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Geek toys for rich boys
Whoever said the best things in life are free didn't know what he was talking about. When it comes to cuttingedge gadgets and gizmos, 'The Best' comes at a price - a very steep price. This isn't about diamond-encrusted iPhones, fur-lined laptops that look like a lady's handbag, or even that gold-plated Nintendo Wii. No Siree! This is not about bling. It's about serious technology that only rich geeks can aspire to. So what would you buy if money was not an issue?
What kind of phone do you think Larry Page or Sergey Brin would use? Well, we'd put their money on the Chairman Wave by Ulysse Nardin. The device runs on Google's very own Android OS, boasts an 8MP camera, 3G capabilities, 32GB internal memory, and a 3. 2-inch touchscreen with "thumb print recognition"!
Mostly plebeian so far, right? Well, here's the luxury part that's fit for the billionaire duo: The Wave is constructed with 300 handmade parts and includes materials such as anodised aerospace-grade aluminium alloy, marinegrade stainless steel and rhodium-plated parts, carbon fibre, 18k rose gold casing, 22k gold rotors and sapphire crystals.
The practical Page and the outdoorsy Brin would definitely appreciate the gadget's horological/maritime theme, complete with the Ulysse Nardin crown on its side and a signature rotor on the back. Wind the former and it activates the rotor to charge the battery - a nice touch!
The watchmaker has also hand-crafted a microphone, speaker and charging dock for the device available in natural wood or piano black finish. This Bluetooth accessory, with over 250 mechanical parts, also backs up the phone's 32GB of memory automatically. Ah yes, for an extra $5, 000 a year, P and B can also send their Waves back to the company twice a year to clean, polish and also upgrade the software, perhaps to the newer version of Android.
Price: $12, 000- $50, 000 (annual membership not included)
Few laptops can hold a candle to Alienware's M18x. Hardware-wise, this beast ticks the right boxes: An Intel Core i7 2. 5GHz (3. 6GHz with Turbo Boost) processor, a whopping 32GB of DDR3 RAM, dual 512GB solid state drives, slot-loading Blu-ray disc drive, Soundblaster X-Fi hi-def audio soundcard, two 2GB Nvidia GeForce GTX 580M graphic cards and an 18. 4-inch WLED screen with a resolution of 1920x1080pixels! It reeks of gaudy excesses.
And if the specs are not enough to impress even the most hardened of geeks -though you can be assured that they will - consider that all of it comes packed in a toughened anodised aluminium body;complete with custom lighting so that the spoilt brat in you can decide what ungodly light you want emanating from within. Indeed, if we didn't know this one was made by Alienware, it would be easy to mistake the M18x for the Devil's handiwork. It's that sinful.
Price: Upwards of $7, 500
We don't know what it is with cameras. Most people generally use their point-and-shoots to click photos of relatives and friends during birthday parties and picnics, but hand them a DSLR and off they go clicking wildlife and fire hydrants. For those so inclined, the Hasselblad H4D-200 MS has got to be it.
Designed for photographers who demand extremely fine details and exact colour information, the H4D-200 MS is ideal for capturing images of stationary items such as artwork and perhaps the odd, quaint lamp post when on the annual Parisian holiday. The camera's patented technology is also capable of capturing six shots using its 50MP sensor and then combining them into a whopping 200MP picture for the ultimate in photo resolution. If you were to try and get a print of that 600Mb photo, you can expect an ultra-sharp, 300dpi, print-quality photo that's 4. 5 x 3. 5 feet! Noticeably lacking are video-recording capabilities.
Price: $42, 000
Now for most princes and princesses of excess, plain binoculars would not be enough;definitely not if you're trying to catch the Grand Prix at Monaco from your yacht or even if you're spending the day at Ascot. For such occasions, Sony's Dev-5 seems like an apt device that not only lets you zoom in to your subject, but also records Full HD video with stereo sound at the touch of a button. Besides, it even includes a 3D mode that records stereoscopic video footage for playback on most 3D HDTVs. Turn on its digital zoom at magnification settings of over 10x and you can boost its range from 0. 9x up to 20x magnification.
Price: $2, 000
One look at the Orpheus HE 90 and you know you're looking at pedigree;and at just 300 manufactured pieces, it is rare pedigree indeed. And given it's a Sennheiser, you can bet your eardrums that it's right at the top of the audiophile headphone echelon. But if you thought that headphones are meant to be portable, think again. The luxurious Orpheus comes with its own tube amplifier, the HEV 90, that provides the interface to connect the headset - and it is this amp that adds to the whole look and its 13kg heft;complete with its polished aluminium, six visible vacuum tubes, and wood trim. As far as connectivity is concerned, the amp sports two headphone jacks;a conventional analog, optical (TosLink), or coaxial (S/PDIF) digital inputs. The system - which is painstakingly put together using materials such as gold, high-strength glass and heavy stainless steel - is capable of 118dB maximum output.
Price: $12, 900 (extra headphones $6, 500)
Without doubt, Bang and Olufsson's Beovision 4 is a plasma TV worthy of a millionaire's St Tropez winter retreat. Its sheer size apart, this set - complete with its brushed aluminium trim and diamond-cut joints - boasts of technologies that have never been seen in any television set before it. The 103-incher comes with "Automatic Colour Management" to ensure that the plasma screen does not deteriorate over time. A tiny built-in camera checks the display after every 100 hours of use and accordingly adjusts the colour balance. And then there's the Automatic Picture Control sensor that measures the ambient light in a room to adjust the output from the screen to ensure you get the best viewing experience whether day or night, or "whether your walls are white or wallpapered". And since this 'full HD' TV is future proof, it comes complete with advanced Active-3 D capabilities and can handle a wide variety of present and future high-definition sources including cable, satellite, DVD, broadband content, game consoles and digital cameras.
But the best part has got to be the Beovision 4's unique motorised stand. The screen rests only inches above the floor when not in use. But simply turn it on and motors elegantly elevate the screen to the optimal viewing position, while a seamlessly integrated BeoLab 10 centre loudspeaker emerges from underneath, moving forward until it is flush with the front frame.
And yes, using your remote you can also tilt and turn your screen to face you wherever you sit in your room so you don't have to change your seat. It costs - hold your breath - almost as much as a 2-bedroom apartment in the Mumbai suburbs.
Price: $140, 000
Calling the Behringer iNuke Boom an iPod dock is like calling the Buckingham Palace a house. This monstrosity - at four feet tall - stands as high as your chest, while its eightfeet length is easily longer than your king-sized bed. Couple these specs with its 300-kg weight, and what you have is a speaker on steroids!
This juggernaut packs in twin 18-inch subwoofers, dual 12-inch neodymium woofers and two 1. 75-inch titanium-diaphragm HF drivers that can 'nuke' glass. And with a volume control that goes all the way up to "11" this piece of madness is capable of pumping out 10, 000 watts of deafening audio.
Price: $30, 000 (iPod not included)
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