The 5 Best Products in Amazon’s Wearable Tech Store

It has been about five weeks now since launched their wearable technology store. Smartwatches, activity trackers, body-mountable cameras, connected eyeglasses — wearable tech encompasses pretty much any item that 1) includes a microprocessor and 2) is meant to be worn. Go figure.

Many prognosticators believe “wearable” will be the next Big Thing in technology. (Spot Cool Stuff believes so too, though we see it taking off later than most experts and view 3D printing as being the bigger next Big Thing). At the moment, though, Amazon’s new wearable tech store has rather slim pickings.

Slim. But not entirely devoid of cool products. Here are our five favorites:

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Best Tablet Computers for Students

Tablet computers are joining backpacks, bicycles and beer pong tables as essential items for university and college students. Some students in high school (and earlier) are taking tablets to class too.

On a tablet a student can read (and purchase) textbooks, manage a to-do list, keep a calendar of assignments, take notes in class, conduct research, check email, collaborate with other students, use educational apps and, of course, procrastinate with Angry Birds. On many tablets you can write or edit papers too.

As such, a good tablet computer for a student is one with a long battery life, with enough processing power to run high-end apps and with a screen that’s especially easy to read. Students tend to type more on their tablet than typical users, so a large, responsive on-screen keyboard can be essential.

There’s another consideration when choosing your tablet: The operating system prevalent the institution where the tablet will be used. Some schools are very Apple and Mac oriented. Others are more Chrome- and Google-centric.

With that in mind, here are Spot Cool Stuff’s tablet recommendations for students. As always, you can click on the category that most interests you or continue reading on after the jump.

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The Samsung Galaxy Note: Phone or Tablet?

Is it a tablet? Or is it a phone?

That’s the tagline on billboards advertising the new Samsung Galaxy Note. When the company selling a product expresses uncertainly about what exactly their product is, you know you are dealing with something different.

Indeed, the Samsung Note really is something different—a new hybrid product that’s both an oversized phone and an undersized tablet. The phonelet weighs 6.3 ounces (178 grams) and has a 5.3-inch display—more than the largest smartphone and less than the smallest tablet. The Android operating system, powered by 1.4GHz dual-core processor, is capable of doing anything Samsung Galaxy tablets are (and then some). And it makes phone calls with all the functionality of a high-end Samsung smartphone.

So does the Samsung Galaxy Note deliver the best features of a tablet and a smartphone? Or is it the worst of both worlds? Spot Cool Stuff takes a look:

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Google Chromebook Comparison:
Acer vs Samsung
spot cool stuff TECH

Microsoft and Apple, watch out. Google is taking direct aim at you with their Chromebooks—laptops than run the Google-controlled Chrome operating system.

Unlike computers that operate Microsoft Windows or the Mac OS or even Linux, Chromebooks are not designed to run a lot of software stored locally on a hard drive. Instead, Chromebooks link up to Google’s (and other’s) online services. The applications Chromebooks run, the data they produce and the files they use, it is all stored on internet servers collectively known as “the cloud.”

Chromebooks’ approach is a semi-radical move away from hard drive-based personal computers. Naturally, it comes with pros and cons:

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The Free Smartphone Made From Corn

Color us cynical, but when we first heard of the cell phone made out of corn-based materials we figured that the product would be little more than a green gimmick. (Perhaps we are still haunted by memories of drinking cheap corn-made beer—”beer” that literally cost less than bottled water—while in college in Iowa. But ANYWAY . . .)

. . . then we tried out the Samsung Reclaim. Turns out, the phone much cooler and less, well, corny, than we had imagined.

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