If you prefer a set of keys to power your mobile recording sessions instead of a guitar adapter of some sort, you’re in luck. The folks at IK Multimedia have just revealed the iRig KEYS portable keyboard peripheral for iOS devices and both Mac and Windows PCs. Packing 37 velocity-sensitive mini keys, the add-on touts a three full-octave range, modulation / pitch bend wheels, an input for a sustain / expression pedal and an assortment of controls for customizing your sound just so. Should you feel inclined, this iRig offering connects via USB to a computer for an “in-studio,” desktop tracking experience. The unit is Core MIDI compliant and sports plug-and-play functionality alongside the outfit’s SampleTank family of apps. Said software can function on its own on the PC side or as a plug-in for more robust offerings like GarageBand, Pro Tools, Cubase, Sonar and the like. Itchin’ to snag one? You’ll have to wait until sometime this fall, but when it arrives, the KEYS will set you back €74.99 ($94).
JBL is known for its portable speakers, but an FCC filing has revealed that it’s willing to make speakers that are almost inconspicuous. The Soundfly BT would represent your everyday Bluetooth speaker save for the very uncommon ability to optionally plug directly into a wall outlet, skipping the power cord. Shades of the previous-generation AirPort Express, anyone? There’s not much mystery in other areas, but the 20W stereo output is unusually powerful for something small enough to hang off of a hotel room’s power port. Between the manual and live photos, about the only riddles left are the Soundfly BT’s official release date and price.
We didn’t spot it on stage during the pre-E3 2012 press conference, but Sony’s PlayStation Blog is showing off a new PS Move Racing Wheel on the way. This framework apparently fits around the Move, featuring different grip styles with twist throttles and paddle shifters depending on what kind of racing you’d like to do. The “precise motion tracking” afforded by the Move appears to be targeted at titles like the upcoming LittleBigPlanet Karting, but it’s hard to see how this will be real wheel, or even controller, alternative for serious gamers. It certainly seems to be fair competition for Microsoft’s Wireless Speed Wheel that was introduced last year or the Nintendo Wii Wheel, but frankly we’re surprised that’s a battle anyone else wanted to be in. Either way, we expect to get our hands on it this week before it hits stores this fall for $39.99.
Razer looks to be the latest getting into the Diablo III-themed peripheral game with a special version of the Naga Hex, even if it won’t mention the click-and-slash title by name. The Wraith Red edition keeps the same six mechanically-driven side buttons as the original, but drapes the top shell and lights in an infernal red. It’s otherwise functionally similar to the Razer-green Naga Hex we had mixed feelings about last month. Gamers who like what it offers don’t have to wait for Blizzard’s action role-playing game to show, as it’s shipping now in the US for $80 and should be ready for the rest of the world by the end of the spring.
We’ve seen iHome launch a multitude of sleek and useful peripherals aimed at the army of slabs out there, and its newest creation isn’t an exception. Dubbed the iDM5 Executive, this workstation’s designed to make typing on one of those iPads or Tabs a whole lot easier by giving you access to a full set of physical QWERTY keys. Aside from the keyboard, the iDM5′s also packing Bluetooth capabilities alongside a 3.5mm audio jack, so despite the “i” shining from the outfit’s name, the add-on isn’t exclusive to iOS devices. Furthermore, iHome added two USB ports, allowing you to keep the juice flowing on your smartphone / tablet while getting some “work” done. The iDM5 is priced at a hefty $129.99 and you can snatch it up from the iHome site linked below.
Mad Catz’ Cyborg RAT series of adjustable computer mice has seen its fair share of minor revisions, and while wireless upgrades and whitewashed DPI tweaks have given consumers a hair of choice in transforming desktop pests, the differences between these devices has been modest, at best. Until now, at least. Enter the Cyborg M.M.O. 7, the outfit’s latest addition to its aggressively styled line of gaming mice, minus the RAT moniker. Despite shedding the name of its predecessors, Mad Catz’ latest point-and-clicker is as much of a RAT as the mice that came before it, but distinguishes itself with more buttons, more features and more color. Read on to see what’s new, what’s different and what should have stayed the same.
