Celebrate your selfish side this Valentine’s Day with seven gadgets that put you first.
By Crispin Boyer
Sony • Price not available at press time
The last thing gadget hoard ers need is yet another iPad competitor, so it’s a good thing this one offers a design twist: a unique clamshell case. The 5.5-inch touch screens, which boast the same TruBlack tech used in Bravia televisions, can function as one larger display for web browsing and watching TV shows via Sony’s Video Unlimited service, or they’ll take on independent duties for certain apps. PlayStation games, for instance, will use the bottom screen as a controller. In the email app, one screen works as a preview panel. Rotate the Tablet P sideways to read eBooks just like old-timey paper novels. Connectivity is available via AT&T’s 4G network, so begin your bellyaching if you live in an area with spotty coverage.
MV800 multiview digital camera
Samsung • $280
This is a camera for the Facebook generation, featuring a three-inch LCD that swivels fully forward, taking the guesswork out of snapping self-portraits. Flip the screen out halfway to take low-angle shots of kids and pets, or hold it high to shoot pics and video over the crowd at concerts and sporting events. The touch screen is large and responsive enough to make the most of a suite of pre- and postphoto tools and effects, including a panoramic mode, multiple filters, 3-D effects, plus cropping and touch-up tools. Optional posing guidelines even help you take a less douchey photo than all your Facebook chums.
Aquos LC-80LE632U 80-inch HDTV
Sharp • $5,500
Certain responsibilities come with owning the world’s largest 1080p LCD. Super Bowl Sunday will henceforth be celebrated at your pad. Neighbors will mooch off your evening viewing. And, of course, you’ll need a cavernous media room to make the most of the monolithic display. At less than four inches thick, the Aquos is a slimmer alternative to rear-projection TVs—not to mention brighter. Its edge-to-edge LED backlighting system offers consistent color and vibrancy even in sunlit rooms. Considered a “budget” LCD despite its titanic size (and price), it lacks 3-D compatibility, but it does come with built-in Wi-Fi for access to Netflix and other streaming services.
Motorola • $300 with a two-year Verizon contract
Yep, it’s a high-tech (and just over a quarter-inch-thick) update to the best-selling Motorola clamshell that was such a status symbol back when “apps” was still short for cheese sticks and blooming onions. Video streamed from your PC, Netflix, or Verizon’s NFL Mobile service plays in full HD resolution on the blur-free 4.3-inch screen, which is more vibrant than most full-size LCD HDTVs. The 1.2-gigahertz dual processor com bines with Verizon’s 4G network to deliver blazing web-browsing speeds, and you can use the phone as a mobile hot spot for up to eight Wi-Fi devices. And since it’s wrought of Kevlar fibers and water-repellant Gorilla glass, it’s as sturdy as it is sleek.
HipVisions • $40
These bona fide beer goggles come with bottle openers integrated into their stylish frames. The aluminum openers stick from the tips of polycarbonate arms sturdy enough to survive the stress of constant cap-prying. The pry tools tuck behind your ears during normal wear, hiding your cappopping superpowers until they’re needed most. With polarized lenses that offer 100 percent UV protection, they’re perfect for beach barbecues, tailgate parties, or any other event with limited access to conventional bottle openers. Don a pair on Super Bowl Sunday, just in case.
Touch Control beard and stubble trimmer
Remington • $50
In a world of smartphones, smart thermostats, and even smart pens, the concept of a “smart beard trimmer” might sound kind of…stupid. But don’t dismiss this touch-screen-controlled trimmer just because it smacks of gimmickry. The digital controls make it easy to select from 175 motorized length options, which means you’ll leave the bathroom with surgically precise stubble. And the included USB charger for the 40-minute battery means this is the first trimmer you’ll stow in your laptop bag instead of your dopp kit.
SA-NS500 HomeShare speaker
Sony • $400
It’s fit for double-duty as both a portable speaker and a permanent part of your home-audio system, as the Apple AirPlay–enabled SA-NS500 wirelessly streams tunes from your PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Sony tablet, or compatible Blu-ray system. Its vase-shaped omni-directional design fills the room with sound, and you can carry the speaker anywhere within range of your Wi-Fi network—even outside, thanks to its six-hour rechargeable battery. It comes with its own remote, but you can also control it with your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad by downloading an app. You can also supplement the sound with additional units synchronized throughout your house.