Lifestyle Technosavvy the December 2015 issue

Tech Briefing December 2015

Holiday Kickoff
By Michael Fitzpatrick Posted on November 30, 2015

Well, this is different. One of the hottest new tech offerings out there for this holiday season is from Microsoft. The company’s new Surface Book sold out in pre-order less than a week after it was launched.

The Surface Book, which has a hinged, detachable keyboard and can be used as a tablet or high-powered laptop, runs from $1,499 for the 128-gigabyte model to $3,199 for one terabyte of storage.

While Microsoft is positioning it against Apple’s MacBook Pro, the mobile crowd might be more interested in Apple’s latest iteration of its iconic phones, the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus (from $649 to $749) with 3D touch that adds functionality depending on how hard you press the screen.

Android fans craving a really big phone they can write on might want to consider the stylus-equipped Samsung Galaxy Note 5 “phablet” with the 5.7-inch screen, $250 with contract, $680 without.

E-readers might want to update to the new Amazon Kindle Paperwhite ($120). Amazon also has something for discount shoppers, the $50, 6-inch Fire tablet.

Couch potatoes can get even less active now. The new Roku 3 TV-streaming player ($100) offers voice search from the remote so you can find shows just by talking. While you’re at it, how about a new TV? The Vizio M Series TV with 4K resolution offers a great picture priced at just $1,500 for the 65-inch model, but you can go from 43 to 80 inches.

If you really want the big and beautiful OLED display, check out the LG EG9600 4K Ultra at $5,000 for the 65-inch screen. With all the electronics you have, you might want one remote to rule all your entertainment and smart home devices, such as lighting and thermostats. For that, check out the Logitech Harmony Elite ($350).

Maybe you want to move around a little without working up a sweat? A hoverboard might be the thing. They don’t really hover; they’re more like the skateboard model of the stand-up Segway, but it’s kind of the same experience. ($200 to $400 from Segway and others)

Cool Apps

Block That Ad!

Apple answered many a user’s dearest wish when it allowed apps that block ads and tracking for mobile browsing in its iOS9 update. If you’re interested in seeing what the Web looks like without ads and maybe speeding up your browsing and enhancing your battery life, here are a few to try. Just be aware that some sites won’t work with ad- or content-blockers enabled. And shopping might be difficult or impossible. (All for Apple devices)

Adblock Browser (free) has come out with a mobile version of its desktop ad blocker.
Blockr ($1) lets you customize the content you want to see.
Crystal ($1) blocks irrelevant ads.
Handblock ($1) blocks ads, content, tracking URLs and cookies.
Purify ($2) blocks ads and trackers and can block images, scripts and fonts.

Michael Fitzpatrick Technology Editor Read More

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