While most of us play games purely for their entertainment value, an elite few get their game on while calling themselves “professionals.” These superstars of simulated battle make the rounds in various tournaments, including, most notably, Major League Gaming Pro Circuit championships. Now those digital athletes, as well as the masses of seasoned “amateurs,” can compete with professional (or at least officially licensed) equipment — we’re talking about gear like Mad Catz’ Major League Gaming Pro Circuit Controller for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. This Major League gamepad promises to give competitive gamers a professional, customizable edge over their opponents with swappable “ProModule” thumbsticks and d-pads — invoking the customizable spirit of Mad Catz’ transforming RAT mouse. We gave the PlayStation 3 edition a chance to make its rodent cousin proud. Read on to see if it lives up to its professional branding.
You know what $549.95 gets you in the camera world? About 90 percent of a T3i. Or, you know, a flash. Nikon has just outed the proper successor to the Speedlight SB-900, and at over half a grand, it best be packin’ more than just bright lights. The Speedlight SB-910 touts an enhanced operating system and graphic user interface, and comes equipped with a wide zoom range as well as FX / DX-format identification that optimizes zoom settings based on the camera body. The company’s also promising better battery life and a bolstered thermal cut-out function — which offers protection against damage to the flash panel and body from overheating during continuous flash use — not to mention an improved LCD and the ability to be used as an on-camera flash, wireless commander or remote. You’ll get a trio of illumination patterns (standard, center-weighted and even), and it’ll be shipping here in the US in just over a fortnight. Here’s hoping it’s not too late to add a last-minute crush to your wish list.
Guess what, Wintel loyalists? “Apple’s” Thunderbolt I/O port is coming your way. If you’ll recall, Thunderbolt was actually built with Intel’s collaboration (Light Peak, anyone?), and sensibly, the chip giant is now making it possible for the port to appear on non-Mac machines. The news was just broken here at IDF, where a Haswell-based machine was briefly teased with a heretofore unpossible T-bolt port. Mooly Eden, vice president and general manager of the PC Client Group, was on-stage to showcase six pre-production Ultrabook designs (all based on 3rd generation Intel Core processors), but stopped short of telling us exactly when the Thunderbolt I/O port would make its debut commercially available (Acer and ASUS are onboard for a 2012 launch!). Naturally, we’re hoping it’s sooner (tomorrow) rather than later (the 2013 launch of Haswell).
You know what’s great? Mechanical keyboards — what with their satisfying clicks. You know what’s less awesome? Having to listen to that obnoxious racket all day. Razer claims you can have your cake (in this case, tactile feedback) and eat it too (blessed silence!) with its BlackWidow Stealth Editions. These are, more or less, the same boards that debuted last August, but with quieter switches and a matte finish. Both models are available now, with the same programmable keys and on-the-fly macro recording, while the Ultimate version adds “extreme anti-ghosting” to its already impressive noise pwnage. The standard model will run you a cool $80, while the Ultimate weighs in at a hefty $140. Check out the gallery below, as well as the PR and video after the break.
Look who finally decided to join the HDMI game. It’s Microvision’s SHOWWX+, now aptly named the SHOWWX+ HDMI. It’s still bringing the brightness with 15 laser lumens, a 5,000:1 native contrast ratio, and 2-hour battery life. As before, it supports all your iDevices, and, now, any HDMI-equipped machine, including the BlackBerry PlayBook, pictured above — not all devices will support full video mirroring, however. Unfortunately, for HD purists, it’s still pushing an 848 x 480 native resolution, but if 1080p’s not topping your priority list, you can pre-order one now for $370.
