Last night on The Shift with Drex, I talked about the new Apple Pencil and how it works with the new iPad Pro, the two hair styling products from Dyson, the Supersonic dryer and the Airwrap curler, the Momentum True Wireless earbuds from Sennheiser, and the sleek Nomad Base Station Apple Watch Edition.
Tech round-up for December 12: iPad Pro perfection, Dyson's approach to hair care, Sennheiser serves best wireless earbuds, Nomad's brilliant base station
This week, more cool tech to get you through your gift list. The Dyson Supersonic and Airwrap disrupt how hair gets styled, Sennheiser continues delivering the best sound to your ears, and Nomad’s classy base station is made for wireless charging. But first, what makes the new iPad Pro so great is its stylus.
New iPad Pro and Apple Pencil make for perfect pairing
When Apple’s new iPad Pro arrived at my house, it was more than a week before I got to spend any time with it. My first impression when I pulled the 12.9-inch model from the box, though, was that it is thin – the thinnest tablet made by Apple – and light enough to hold comfortably in one hand.
My kids, aged 8 and 11, made it their own for the first dozen days. They’ve got their own iPads, but they were curious about the Apple Pencil magnetically attached to the side of the new tablet. That led them to explore what they could do with the Apple Pencil. I downloaded Linea Sketch onto the device so they could do more drawing.
So it’s my own fault that I ended up hiding the device one morning and telling them that I’d sent it back to Apple. How else was I going to get my own time with it?
I spent a few days using it as a primary device, so I watched video, read some books, and played some games. I used it to FaceTime my mom and brother with Group FaceTime (part of iOS 12.1) and checked social networks and reviewed emails. I also played with some augmented reality (AR) experiences, which are perfect for this device because of its portability.
The new A12X Bionic chip that powers the new iPad Pro wasn’t slowed by anything I did.
As with the iPhone X models, there’s no home button here, which only gives me more opportunity to be amazed by Face ID, the most convenient way to use a mobile device. There’s also a much thinner bezel, which means you’re getting more screen as a result. The Liquid Retina LCD display is bright and responsive, and features Apple’s True Tone colouring.
There’s also no headphone jack, so you’ll need a dongle or Bluetooth headphones. The only port on the iPad is a USB-C, which makes it easier to charge the iPad, and allows you to more simply connect other devices to it.
And while I’m not skillful at drawing, I played with the Apple Pencil for a bit and realized that any real artist who isn’t already experimenting with what they can do on the new iPad Pro needs to give it a try. It’s remarkable what’s possible.
The new Apple Pencil is flat on one side, which not only provides a surface to attach to the side of the tablet but also keeps it from rolling onto the floor. While being able to charge the Pencil by attaching it to the iPad, the other killer feature of the new stylus is the ability to double tap with a fingertip to rapidly switch between things like a pen tip and the eraser.
The iPad Pro has now been sent back to Apple. The kids and I already miss it.
- iPad Pro 11-inch starts at $999 for Wi-Fi and $1,199 for Wi-Fi and cellular
- iPad Pro 12.9-inch start at $1,249 for Wi-Fi and $1,449 for Wi-Fi and cellular
- Smart Keyboard Folios are $239 and $269 depending on size
- Apple Pencil (second generation) is priced at $169
Dyson Supersonic and Airwrap disrupt hair styling
Clever Dyson engineers keep finding ways to leverage their digital motor and fluid dynamic technologies.
The Supersonic can produce heat if you need it, but the power of the Dyson digital motor flows air with such power that it can dry even the thickest of locks.
The Airwrap uses the Coanda effect, which is the same law of physics that gets airplanes off the ground, to pull and curl hair. It’s genius.
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless earbuds deliver top-notch sound
Combining Sennheiser’s quality speaker technology with robust wireless connectivity, the Momentum earbuds ($380) are also comfortable.
Charged with a USB-C cable, they’ll keep you going for about four hours, and the stylish case will give you an extra couple of fill-ups.
The microphone response is excellent, and the sound quality uncompromising.
With these in your ears, you won’t miss that headphone jack at all.
Nomad Base Station Apple Watch Edition
This stylish charging hub ($140) was designed for those wearing an Apple Watch. So while the base will wirelessly charge any Qi-certified smartphone, odds are it’ll be an iPhone nestling into the padded leather surface.
Nomad also sells a more generic base station without the Apple Watch holder. It can charge up to two devices wirelessly on the pad at the same time, outputting up to 20W. It also has two USB ports, one A and one C, to charge up to two additional devices with cables.
The Shift with Drex, December 6: #applewatchseries4, #edifierspeakers, #hueplaylightbars, #columbiaparka, #empirestrikesback
Last night on The Shift with Drex, I talked about the sleek new Series 4 model of the Apple Watch, Edifier’s new bookshelf speakers, Philips Hue Play light bars, and the Empire Strikes Back parka from Columbia.
