1. iPAD

There are new iPad tablets expected from Apple this year, but so far we only have one announced new edition. Simply called iPad Flat-out fun, it has been distinguished by some with a 2017 or fifth generation suffix. As you read through the features, one stands out. Listed right below the name is the news: “Starting at $329.” That’s the best price ever for a full-featured iPad. It has the 9.7" Retina display (2,048 × 1,536 resolution), 64-bit fast A9 processor, iOS 10, touch ID fingerprint sensor, and up to 10 hours on a single charge. It’s the basic, lightweight (1 lb.) iPad that can access the more than 1 million apps designed for its system. Basic memory is from 32GB up to 128GB. Siri is on-board, and the QuickType keyboard anticipates text input. Apple’s Night Shift, a warmer display option, is also included. The 8-mega­pixel camera shoots sharp stills or 1,080-pixel HD video. The front-facing FaceTime HD camera features 1.2-megapixels for video calls. Camera modes include panorama, burst mode or timer, video slow-motion, time-lapse, 3X video zoom, video image stabilization, face detection, and video geotagging. www.apple.com


The new Galaxy S8 (5.8" screen) and S8+ (6.2" screen) both feature what Samsung calls the Infinity Screen—virtually no bezel on the sides of the curved screen when held vertically. The image on the screen bleeds into the wider reality when you are focusing an image to photograph. And before we go any further, the company assures that it has developed an 8-point battery safety check exposing the battery to extreme testing followed by X-ray inspection. There are two cameras—front 8-mega­pixel and 12-megapixel rear with a flash for the main camera. The internal memory is 64GB and 4GB RAM, and a MicroSD card can add up to 256GB. The battery is 3,000mAh for the S8 and 3,500mAh for the S8+. That’s up to 29 hours (S8) and 33 hours (S8+) talk time, respectively. The facial recognition security feature will unlock the phone, and the Bixby Button learns your preferences and will respond to questions and commands. www.samsung.com


The Ultimate Ears (UE) Wonderboom is a portable, compact wireless Bluetooth speaker that withstands the rain and works in the shower (IPX7-rated waterproof up to 30 minutes at a depth of 1 meter), providing clear 360° sound. Successfully drop-tested from 1.7 meters high, it’s also durable. The rechargeable battery will last up to 10 hours, and the Bluetooth wireless range is up to 100 feet, working with smartphones, tablets, MP3 players, and other Bluetooth-enabled devices. A hang loop lets you tie the speaker to a deck rafter or backpack strap. You tap controls on top to play, pause, or skip songs. www.ultimateears.com


The SanDisk iXpand flash drive provides a solution for the lack of card slots on iPhones and iPad tablets. Available in 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB, this award-winning drive combines USB 3.0 and Lightning connectors. It supports iPhone 5 and newer, iPads with Retina displays, and iPad mini with Retina screens. It can be used to automatically back up your camera roll from the Apple device, and you can store and even watch popular-format videos straight from the drive. The drive has a flexible connector to plug directly into your iPhone or iPad without removing the case for the devices. www.sandisk.com

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