Modern day solar bags are more about looks than utility — the energy conversion rates on those things aren’t exactly jaw-dropping — but if it comes between a generic satchel and one that’s Ma Earth-approved, well… you know what to do. Element5′s Swiss Made Mini L Solarbag is tailored to fit your iDevice of choice, but it’s fairly obvious that the iPad line will be most at home here. We’re guessing that the company’s taking a few liberties with that “mini miracle” tagline, and we aren’t exactly thrilled with the lack of information surrounding charging time, but those who value form over function can get their order in now for 348 Swiss Franc (or $412 in actual money).
Xbox 360 Wireless Speed Wheel will arrive in early October for $60, give you something to hold on to
Microsoft’s Kinect motion controls may be infiltrating all sorts of games at this year’s E3, but the Xbox maker isn’t neglecting those in need of a more tangible control scheme. A new Wireless Speed Wheel has just been revealed, with a reasonable $60 price tag and an early October launch date. As you see above, it’s technically three-fourthsof a wheel, but that does allow for extra green bands of lights to be applied and, slightly more importantly, a set of directional and action buttons to be added to the handles of this steering implement. There’s a rumble pack inside for force feedback and a pair of trigger buttons on the underside for smashing the gas or dabbing the brakes. Another image after the break.
Technically, we suppose Logitech already made a play for the tablet accessories market when it launched a rebranded Zaggmate keyboard case earlier this year, but today the peripheral manufacturer’s getting serious about slates with the launch of two new portable products. Lacking a Smart Cover to keep your iPad 2 on edge? You could try the $70 Logitech Tablet Keyboard pictured above, which comes with a hardshell sleeve that doubles as a tablet stand and dedicated iOS or Android shortcuts. The keyboard itself is slick, roomy and somewhat plasticky, with a definite Notion Ink Adam vibe. There’s also a redesigned Zaggmate, now known as the $100 Logitech Keyboard Case, which comes with “a more intuitive keyboard layout and improved keystrokes for even more comfortable typing” — a claim we weren’t able to test — as well as a rebranded $100 Logitech Z515 Bluetooth speaker system, and a $50 Bluetooth mouse. Pricey? Definitely. Worthwhile? Decide for yourself later this month, when they’re scheduled to hit shelves.
The world’s love affair with tablets may have been bubbling along under the surface for a while, but it really got started in earnest during CES 2010. Back in those wild days, you could see 15-inch jumbo screens, TV tuners, and even hybrid pseudo-laptops stalking the tablet area of your favorite trade show. ASUS was there too, of course, though it still believed in the upstart smartbook category — a modernized take on the netbook that relied on an ARM CPU and a mobile OS to extract more battery life out of a lighter, thinner device — and was busy showing off a seductively slim prototype of just such a machine. Alas, nothing came of that Neo concept, most likely because it was relying on Android 1.6 and a Tegra 2 system-on-chip that was then still months away from hitting the market.
It doesn’t scream quality (or maybe the legion of professional stock photographers were all on vacation last week), but the June-bound Avi Stylix does have something that the vast majority of me-too iPod / iPhone docking stations do not: an embedded 7-inch LCD. The usual suspects are also here, including a Dock Connector port, twin two-watt speakers, USB port, SD card slot and a bundled remote. The kicker is its ability to stream Netflix, but there’s an obvious catch; you’ll need an iPhone or iPod touch with a live internet connection in order to do so. There’s no actual WiFi module built into the main unit, so you’ll need to rely on your connected device to pull in the content. Still, for $99.99, it might not be a bad bet for your guest room. Or your office desk, since you know you aren’t getting any actual work done.
In case you’re wondering whether Apple’s forthcoming Digital AV Adapter is worth your $39, you might be pleased to know that said HDMI dongle is also compatible with the latest crop of iOS devices before the iPad 2. This includes the iPhone 4, fourth-generation iPod touch, and even the first-generation iPad. Alas, both movies and slideshows will be capped at 720p output from these older devices, whereas the iPad 2 goes a little further with screen mirroring of up to 1080p — we’re guessing the beastly dual-core A5 chip is what makes the magic happen here, though movie output’s also limited to 720p. And hey, we’re only a few months away from finding out if the next iPhone will also get some 1080p love, so no pressure on buying this dongle just yet.