Got an unlimited budget this holiday season? Columnist Marc Saltzman introduces you to some extravagant tech gifts.
Holiday tech shoppers typically fall into one of two camps: those looking for a bargain and those who simply want the best of the best – regardless of the cost.
In last week’s Surf Report column, we looked at more affordable “best bang for your buck” tech toys, so we’ll devote this space here to those with deeper pockets and a penchant for perfection.
In other words, if budget isn’t a barrier of entry, what’s the coolest tech to invest in for a loved one (or oneself)?
No, we’re not talking about Sennheiser’s outrageously expensive Orpheus headphones for (wait for it) $55,100, or even the top-of-the-line gold Apple Watch for $17,000.
Instead, here’s some of the best premium gear for a premium price.
Perhaps this is the year you pick up a 3D printer? With costs ranging from $2,799.00 to $4,399.00 (depending on color output), the best-in-class CubePro from 3D Systems lets you print large three-dimensional objects – up to 11.2 x 10.6 x 9.06 inches – and with ultra-high-resolution settings of 70-micron thin print layers (each one about the thickness of a piece of paper for smoother prints). CubePro also supports up to three simultaneous colors — from about 25 to choose from — and with three material options. This Wi-Fi-enabled printer includes a color touchscreen, free print software, and 25 professional-grade models to start with.
Do the drone
While more expensive than most other “quadcopter” drones, DJI’s Inspire 1 ($2,899.99) can shoot 4K video – that’s four times the resolution of HD – thanks to its 12-megapixel camera mounted on a 3-axis stabilizing gimbal (allowing for full 360-degree rotation). In fact, this drone supports two simultaneous users: one pilots the drone and the other can pan and tilt the camera around. If you don’t mind slumming it with “just” HD footage, the Inspire 1 can also transmit live, real-time high-definition video to your smartphone or tablet or FPV (first-person view) goggles up to 1.2 miles away. Of course, the Inspire 1 is a stellar drone with smooth controls, long battery life, and many advanced features.
Thin is in
Sony is back, and better than ever. Its massive 75-inch X910C ($5,499.99) is the company’s thinnest-ever 4K Ultra HD TV – narrower than a smartphone at its thinnest point – but even more impressive is the nearly edge-to-edge LED-backlit screen with a number of goodies under the hood for a stunning picture: Triluminous technology (for an expanded color spectrum), new X-1 chip (to help to upscale regular HD into near-4K quality), and a 4K X-Reality PRO engine (for finer clarity and contrast). With the integrated Android TV platform, access the Google Play store, wirelessly “cast” content from nearby devices, and use your voice to search in 40-odd languages. The Sony X910C also lets you subscribe to the PlayStation Now service to stream PS3 games directly to your TV – without needing a console.
Truly, the first tablet with laptop-like performance has arrived. Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4 (from $899.00) gives you a full Windows 10 Pro experience; PC-like ports, such as USB, microSD and DisplayPort; and a powerful 6th generation Intel Core processor, with at least 128GB of storage and 4GB of RAM (system memory). After you’ve flicked through some ebooks, games, movies, songs and photos on the 12.3-inch HD screen (2,736 x 1,824 resolution), snap on one of the magnetic Type Cover screen covers – with its integrated keyboard and trackpad (sold separately, starting at $129.99) — to get some work done. Other features of this 1.73 pound powerhouse: Surface Pen stylus pen (included), integrated multi-angle kickstand to prop up the tablet, and up to 9-hour battery.
You don’t need to set up multiple speakers throughout your home theater to replicate the movie theater experience. As long as you have a premium sound bar, like the Yamaha YSP-2500 ($999.95), a stunningly slim yet powerful 7.1-channel surround sound solution. With 16 speakers powered by 16 amplifiers, this sound bar delivers loud, clear and well-balanced audio – including support for Dolby True HD and DTS-HD Master Audio. Thanks to its Digital Sound Projector technology, the YSP-2500 sends beams of sound around the room for an immersive sound field (a one-time calibration is required; microphone and stand are included). And don’t forget to place the 130-watt wireless subwoofer somewhere in your room, vertically or horizontally. You can also play music wirelessly from your iOS or Android smartphone or tablet, with Bluetooth aptX support.
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