Last week, I had the opportunity to attend #LDRTG13 in Whistler. This is a private trade show that’s put on through London Drugs, where LD employees (and special guests!) get a sneak peek at all the cool new up-and-coming tech gagetry.
Now, there was tons of cool stuff here, K4 TVs, tablets that you could take underwater, and so, so many cameras. But you know me–my focus is social media, so I sought out gadgets that will make my life easier as someone who is constantly Tweeting, Facebooking and Instagramming and Podcasting on the go.
Problem: your smartphone photos are terribly lit.
There’s a quote that goes “the best camera is the one you have with you.” And while this is true, I’ve often taken photos of something I planned to blog about later, and then come home to discover that the pictures are so bad, they are basically unusable. Shooting food in a dark, candlelit restaurant is a big problem for me. If I have my DSLR, I don’t want to use the flash, because it blows out the photo. And my iPhone often can’t pick up images in really dark situations. One DIY I often employ (especially if I’m with a friend) is I’ll get them to turn on the flashlight on their phone, and light the food for me to take a photo. However, Canon has come up with a hand-dandy solution.
Meet the Canon SL1. It retails for about $700, which includes a standard 18-55 mm lens, or you can pay $850 and get an additional 40 mm lens. I’ve been playing with a 40 mm quite a bit lately, and they are great for shooting food up close. This camera also has a special built-in setting for candlelight. In addition, it’s billed as the “world’s smallest and lightest digital SLR camera,” so it’s easy to slip into your bag to take along to dinner.
Problem: Your Smartphone Photos are Blurred, or not Detailed Enough.
What if you could get a lens for your smartphone? In the same way that you interchange lenses for your DLSR, choosing different lenses for different jobs, you can now get lenses for your iPhone.
Meet the Sony QX10 and QX100 lenses. They either mount to your phone (all smartphones–they pair using bluetooth), or you can hold them in your hand (there’s a shutter button on the actual lens). Your phone works as a monitor. the QX10 gives you 10 times the zoom capability, and the QX100 gives you, you guessed it, 100 times the zoom capability. I love this for several reasons: first off, I have my iPhone with me always. These are much smaller and lighter to pack than my DSLR. Second, I can take amazing photographs, and post them immediately to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or Flickr. I don’t have to wait to get home and pull the images off of my SD card and onto my computer. Finally, the lens is small and unobtrusive (it really felt like spy gear!), and would be great for getting shots at concerts and the like.
Problem: Canadian Winter
We’ve all had this problem: You’re walking to work, or riding your bike, and your phone rings, or you get a text notification. You want to check it, but it’s cold. You’re wearing gloves. Your touchscreen doesn’t respond to gloves.
The solution are these Chatter Mitts by Logiix. Not only are they warm, but you can freely operate your smart phone while wearing them. But that’s not the coolest thing. They also have a bluetooth installed, so you can speak to people using the gloves. Your thumb is the earpiece, and your little finger is the mouthpiece. It’s so Inspector Gadget! These are on top of my Christmas wish list this year.
Problem: Dead Battery
Holy man. This happens to me all the time. Especially because I’m using a three-year-old iPhone that I just upgraded to IOS7. What do you do when you’re out at an event, and you run out of juice? Not only are your communications cut off (“where’s the after party??”), but you are also unable to tweet. Even if you brought your charger, you have to find an outlet, and then, who wants to leave their phone?
The solution here is an additional source of power. There are quite a few options on the market right now that allow you to plug into a spare battery and charge your phone on the go. The original concept came from the people at Mophie. What I love about these is that not only are they an extra source of power for your phone, but they are also a phone case, all-in-one. What I don’t like about the Mophie is that they make your phone really heavy. However, a new version of the Mophie set to hit the market, is called the Helium. It’s their thinnest and lightest case yet, retails for $79.95, and comes in a rainbow of colours. Style and utility? Yes, please.
Problem: Fumble Fingers
We’ve all had this moment, right?
Yep. You pay hundreds of dollars for your new phone, only to drop it and have it break.
The solution here is a case, right? Yes, but not just any case. Speck is one of the best out there on the market. There are others, yes, but they are bulky. Speck is lightweight, protective, and their newest version, called The Candy Shell Grip ($35), has these rubberized ribs which make it much harder to drop. Plus they come in tonnes of cute colours and designs, so you can personalize to your heart’s content.
Problem: Podcasting on the Go
Most of the podcasters I know use a Yeti microphone, or it’s less-expensive cousin, the Snowball. Blue, who manufactures them, has been a leader in home recording since the dawn of time. Blue has a couple of new mics on the market, which I got to demo, The Nessie ($99), which is replacing The Snowball, and The Spark Digital ($199), which incorporates shock-mounting, just like the pro mics you’d find in a radio station. But what really captured my attention was the Tiki. A tiny little mic that plugs directly into your USB port, the Tiki ($74.99) gives you amazing quality sound while you are on the go.
There you go! Now you’re entirely up-to-date on the latest and greatest
toys tools that every serious social media nerd needs to put forth their best impression!
And a big thank you to London Drugs for flying us up to Whistler via Helijet to check out the show.