I had the pleasure of attending Engadget’s NY Meet Up this past Thursday. As a long time reader of the site I was looking forward to seeing some of the great tech on display. When I arrived at 6pm the line for entry started at the Roseland entrance and proceeded to go down the block and around the corner onto Broadway. Hundreds of tech enthusiasts patiently waited to go in. I made my way to the entrance and checked in my press pass. This was my first time at Roseland and it is a huge place that I expected to be littered with the latest in hardware and software.
Unfortunately there were more people than vendors but the atmosphere was inviting and the people I met were pretty cool peeps that actually expressed there appreciation for Engadget and not just a desire for some freebies. I wandered over to the Barnes and Noble booth which was show casing some new Nook HD units.
I will admit I was pleasantly surprised at not only the picture quality of the screens but all the many great features it had. Both the 7” and 9” units have the following features
HD display- 720p for the 7” and 1080p for the 9”
Profiles- Allows for each member of the household to have individual profiles that personalize the device. A feature which I think is great for a 1 tablet household
Catalogs & Nook Scrapbook- A feature that I found to be quite useful during the demo. The scrapbook feature allows you to rip a virtual page from Nook’s catalog library to reference later which for anyone that relies on catalogs for their holiday shopping will be a must use. application
Newspapers, magazines and comics are all at your disposal via the Nook store and get downloaded to your device as soon as they are released to the public
In addition to the features outlined above the Nook has a full stocked library of movies and TV shows and pretty solid table of apps to enhance functionality. The regular email and web browsing components are there and function perfectly with minimal fuss. Now the big question I had was about battery life which on the 7” tablet is an impressive 10.5 hours and on the 9” tops out at 10 hours which is ample time to read,email, surf the web and get a movie in. Pricing was competitive as well with a 9” tablet with 16 gigs of storage for $269 and only $30 bucks more to double it. The 7” tablet starts at $199 for 8 gigs and $229 for double the space. You’re not totally limited with storage though because both units accept a micro SD as well. The Nook looks to be taking the fight to the Kindle and iPad with their offerings.
Thanks to Alan McNamara from B&N for answering all my questions. Here are some other photos from the B&N booth.
The next booth I got to see was the constantly evolving Makerbot which at every event continues to impress me with its amazing 3D printing capabilities. On display and drawing a crowd was the impressive Makerbot Replicator 2 that creates 3D prints significantly faster than when I saw it on display at the GDGT event a few years back. 3D printing is the future and Makerbot is definitely at the top of its class when it comes to bringing 3D printing to your home. I am always happy to see a Makerbot booth at any event I go to because besides it being an amazing product it is one built here in NYC.
As the night wore on the crowd was hard at work submitting questions to the Engadget team in the hopes of not only having their questions read but hopefully winning some of the tech on display. One of the highlights for me was one lady who said Blackberry was her favorite device and that it was better than iOS and Android. If anyone was a heel that night it was that lady who took the jeers the crowd in stride.
This was the lady stating that Blackberry was the superior gadget. As a former Blackberry user I remember the days I thought that too. Sadly those were a long time ago.
Amongst all the great booths were fan favorites like iRobot who recently acquired rival Evolution Robotics who were known for the Mint bot that cleaned hard wood floors with a Swiffer pad. iRobot’s Roomba was front and center with the 600 series on display as well as some Mint units and the very awesome robotic gutter cleaner that I’ve always wanted to own. As iRobot continues evolving their floor cleaning bots the prices get cheaper. The 600 series Roomba’s are well below $350 which a few years back was the minimum for decent Roomba. Here are some of the units Roomba has on display including the aforementioned gutter cleaner.
Overall the event was a success strictly because Engadget got to interact with its readers on a more personal level and of course some tech got to be demonstrated to the masses. While I did spotlight certain vendors I cannot leave out staples like Dell who had some great Windows 8 PC’s on display and of course the always popular Samsung who not only showcased some convertible laptops but their new Galaxy Note II and Galaxy camera which were super popular with all the attendees. The surprising vendor their was Oakley though who showed off their new winter goggles with built heads up display. Their presentation was something I would never have expected from a company known for eyewear and showed me that everyone is finding ways to bring tech into things we never would expect. Before wrapping thing up I wanted to acknowledge the crew at Speck for making some really great and non bulky cell phone cases and accessories. Did I win anything you ask? I did get to walk away with a roll up water bottle from gogo. Gogo provides in flight internet for a variety of airlines including Delta, United, US Airways and Virgin America.
Feel free to check out the photos of the event on our fan page and also on our Google + page as well.
I’d like to thank Megan Lehn and the Engadget team for extending the invitation for us to cover the event. Till next year Engadget!