Tech round-up for December 5: Apple Watch Series 4 is a step up, Edifier's bookshelf speakers fill the room, lighting design with Hue Play bars, Columbia's amazing Empire Strikes Back parka
This week, Edifier’s bookshelf speakers, Philips Hue Play LEDs, and Columbia’s limited edition Star Wars parka. But first, the beauty of the new Apple Watch.
Apple Watch Series 4 is a bigger device in a smaller case
Since the Apple Watch was introduced back in 2015, the software and interfaces have been improved, but the device itself was mostly the same. That changes with the Series 4 model, and while the new Apple Watch has a larger display, it’s actually a smaller device. And thanks to the curved corners, it fits my wrist better than any watch before.
I love it. And I’m using it more than ever.
I’m using it to monitor messages and notifications. I’m using it as an alarm clock and as a timer for subbing on soccer players.
I’m also using it more because our family got a dog this summer. And dogs, you may not know, need to be walked. My Apple Watch helps me get up before 6 every morning so I can feed the creature, after which we go for a walk around the neighbourhood.
That’s when the ability for the device to track my time and distance becomes essential. Because while puppies can’t walk very far, older dogs require more exercise to be healthy. Thanks to the Apple Watch, I know all of the one- and two-kilometre loops around our house.
And if I forget to tell the watch that I’m taking an outdoor walk, the device automatically detects the activity is happening, and tracks it.
The extra activity has got me running, too, and that’s another thing the Apple Watch helps me with. It can help me set and keep a pace.
I’ll admit I’ve been somewhat skeptical about fitness trackers, but I do know that you will “treasure what you measure” and simply by paying attention to the activity being monitored by my Apple Watch I’ve been moving more and am better for it.
Even the heart rate monitor helps me by providing basic information about my body and its status. I’m thrilled that my resting heart rate is now at 58 bpm, where it was when I was in university too many years ago to count.
The Series 4 Apple Watch can also detect falls, and while that’s not an issue for me yet, the fact that the sensors can monitor your status and make an emergency call on your behalf is quite something.
I haven’t yet taken advantage of the cellular functionality which would allow me to use my Apple Watch independently of my iPhone, but that’s on my list of things to do once I get up the nerve to call my mobile provider.
Once I’ve done that, though, I’ll be able to listen to podcasts and Apple Music through the Apple Watch, and without needing to have my iPhone with me. My dog walks are going to become even better.
Apple Watch Series 4 comes in two case sizes, 40 mm (starting at $399 for GPS only and $499 for GPS and cellular) and 44 mm (starting at $429 for GPS only and $529 for GPS and cellular). The new watches are available now.
Edifier bookshelf speakers are great without being smart
Sometimes you don’t need a speaker that’s smart, you just want good, room-filling sound. The Edifier R1850 bookshelf speakers ($250) are designed with a slight angle, pushing sound a bit up instead of straight out.
You can connect to the speakers with an optical cable or line in, but you’ll probably use Bluetooth 4.0, which will keep your smartphone connected even if you’re on the other side of the house. The speaker pair also comes with an output for a subwoofer and a remote control.
Light bars are the newest awesome LEDs in the Philips Hue family
The latest additions to the Philips Hue lineup are the Play LED light bars ($170 for two), which are perfect for doing some lighting design at home.
You can prop these on counters or coffee tables, you can mount them on walls, and you can clip them to the back of your TV or computer monitor for some nice bias lighting.
And they work with all the other Hue products and smart home devices.
Columbia’s designed a parka straight out of The Empire Strikes Back
For the discerning collector and Star Wars aficionado only is this special, limited edition parka from Columbia, modelled after the coats that the cast and crew wore while filming the Hoth scenes of The Empire Strikes Back.
Priced at Cdn$650, only one parka can be purchased per transaction, and these are available in limited quantities, although Columbia isn’t saying what that number is.
They go on sale on Friday, December 7 at 12:01 a.m. ET, which is actually Thursday, December 6 at 9:01 p.m. here in Vancouver.
This is an officially licensed product, and Columbia says their designers consulted with Lucasfilm to get the details right.
A couple of weeks ago, I talked about the technology that makes Columbia’s gear keep you warm and dry, and all of that has gone into this Star Wars Empire Crew Parka.
It’s waterproof with fully sealed seams, but breathable. And it uses the Omni-Heat technology for warmth.
With a removable hood and faux-fir trim, the jacket has lots of pockets, too.
This is a perfect holiday gift for the right person.
The Shift with Drex, November 29: #iphonexs, #beryllaserlight, #fastfotoscanner, #boostup, #msips42, #msip65
Last night on The Shift with Drex, I talked about what’s great about the new iPhone XS and XS Max, the bright and stunning Beryl Laserlight, Epson’s FastFoto scanner, Belkin’s Boost Up charging dock, and MSI’s new laptops for creatives.