Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, Meet Xiaomi's Insane Wi-Fi Enabled Rice Cooker
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
A few weeks ago I finagled Samsung into sending over one of their new Galaxy S7 Edge phones to check out. This phone has a gorgeous, crisp 5.5-inch screen that keeps on going: The display actually curves at the edges and around the side of the phone, meaning there’s no bezel at all. It gives a wonderfully immersive feel whenever you’re using the phone. You can swipe in from the edges to bring in a series of panels which act as shortcuts to apps, contacts or even just to a compass.
But what really blew my mind was the S7’s 12-megapixel camera, which is nothing short of excellent. It’s just as good as anything you’d get in a standalone point-and-shoot, and it takes crisp, clear shots with a lightning-fast autofocus. The camera’s low-light capabilities are formidable too, shooting high-quality shots in situations that would make my iPhone 5 throw a fit.
I stress-tested the S7 Edge with about as stressful a test as you could think up in Hong Kong—I took it to the Sevens, where it was my main camera and lifeline the entire weekend. A huge battery life served me well, and when Samsung made this phone waterproof they weren’t kidding—it lived through a genuine Hong Kong downpour on Sunday while shooting away, and I ended up with nothing worse than very, very moist shoes.
It’s not all brilliant—Samsung’s proprietary TouchWiz interface is a bit of a pain to get your head around and the phone comes bloated with unnecessary apps. But the S7 is a genuinely excellent piece of kit. I want one. 32GB model, $5,998 from phone stores. samsung.com
Heating Pressure Rice Cooker
Chinese smartphone and TV makers Xiaomi are apparently bored with making stuff-with- a-screen. So they’ve decided to branch out a little into homeware, under the brand “Mi Ecosystem.” The latest addition to the brand is the Xiaomi Mijia induction Heating Pressure Rice Cooker. This elegant white cube isn’t just any boring rice cooker: It comes Wi-Fi enabled. That means it will—oh yes—hook up to your phone via a smartphone app. You can use the app to set up your ideal cooking time, but what's really good is you can scan the barcode of the rice packet in question, and the app will look it up in a database to find the ideal cooking time and pressure needed to create the perfect bowl of rice for that particular brand.
Normally when I’m cooking rice I just throw in about a finger’s depth of water and wait till the cooker switches from “cook” to “warm”—but that was before I knew that there are better, more civilized ways. The cooker is available in China right now for RMB999 ($1196), which is at least the quarter the price of its Japanese rivals. Look for it in Hong Kong soon. I’m considering a trip to Shenzhen just to pick one up. xiaomi-mi.com
Bellroy 3 Card Phone Case
If you’re often overcome by the tyranny of too much in your wallet, Aussie leatherworkers Bellroy have launched a new line of leather smartphone cases for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, with slots for three cards on the back that you can just swipe out of the case when necessary. The Bellroy 3 Card Phone Case is slim, useful and best of all, it looks really really good. Only question in Hong Kong is, of course: Where are you gonna keep all your business cards? $510 from Kapok, G/F, Shop HG10-12, PMQ, 35 Aberdeen St., Central, 2858-8170, or from zixag.com
Studio Banana Things, the design studio that made the Ostrich Pillow—you know, that silly-looking napping pillow you literally slip over your head—has just launched a new project on Kickstarter: the Owlbag, which bills itself as "one bag, many bags.” it's essentially a reversible bag with a selection of pockets and sacks which hook up to it in a variety of different ways, allowing you to configure it for everything from “I’m a hipster on his way to the coffee shop to work on my screenplay” mode to “I’m a hipster on the way to the gym to work out as I contemplate my screenplay” mode.
Optional extras include a built-in power bank and a “proximity beacon” that hooks up to your phone via Bluetooth to warn you if you’ve just walked off and left your bag behind. As of press time the project is just over half-funded on Kickstarter with only a few days to go. The retail price for the bag is US$249 and the Kickstarter price is US$149 ($1,160), so get in now if you’re interested. kickstarter.com/projects/ostrich-pillow/owlbag