The week in gadgets: 4K SD cards, designer set-top boxes and the Nexus 5’s repairability

11 Nov 2013

Opening up Google's Nexus 5 smartphone. Image via iFixit

A look at gadget happenings, as iFixit gives us an inside look at the Nexus 5, SD cards and devices get a 4K boost, Sky’s set-top boxes get a makeover, and Globalstar unwraps two new devices for connected travellers.

Inside the Nexus 5

Google introduced us to its latest handset collaboration with LG at the close of October and, lo, the Nexus 5 was finally confirmed after months of speculation and leaks. The Android smartphone has since been torn apart by IT repairs website iFixit, who awarded it a substantial 8 out of 10 repairability score.

iFixit credits the Nexus 5’s high score to its easily removed back panel and replaceable battery – a sight becoming all too uncommon in recent devices. The site also commended the Nexus 5’s modular framework design, conveniently labelled antennas and the use of plastic clips (albeit stubborn ones) to hold the device together.

SD cards get ready for 4K explosion

Regular SD cards are often unable to handle the pixel density of 4K video recording, but the SD Association has revealed an Ultra High Speed Class 3 (U3) card format that can. Offering minimum write speeds of 30MB/s, this new standard will be available on SDXC UHS-I and UHS-II, and SDHC UHS-I and UHS-II memory cards and devices. In the case of devices, these will be backwards compatible and continue to work with existing SD memory cards.

A symbol indicating support for 4K content will be used to highlight U3-capable devices and cards as they become available.

Design on demand from Sky

Sky has collaborated with fashion designers Roland Mouret, Giles Deacon and Kit Neale, as well as style icon Sophie Dahl, to design limited-edition Sky+ HD2TB boxes with built-in Wi-Fi in time for Christmas.

Each decorated box has been inspired by the designer’s favourite genre, with Dahl coming over all romantic, Mouret taking on gritty contemporary drama, Neale invoking inspiration from nature documentaries, and Deacon using Disney’s Minnie Mouse. The idea being that these designs bring to life the content available through Sky’s On Demand service.

Sky designer set-top boxes

Clockwise from bottom left: Sky set-top boxes designed by Sophie Dahl, Roland Mouret, Kit Neale and Giles Deacon

Customers looking to invest in a fancy new Sky box can register their interest online.

For the connected traveller

Globalstar has two new gadgets on the market for adventurous travellers looking to stay connected.

The SPOT Gen3 is a one-way beacon that lets users send messages to friends and family regarding their location. This rugged, pocket-sized device can also contact emergency responders with its GPS location with just one press of a button and has been used in more than 2,500 emergency rescues to date.

Globalstar SPOT Gen3 beacon

Globalstar SPOT Gen3 beacon

For more chat on far-away travels, the GSP-1700 satellite phone enables voice calls, as well as Twitter and Facebook updates even when off the grid.

The GSP-1700 is available now in copper, red and silver, while the SPOT Gen3 will launch in late November in Europe.

Globalstar GSP-1700 satellite phone

Globalstar GSP-1700 satellite phone

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Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.