This Asus router is a powerful rebuttal to Google OnHub’s stark simplicity

asus rt ac5300ASUS
The Wi-Fi arms race continues. In the wake of Google’s OnHub router launch, Asus has announced what looks to be an astonishingly powerful new device: The RT-AC5300U, This 4×4 consumer router, promises to deliver two 5GHz 802.11ac wireless networks with TCP throughput up to 2165Mbps each, and one 2.4GHz 802.11n Wi-Fi network with up to 1000Mbps of TCP throughput.

And where Google’s OnHub router hides its antennas—and blocks users from tweaking most of its settings—the RT-AC5300U bristles with eight upgradeable antennas and is packed with features that have consistently set Asus routers apart from the pack.

Google’s OnHub—an AC1900 router that delivers maximum throughput of 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 1300Mbps of throughput on the 5GHz band—delivered exceptionally good performance in our recent review. But we dinged it for not letting buyers use its USB port to share storage or a printer and for taking too many configuration decisions out of users’ hands. If past is prologue, power users will have a field day tweaking this new Asus router’s settings.

What’s inside?

Asus has only released a spec sheet for the RT-AC5300U and one photo that makes it look like a headcrab from the alien-invasion game Half-Life. (Its squarish form factor also makes it look a bit like TP-Link’s Archer C3200). Asus says the new router will ship in the fourth quarter, but hasn’t released pricing information—and Asus has issued very optimistic ship dates with some of its of earlier routers.

As with past models in the Asus RT series, this one will have a DLNA media server, ftp and SAMBA file servers, one USB 3.0 port and one USB 2.0 port for sharing storage and a printer, and a 4-port gigabit switch. The router will boast 128MB of flash storage and 256MB of DDR3 RAM. That leaves plenty of room for third-party open-source firmware developers.

asus rt ac5300ASUS
How long will the Asus RT-AC5300U be the only AC5300 router on the market?

Why this matters: Despite its long spec sheet, the Asus RT-AC5300U lacks some features that the OnHub does have: Support for Bluetooth and any of the protocols that could become the de facto standard for the connected home. On the other hand, none of those OnHub features are actually active in the OnHub you can buy today.

If Google—or any other player—succeeds in creating a new market for networking hardware that’s super easy to set up (and difficult to screw up because you don’t get to make very many meaningful choices), the biggest danger for enthusiasts is that the remaining market for hardware that’s supremely powerful—and perhaps necessarily more difficult to install—will become too small for vendors like Asus, Netgear, D-Link, Linksys, and other top-shelf players to continue investing in. Here’s hoping I’m just being pessimistic.

New drone hopes to make aerial photography a Snap

Vanatage Robotics’ new Snap camera drone combines stabilized 4K video with a variety of shooting modes and a focus on safety and portability — attributes it hopes will make the product to stand out in a crowded market.

The San Francisco-based start-up unveiled the drone on Tuesday and began accepting preorders.

For photographers, the biggest attractions are probably the 4K camera, which shoots at 4x HD resolution, and the gimbal that it’s mounted on. This electronically-controlled device pivots and rotates the camera to counter the movement of the drone, so the resulting video should look smoother and more professional.

150902 snap drone 1DAN MASAOKA
The gimbal-stablized camera on the front of the Snap drone.

But that wasn’t the only thing Vanatage had in mind when it developed the product.

“The biggest issue with any drone that shoots quality video is that it’s essentially a big, flying lawnmower. If you’re hit, you’re cut; if it’s in the eye, you’re blinded,” said Tobin Fisher, one of the company’s co-founders.

To illustrate this, Fisher sometimes shows photographs of drone injuries that are definitely not for the squeamish.

He wanted to make a drone that was safer to use, so Snap’s four rotors are covered by protectors. The company went through multiple designs to come up with one that doesn’t interrupt the airflow to the rotors while ensuring no one ends up in the emergency room after an accident.

The body and electronics of the drone are housed in an enclosure that snaps onto the frame with magnets, giving the product its name.

In the event of a crash, that magnetic connection means the body can easily detach from the main body of the drone — something that Fisher hopes will lead to less damage for the camera and whatever it hits.

150902 snap drone 3DAN MASAOKA
The Snap drone takes flight in San Francisco during a demonstration on August 24, 2015.

And something else that’s notable: with the body detached, the frame folds in half so that the drone can fit in pretty much any backpack. That could be really useful for people who want to take the unit on hikes and trips into the countryside. Just remember: drones are banned in national parks.

Snap is controlled with a smartphone and there are several shooting modes to choose from. “Follow me” will follow a tracking device worn by a person, “virtual wire” has the drone fly along a path drawn on a smartphone screen, and “air tripod” has the drone hover in a particular spot. It can also be geo-fenced, so it doesn’t fly outside a user-defined area.

Snap has a range of about 150 meters, a top speed of about 30 miles per hour and will stay aloft for 20 minutes. Vantage is working on accessories that could push the range to 1,500 meters, or just under a mile, and up to an hour of flight time.

150902 snap drone 4DAN MASAOKA
The magnetic and electrical connectors on the Snap drone.

The company is working on hardware modules that can be attached or detached to change the feature set. One module will add automatic avoidance technology through a tiny laser scanning device called a LIDAR sensor.

Snap costs $995 during the preorder stage and will ship sometime in 2016. The price will later increase to $1,295, Fisher said.

