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Sonos Play:1

Sonos has formally announced the new Play:1 wireless speaker, bringing the price of entry into the Sonos world down to $199. This is a welcome addition to the lineup of what Gear Live considers to be the best speaker system on the planet, making it more affordable to get into. Even better, those who pick up the Play:1 between now and the end of 2013 will also get a free Sonos Bridge thrown in ($50 value) to get the system going.

A custom-designed mid-woofer and tweeter deliver deep, rich and surprisingly big sound. With a powerful low-end and crisp mids and highs, new smart processing technology pushes Sonos’ drivers further than ever before, minimizing distortion even at full volume. Plus, PLAY:1 projects a wide field of sound, delivering a great listening experience no matter where you are sitting in the room.

The new Sonos Play:1 is available in two colors (black and white,) and maintains the same feature set as the other Sonos standalone wireless speakers--it's just smaller, with two drivers (despite the name) powering the sound. There's a 3.5-inch extended-throw mid-woofer paired with an extended-throw tweeter. You can grab two of them and create a true stereo pair with audio separation for even better sound, or pair two of them with a Sonos SUB for even better bass. Heck, throw two Play:1 units, the SUB, and the Sonos Playbar together and you have a fantastic 5.1 wireless surround sound system that you can also use to play your music (see our Sonos Playbar review.) Or, just grab one Play:1 and put it in the kitchen or bathroom as an extra Sonos zone--they're wall-mountable and humidity-resistant.

The Sonos Play:1 is available now throughout the US, and will see its international release on October 29. Again, you can pick up the Play:1 now and get a free Sonos Bridge thrown in if you buy before the end of the year.

Read More | Sonos Play:1

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Fitbit Force

The Fitbit Force is a new fitness tracking wristband from the company that started this whole quantified self fitness gadget craze. About half a year ago, Fitbit launched its first fitness tracking wristband, the Flex, which was a little feature-barren when compared to its other offerings. The Force changes that, as it does everything that any other Fitbit can do, plus more. That means that it will keep track of your steps, distance traveled, how many minutes you were active, how many floors you've climbed, how well (and how long) you are sleeping, and even call notifications from your iPhone, as long as yo are running iOS 7 on an iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, or iPhone 5s--that last feature will be introduced soon through a software update.

The Fitbit Force should last for about 7-10 days on a charge, thanks to its Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy profile and low-powered OLED display. You can order it now in one of two colors (black and slate blue) for $129.95.

Click to continue reading Fitbit Force fitness band features iPhone call notifications

Read More | Fitbit Force

iPad mini Retina

Apple is set to announce its brand new iPad 5 and iPad mini with Retina display on October 22, according to AllThingsD sources familiar with the matter. After announcing the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c in September, Apple will be following a similar pattern to last year, with the October announcement focusing on its tablets.

So what can we expect from the event? For starters, the fifth-generation iPad will see a redesign, bringing in cues from the iPad mini, like the thinner side bezels and a more sleek rear design. The iPad mini will be picking up a Retina display, the one glaring omission from the original model that launched almost a year ago. No word yet on if the Touch ID fingerprint technology will make it to either tablet, but we have heard reports that we may see both a space gray color, and the champagne gold that's been popular on the iPhone 5s (see our iPhone 5s review.) IGZO display technology from Sharp may be featured here, and AllThingsD says that both models will sport the new 64-bit A7 processor as well.

Of course, there are other products we're waiting for Apple to update us on as well, so there's a good chance we will also get pricing and release information for the new Mac Pro, OS X Mavericks (especially since the Mavericks Golden Master is available to developers,) and a spec bump for the MacBook Pro to include Haswell processors, and possibly an Apple TV update. Of course, we'll be here to bring you all the news as it unfolds.

Read More | AllThingsD

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Nest Protect

Nest, makers of the massively popular learning thermostat, is getting into the smoke detector game with Protect. The Nest Protect is a sensor-packed smoke and carbon monoxide detector that aims to remove all the annoyances of the "modern" smoke detector, making it more helpful, more pleasing to use, and ultimately, safer. So, how does Nest aim to reach that goal?

Like the Nest Learning Thermostat, Protect is constantly connected to your Wi-Fi network. This allows you to set the device up with your iOS or Android device, and lets you use the Nest app to check things like battery life and other settings, while also receiving push notifications in the event of any emergencies. Even cooler, Nest devices can talk to each other. So, if the Protect senses a fire, it will let all the others know, and they will speak in a female voice alerting you to smoke detected in a particular room. If it senses a rise in carbon monoxide, it can let your Nest Thermostat know to switch off the heat.

