Intel's Haswell-powered NUC
Whoever said good things come in small packages has never been more spot on as far as Intel's Next Unit of Computing (NUC) is concerned. It's one of our top gadgets of 2013 chiefly because we're still flabbergasted by the sheer amount of computing power available in such a tiny box.
The NUC itself is by no means brand new, but what this year brought us was the addition of Intel's fourth-generation Haswell processor in the same compact form factor, making the NUC just as tiny and versatile but with more power and even lower energy consumption. There are also two SO-DIMM slots for support of up to a massive 16GB of DDR3 memory.
Intel's Haswell-powered NUC is available now from around £250, depending on configuration.
Check fitness training gadget
We can't say health and fitness gadgets usually gain much attention here at The INQUIRER. But when we heard about the Check training gadget earlier this year, we made an exception.
What's good about FAM Sports' Check gadget is that it is the first portable device to use electromyography technology, a technique for recording the electrical activity produced by skeletal muscles. Based on the phenomena of peripheral muscle reflex caused by electric stimulation, Check uses a sensor system that hooks up to a disposable electrode that is placed on your forearm. The electrode sticks to the wrist and is attached to the main device, which also has a sensor that sits on the tip of your thumb.
Check communicates over Bluetooth LE to an iOS or Android device and when you hit the "new assessment" icon in the app it will send a low-voltage current through your body in order to stimulate the nerve-muscle connection and tell you if your body is ready for a day of training or not.
Check is aimed at fitness fanatics and professional athletes and is available from FAM Sports' online store for £225, along with various bundles of disposable and non-disposable electrodes, which are sold separately.
Orbitsound SB60 Airsound Base
Not only an innovative product but an innovation in technology, too, the Orbitsound SB60 Airsound Base is an all-in-one subwoofer and soundbar system built on the company's patented "Airsound" technology.
Updating the M series of wireless soundbars launched in February, Orbitsound's SB60 Airsound Base is what the firm calls "a one-box TV sound solution with an integrated subwoofer without the need for additional speakers".
The Airsound Base is powered by the firm's Airsound technology, which was known as "spatial sound" in its previous lineup of products. It takes advantage of "sum and difference" audio signals, as opposed to left and right channels, to create what Orbitsound terms a more solid image.
We had the chance to test the SB60 for several weeks and can confirm it's one of the best sounding in its class, all squeezed into one neat package that fits snuggly under most TV sets. It's available now for £299.
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