Grain Audio OEHP On-Ear Headphones, Save 25%

grain audio

If you are looking for a pair of on ear headphones then we have a great deal in the Geeky Gadgets Deals store, you can now get a pair of Grain Audio OEHP On-Ear Headphones for $149.

The Grain Audio OEHP On-Ear Headphones normally retail for $199, so you can save 25% off the normal retail price.

grain audio

The makers at Grain Audio have been quietly perfecting the art of pure, natural sound to deliver the OEHP On-Ear Headphones. These minimalist, solid wood headphones may look flat out amazing on the outside, but every audio elite knows that it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Each enclosure is paired with a proprietary driver customized for the purpose of exuding a clear, natural sonic experience just as the artists intended.

DOTT Smart Dog Tag Runs For 6 Months On A Single Charge

DOTT Smart Dog Tag

DOTT is a new smart dog tag that has taken to Kickstarter to raise funds to go into production, and creates a virtual leash between owners and dog using a companion applications and Bluetooth dog tag.

The DOTT dog tag is priced at $25 and sends a signal up to 350 ft radius, or the equivalent to 21 standard basketball courts and uses Bluetooth Smart technology for a connection.

Watch the video below to learn more about the small tag that requires no monthly fees and is fitted with a batter that is capable of providing up to 6 months use without the need to recharge. Its creators explain a little more :

The Smart Dog Tag was created by a group of pet lovers to provide an affordable and active solution to help you locate your pets if they ever get lost. It uses Bluetooth Smart technology paired with the DOTT mobile app to provide a community of people who can help you find your lost pets.

One out of three pets will get lost in their lifetime and only 10% are ever found. Replace your old dog tag with a new smart one to prevent yours from getting lost! There are already a great number of tools out there that promise to help find your pets when they get lost… so, why do we need another one?

– GPS devices are bulky and expensive. Worst of all, the battery life only lasts a few days; they only work if you remember to charge the battery and attach them to your pets.
– Microchips are passive and only useful if someone who has a scanner catches the lost pet.
– Other tracking devices are not pet-specific and don’t always meet the needs of pet owners.

Polaroid Snap $99 Instamatic Camera Using ZINK Zero Ink Technology Unveiled

Polaroid Snap Instamatic Camera

Ahead of the official launch of the IFA 2015 technology show later this week, Polaroid have announced the launch of a new $99 instamatic camera in the form of the Polaroid Plus.

The Polaroid Plus will be available to purchase before the end of the year and will be priced at $99 throughout the US, although the new camera is also expected to be made available in the UK and Australia although prices for these regions have not been confirmed as yet.

Polaroid have equipped the new instant camera 10 megapixel sensor and equipped it with the same topology that is used within the ZINK Zero Ink printers. Allowing you to print off an instant physical copy of your photograph without the need to use any ink. The Polaroid Plus is capable of printing 10 shots per cartridge that are 3 x 2 inches in size.

Polaroid Snap Instamatic Camera

Other features of the Polaroid Plus preclude a 32 MB microSD card slot that allows you to transfer your photos to another device such as a desktop computer or tablet for further storage options and the ability to print extra copies using other methods.

New Nest Thermostat Features Bigger Screen, More Sensors And Farsight

New Nest Thermostat

Google has unveiled its third-generation of Nest thermostat this month, that has been equipped with a larger display and a thinner design as well as featuring a number of new enhancements including Farsight.

Farsight has been added and designed to allow the new larger display to be seen from across a room and can provide details on the temperature you set or the time, which can then be viewed as either a digital or analog clock.

Google has also equipped the latest generation of Nest thermostat with more temperature sensors allowing the hardware to learn even quicker about changes in your environment and make adjustments. Google explains more :

With more temperature sensors, the Nest Thermostat is more accurate. So it’s even better at learning about your home. It gets to know how it heats and cools, or how drafty it is, and adjusts accordingly. And if your furnace is acting up, the Nest Thermostat will let you know. Most heating and forced air furnaces have an automatic shutoff to avoid overheating.

The Nest Thermostat is always looking out for shutoff patterns that indicate a persistent problem with your furnace. If anything’s out of the ordinary, every heating or cooling season you’ll get a Furnace Heads-Up message on your phone or tablet and the thermostat screen. And you’ll also get a notice in your monthly Home Report.

And of course, the Nest Thermostat works with other Nest products. If Nest Protect senses smoke or carbon monoxide, the Nest Thermostat will shut off your heating system. That’s because the furnace can spread smoke throughout your home in a fire and it’s also a common source of CO leaks.

New Adonit Jot Dash Stylus Does Not Require A Bluetooth Connection

New Adonit Jot Dash Stylus

Adonit has unveiled a new addition to their range of tablet and smartphone stylus this week, with the introduction of the new Adonit Jot Dash that does not require a Bluetooth connection to your device to function.

Even though the stylist does not require Bluetooth the new Dash stylus is equipped precision tracking and an internal battery that is capable of providing up to 14 hours of continual use on a single charge and when flat can be recharged in just 45 minutes.

New Adonit Jot Dash Stylus

Without needing to connect both stylus and tablet together via Bluetooth, enables users to make notes or sketches even faster, and is fitted with a 1.9 mm tip for extra accuracy. The Jot Dash supports all iOS and Android touch screens and is now available to purchase price to $50, watch the video below to see it in action.