makes it possible for users to evaluate which of the private, public or e-hailing modes of transport are most time-efficient and cost-effective.

“This integration with Google Maps makes it so much easier for users to choose the best way to move around their city,” says Gareth Taylor, Taxify’s country manager for South Africa. “They’ll have quick comparisons between estimated arrival times for the different modes of transport, as well as fares they can expect to pay, which will help save both time and money,” he added.

Taxify rides in Google Maps are rolling out globally today and will be available in more than 15 countries, with South Africa being one of the first countries to benefit from this convenient service.

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