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London Drugs Tech Conference 2015-1

Last week, I had the chance to join fellow tech writers, broadcasters and videographers on a whirlwind trip to Whistler to cover the annual London Drugs tech conference. This show is unique in that London Drugs employees across Canada get hands-on with some of the world’s best tech toys, cameras and useful gadgets for sale in their stores.

The two days were filled with product demos and lots of Q&A time with the vendors. I liked the “mini-CES” atmosphere at Whistler Conference Centre (I use mini as anyone who’s ever been to the massive annual Las Vegas conference knows that it’s now packing a whopping 2.2 million square feet in exhibition space!).

From a great lineup of products, I present you with five cool holiday must-haves and fun-to-haves.

Outdoor Tech

2015 Outdoor Tech Buckshot Pro 2015 Outdoor Tech Adapt

Check out Buckshot Pro, a portable bluetooth speaker, flashlight, strobe light, camp light and power bank all in one! Comes in red, green, black, orange, army green and grey (the bright green version glows in the dark!). US $79.95

The Adapt is a Bluetooth audio receiver and headphone adapter that adds wireless audio and microphone functionality to any device that uses a standard 3.5mm audio jack. Adapt comes in blue, black, orange and yellow. It’ll make anything with a 3.5mm audio jack wireless. You can also clip it onto your clothes. US $39.95

GoPro

GoPro LCD

New in the lineup is the GoPro Hero+ LCD, an entry-level GoPro + Wi-Fi sporting a touch display. It shoots video at both 1080p60 and 720p60, takes 8-megapixel photos up to five frames per second and has built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It’s also waterproof to 40 meters (131 feet).

GoPro Hero+ LCD

It’s great to see the GoPro 4 lineup include the live LCD. Priced at US $300.

GoPro Fetch

Let your dog go wild with a GoPro and his very own Fetch dog harness (US $60). The harness has chest and back-mounting options and the material’s washable and durable for muddy, splashy adventures. GoPro Fetch will fit most dogs from seven to 54 kg (15 to 120 pounds).

Parrot

Parrot Jumping Sumo drone

The Jumping Sumo’s a fat-tired, rolling drone travels at a max of four mph and can turn 90 and 180-degree turns via the FreeFlight 3 app for Windows (8.1 or newer), iOS and Android. Control the fun via your smart phone or tablet. Its built-in 480p camera contains BGA resolution. The drone’s got attitude: it can jump vertically or horizontally, bump into objects and make its own noises. The wheels can fold in for narrow spaces. Although it comes with no internal memory, you can attach a micro USB stick on the Jumping Sumo to record video. A fun toy for all ages. Retails for $180 at London Drugs.

Parrot Airborne Cargo Mini Drone

The Mars Airborne Cargo mini drone can perform stunts (including front and back flips), carry a LEGO-designed pilot or two via that familiar brick design, and has a range of customization options via the FreeFlight 3 app mentioned above.

Parrot Airborne Cargo Mini Drone

The embedded camera can take wide angle shots that are stored on the drone’s internal 4GB flash memory. Program a road plan from the seat of your iPad using the app’s range of predefined movements. Pricing will become available once they’re in Canada.

Fuji Film Instax Cameras and Printer

Fuji Film Instax cameras

The cute Fuji Instax Mini 8 comes in a range of colours. The $99.99 price tag includes a 10-pack of instant film. Relive the fun days of instant Polaroids with a clean new design. It’s got a one-button operation and the flash always fires for best results in a variety of lighting conditions.

The Instax Mini 90 is designed to mimic a retro camera and comes in classic black and silver. In a higher price bracket ($199), it’ll take rechargeable batteries (the Mini 8 uses two AA’s). Mini 90’s advanced features include double exposures, macro mode and high-performance flash. The tripod socket adds stability, especially when using double exposure and bulb modes.

Fuji Film Instax SHARE SP-1 printer

You’ll obviously want to get the Instax SHARE SP-1 printer ($199.99). The price tag is a bit hefty, but you can also use the printer to wirelessly print shots off your smart phone as well as from Instax cameras.

Fuji Film Instax SHARE SP-1 printer

The credit-card sized photo paper is available in white borderless and with border; add seasonal-themed templates to your photos via the Smartphone Printer app.

A new Mini 70 is on its way to London Drugs.

Sony RX100 Mark III Compact Camera

Sony RX100 Mark III

This hot little camera may retail for CDN $900, however the Sony RX100 Mark III’s packed with advanced features and delivers for its size. It’s got a Carl Zeiss f/1.8 – 2.8 fixed lens, 20.1MP image quality, a built-in electronic viewfinder (something I’ve come to love in my Lumix LX-100), and an extra fine 3” LCD screen on back. It’ll shoot both JPEG RAW and JPEG.

Sony DSC-RX100 Mark III

The handy 180-degree tilting LCD screen is great for capturing overhead or low-angle video and stills. You’re able to control the Mark III from a smartphone to set up shots in hard-to-reach spots. There’s also the option to transfer photos by touching your device to the camera.

Sony’s the largest sensor manufacturer in the world, providing for iPhones, digital SLR’s and point and shoot cameras. This camera’s got a 1” back-illuminated sensor, almost as large as those found in interchangeable DSLR’s. As for as that sweet Zeiss lens, it’ll focus from 5 cm to infinity in wide angle and 0.3 meters to infinity in telephoto.

Sony DSC-RX100 Mark III

At 263 grams (without battery), it’s worth looking into the RX100 Mark III. The latest in the lineup, RX100 Mark IV, has built-in image stabilization, a super speedy, anti-distortion shutter (1/32,000!), shoots 4k video and sells for $1,200.

A big thank you to London Drugs for inviting me on this pre-holiday tech journey as well as to Fairmont Chateau Whistler for a lovely room with a view, meals, wind-down hot tub time and friendly customer service!

1 Comment

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