Click to continue reading Nest Protect: A sensor-packed smoke / carbon monoxide detector for $129


SOL Republic Deck review

The world of the portable Bluetooth wireless speaker is a crowded one, but SOL Republic is confident that its Deck speaker can stand above the rest, what with it's unique feature set. The SOL Republic Deck is a $199 speaker that comes out of of a collaboration between the company and Motorola (which took care of the Bluetooth connectivity side of things,) resulting in a flat, eye-catching design that can pump your beats with relative ease. Is it worth your time and money? Join us for our SOL Republic Deck review as we answer that question.

Click to continue reading SOL Republic x Motorola Deck review


Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard

Now that I've been using the Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard for over a week, my search for the ultimate keyboard might be finally over. It might be one of the strangest looking keyboards Microsoft has ever put out.

The Sculpt combines the curved ergonomic structure the company has been making for almost 20 years with a raised wrist area and a completely empty middle. Couple that with something Microsoft has barely done with their keyboards—laptop-style, easy-to-press scissor key set that's way less stressful on the fingers than anything previous--and you've got a keyboard that's vying for the title of "best keyboard they've ever made."

Click to continue reading Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop review


iPhoto 9.4.7

As we'd mentioned earlier, Apple has pushed out the OS X 10.9 Mavericks Golden Master seed to developers. Along with the update, an update to iPhoto is also available. Here are some of the changes Apple is promoting for iPhoto 9.4.7:

  • iCloud Photo Sharing: iPhoto sports improved Photo Stream sharing, allowing you to both share photos and videos with friends and family, and subscribe to streams that have been shared with you, right in iCloud. This includes the ability to add new content to streams, comment, and more.
  • Apple Maps integration: For images with location metadata, iPhoto now uses Apple Maps to show high quality imagery of the places where your photos were taken.
  • Improved local printing: Printing off hard copies of your images has been improved with a focus on improving ease of use.
  • Photo projects: The ability to choose photos that can be used to create books, greeting cards, calendars, and more has been improved.
  • Mavericks compatibility: iPhoto is ready to take advantage of OS X Mavericks technologies and APIs.

You can grab the new version of iPhoto by updating in the Mac App Store.


OS X Mavericks Developer Preview 5 13a538g

Late last night Apple released the OS X Mavericks Golden Master (GM) seed, build 13A598, to developers. When software is released as GM, that means that work has been completed, and that this is the build that will be released to consumers later this month when Mavericks launches on the Mac App Store. Alongside the Mavericks GM, Apple has also released GM seeds of Xcode 5.1, OS X Server, Remote Desktop 5.7, and iPhoto. Developers who'd like to install the new GM seed will need to visit the Developer Portal and grab a Mac App Store code. The download is roughly 5.3GB, so be sure you're on a solid broadband connection, as opposed to sipping a latte in Starbucks. As for the rest of the world, OS X Mavericks is set to launch later this month, bringing features like iBooks, Maps, Finder Tags, enhanced multi-monitor support, tabbed Finder, and more to Apple's desktop operating system.

We're also assuming that Apple will be launching its updated MacBook Pro, MacBook Pro with Retina display, and the all-new Mac Pro alongside the release of Mavericks.


iPhone 5s review

According to Apple, the iPhone 5s is the most forward thinking smartphone ever created. Of course, being that this is an S-model iPhone launching in a year that ends in an odd number, and that means that we'll find plenty of naysayers who dismiss Apple's flagship smartphone as simple and iterative. It looks just like last year's iPhone 5 on the outside, so what can be so different, right?

Well, being an S-class device, the iPhone 5s follows a now-familiar pattern. The iPhone 3GS in 2009 doubled the speed of the iPhone 3G from the year before and added video recording and basic voice commands. The iPhone 4S brought Siri, 1080p video, and dual-core processing. This year, Apple has highly focused the iPhone 5s on three big changes. The iPhone 5s is the first smartphone to ship with a 64-bit processor, and includes the first 64-bit version of iOS in iOS 7. It's also the first smartphone to ship with a capacitive fingerprint sensor, and includes a greatly improved camera system. Sure, these things may not be important to those who are just fine with their current iPhone (or competing device, for that matter,) but for Apple, these moves are a big deal and set up the future.

But is a phone so focused on a future worth your attention today? Join us for our full iPhone 5s review as we seek out the answer.

Click to continue reading iPhone 5s review


iPhone 5s silver in-hand

The white and silver iPhone 5s is the only model that maintains a color that was introduced with the iPhone 5, with the other two colors (gold and space gray) being brand new for this model year. Our iPhone 5s review is now live, but if you're interested in seeing the silver 5s up close, we've gathered a bunch of images of the silver iPhone 5 body for your perusal in our iPhone 5s Silver gallery. Be sure to also check out our iPhone 5s Space Gray gallery as well.

You can pick up the iPhone 5s now from Apple.

Gallery: iPhone 5s Silver gallery


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