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LensMag by Carson

The Carson LensMag for iPhone 5 is a great addition for any iPhone photographer. For the past week, I’ve been given the chance to take some amazing photographs with the LensMag. Of course, the iPhone camera by itself is good, but these lenses bring out the finer details in small objects such as a penny, or even a grain of salt. The LensMag accomplishes this with the 10x and 15x zoom lenses that attach to the back of your iPhone 5.

Imagine a magnifying glass attached to your iPhone. Unlike other lenses, the LensMag is magnetic and easily attaches to the rim and back aluminum of your iPhone 5. The zero-hassle approach is great. LensMag is light, and your phone remains balanced while taking photos. My only side note is a lens like this requires a tremendously steady hand, or for the object to be laying on a hard surface.

The LensMag is available for $19. If you use your iPhone for photography, this is a great addition to bring the everyday items we see into a different light.

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Facebook Camera launches for iPhone: Like Instagram Without The Other Guys

Somewhat curiously, Facebook has launched a new iPhone app today called Facebook Camera. Like the company’s stand-alone Facebook Messenger app, Facebook Camera provides users with an instant-access portal to photo-sharing on Facebook. And yes, it has filters.

Facebook Camera is a really simple app that has two main functions. The first is photo-sharing, which can be done by either taking a new photo, or uploading an existing photo from your camera roll. Users can crop and even apply Instagram-like filters to their photos before sharing them online for the world (well, your Facebook friends, at least) to see. One of the best features is that Camera allows for batch uploads, making it so much easier to create and populate an entire Facebook Photo Album from your phone. In addition, Facebook Camera acts as a photo viewer, giving users a much nicer mobile way to browse through their friends photos in a News Feed-like interface.

I’ve played around with the app for a few minutes, and it definitely is as simple as it sounds. Facebook Camera provides a much sleeker, smoother photo-viewing experience than the full Facebook app for iOS. While I still don’t quite understand the need for Facebook to release stand-alone apps instead of building these features into their full app (perhaps they are building a Facebook phone, one app at a time), there’s a larger question looming here: having just announced their intent to purchase Instagram for a hefty $1 billion, why release a competitor?

I’m sure investors are curious about this as well. Facebook is a public company now, and like it or not, Mark is going to have to start answering to the people who buy in to his company. Why does Facebook need two photo sharing applications? Now that they have their own Instagram competitor, what justification is there for spending a billion dollars on Instagram? By and large, Instagram and Facebook Camera are the same thing, save for the fact that Instagram also integrates with Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, and Foursquare, while Facebook Camera is deeply integrated with the social network that birthed it. But to users, many of whom are already deeply committed to Instagram, Facebook Camera doesn’t provide much of an incentive to switch.

If you want to try out Facebook Camera for yourself, it’s available for iPhone right now in the App Store.

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CES: The Best of The Best, as The Lights Dim… (Wrap-Up)

The 2012 Consumer Electronics Show has come and gone, and while there may not have been many high profile products announced (in fact many claim there was no clear “Best of Show”), this years CES brought a ton of awesome new gadgets just the same.

As there was not much activity on Day 3, the final day of the show, I decided I would highlight some of my personal favorite announcements – the best of the best – from throughout the week.

Google’s Android Style Guide
Although it isn’t really a product per-se, the Android Style Guide was released to developers on Day 3, and aims to help them in creating and designing beautiful apps for Android using the new style conventions introduced with Ice Cream Sandwich. The style guide is available now on Google’s Android Developer portal.

Windows 8 tablets
Intel, along with a few other companies, showed off some prototype Windows 8 tablets at the show. I must say, Microsoft is on a roll with their Windows products lately, following up the awesome Windows Phone 7 with the equally new and unique Windows 8. It features the same gorgeous Metro UI of WP7, and aims to provide an experience tailored for touch input, as well as the conventional keyboard and mouse. Microsoft has promised a beta of Windows 8 will be released in February.

Nokia Lumia 900
I’ve recently become a big fan of Windows Phone 7, and if you’re looking for the iPhone or Galaxy Nexus of Windows Phone, look no further than the Lumia 900 from Nokia. The first LTE offspring of the Microsoft / Nokia deal, the Nokia Lumia 900 is described by company CEO (and fellow Canadian) Stephen Elop as “the first real Windows Phone”. It’s a gorgeous device that features an 8 megapixel Carl Zeiss shooter on the back, and a beautiful 4.3” display on the front.

LG’s 55 inch OLED TV and LG’s LM series 1mm bezel TV’s
LG pulled out the big guns at this years CES, showcasing a 55 inch OLED TV that The Verge states was “making love to our eyes”. LG also announced the LM series of TV’s that feature a tiny 1mm bezel. They are absolutely stunning, and all of these models will be arriving sometime in 2012.

Samsung Smart TV
This wasn’t necessarily one of my favorite products, but it is an interesting one nonetheless. Samsung announced a new Smart TV that the user can control using, yes, their voice. Wasn’t there another company rumored to be working on a voice-controlled television? Oh yeah…

Sony Xperia S
Sony’s first Android phone to debut sans-Ericsson was the Xperia S. It’s a cool looking phone that actually features a transparent plastic strip along the bottom which functions as the antenna. Neat! Unfortunately, it’s still running Gingerbread, and it is skinned, though not as heavily as some of Sony’s previous Xperia devices. This one will be hitting AT&T in the US soon.

Vizio’s all-in-one computer and thin-and-light laptops
Vizio, known mostly for their line of discount TV’s, unveiled their first foray into the personal computer market at CES. Their new all-in-one features a very modern design, announced alongside matching peripherals including a keyboard, external trackpad, and subwoofer. The all-in-one also features an HDMI input, meaning you could hook up a Blu-ray player or game console to it and essentially use the monitor as a TV.

Vizio also showcased a line of thin-and-light laptops that they insist are not Ultrabooks! Vizio says their new portables match or outdo Intel’s Ultrabook specs. The laptops are gorgeous for Windows machines, and feature the same modern and sleek design as the company’s all-in-one.

Canon PowerShot G1 X
Canon launched the G1 X, a camera with the power and performance of a DSLR, but in the body of a point-and-shoot. The $799 camera features a 14.3 megapixel sensor and a non-interchangeable 15.1-60.4mm zoom lens. The G1 X is meant for photographers that already own a DSLR, but want something more portable to carry around that can provide the same superior image quality. The G1 X is one sexy piece of kit, though a little out of my price-range…

And that is the best of the best at this year’s CES. Thanks for joining Current Editorials on our look at CES 2012!
Links via The Verge and Engadget.