Luxury has always been a subjective concept. It defies definition. It varies depending on geographies and cultures. With these caveats, here are some gadgets, devices and more which elevate the sensory experience and which large numbers of people would readily acknowledge as luxuries.
A TREAT FOR THE EYES
SAMSUNG SUHD 4K TV 88 INCH
Samsung's flagship 88-inch screen SUHD TV masterfully blends elegance and top quality technology. The frame is real metal chamfered bezel in an elegant matte finish. The curved screen, resting on a stylish V-Beam, makes for balanced viewing, and its backlit panel emits radiant light to create rich colours. SUHD is one step beyond UHD (ultra high definition), but this TV can upscale even non-SUHD content to SUHD levels using algorithms. It also analyses flat images, and by adding levels of contrast enhancement, makes them look more real. It remembers what it played last and enables quick playback.
PRICE: Rs 23,99,900
HTC VIVE, AUGMENTED REALITY HEADSET
Virtual reality (VR) headsets offer an immersive, 3D viewing experience that appears magical. There are no doubt relatively cheap VR headsets in the market, but for the truly heightened experience, HTC Vive or Occulus Rift are the ones to go for. Vive offers a 110-degree field of view, with its front-facing camera blending elements of the real world surrounding the viewer into the virtual world he is experiencing. The headset has 32 sensors for 360-degree motion tracking. With a display resolution of 2160x1200 pixels and 90Hz refresh rate, this is a feast for the eyes.
SONY VPLVW1100ES 4K HOME THEATRE PROJECTOR
This is a projector that brings the cinema experience right into the living room. It has a Super High Resolution 4K All-Range Crisp Focus (ARC-F) lens, with an 18-piece structure and floating focus system. It combines Sony's HD SXRD projector lens with 4K digital cinema technologies to offer better images. There is a floating lens group and a focusing lens group, which move simultaneously to provide high precision. The varying refractive indexes of green, red and blue light are taken into consideration to give clear, sharp images, no matter how close or far away the viewer sits. Blu-ray and DVD content are upscaled to near-4K quality. A surround-sound audio system and recliners will complement the viewing experience.
MUSIC TO THE EARS
BANG & OLUFSEN BEOLAB 90
With 8,000 watt power, 18 dedicated speaker drivers and a weight of 137 kg, the Beolab 90 set of speakers is a landmark creation. The logo itself is fascinating, using a patented technology to shine light through aluminium. A 'light guide' at the top provides visual feedback on the sound being produced. The speakers have range and clarity with a 360-degree design. They incorporate a new Active Room Compensation technology, which makes up for any sound quality loss due to the acoustics of the room, the presence of furniture, positioning of speakers or the listener. It has both a remote control and a dedicated smartphone app to adjust the amplitude and direction of the sound.
PRICE: Rs 7,500,000
ACOUSTIC SOLID 111 METAL
For those who still love vinyl records, this turntable would be a cherished possession. This one has a WTB 303 phono cartridge tonearm and a 30 mm, six kg full aluminium platter, with the platter mat carefully designed using a natural leather and acrylic combination to snuff out damp resonances and vibrations within the record. It has a microprocessorcontrolled power supply and synchronous motor type. The chassis, weighing around 17 kg, is made of 20-mm thick aluminium. It uses a classic three-point support layout for maximum stability and its three feet are adjustable for ease of set-up.
PRICE: Euro 1,999
FOR YOUR NOSE AND TONGUE
WILLIAMS WARN PERSONAL BREWERY
This provides freshly brewed beer at home - clear and perfectly carbonated professional quality beer in just seven days. Crafted from high-grade stainless steel, it can brew 22 litres at a time and is simple to operate - the user need only add water, wort and yeast, and the machine will do the rest. The beer ferments in a pressurised container.
ASTRA 2000 FULLY AUTOMATED
It can prepare a wide variety of coffees such as caffeinated and decaffeinated espresso, cappuccino, latte, caf au lait, as well as gourmet American coffee drinks. This machine does not pre-grind the coffee beans. The beans are ground only after the desired drink has been selected, resulting in a fresh and aromatic concoction every time. There is also a high power steam wand. The switch of a button transforms it from a traditional coffee machine into an automatic drink maker.
LG KNOCK ON THE DOOR-IN-DOOR
Winner of several innovation awards, this refrigerator has a regular opaque door, but one which, if knocked upon, turns translucent, allowing the user to observe the contents inside without opening it. There is a mirrored glass panel on the door which lights up at two knocks, revealing the interior. Even to open the door, there is no need to use the hands. There are smart sensors at the foot of the door which open it as soon as the user steps on a projection of light in front of the door. The body is stainless steel, with a scratch resistant textured finish. The interior includes an ice and water dispenser with measured fill.
PRICE NOT FIXED YET
AIR OF LUXURY BLUEAIR PRO XL
Breathing clean air has obvious benefits, increasing energy levels and mental alertness. Swedish firm BluAir - recently acquired by Unilever - makes some of the best air purifiers, with its Pro XL, the highest capacity purifier, removing 99.97 per cent of contaminants from the immediate environment, including hazardous sooty particles, allergens and viruses. It has several filters and more can be added. Its Air Intelligence Module tests gas and particulate matter levels in the indoor air, and adjusts the fan speed to maintain an optimal clean-air environment. Ideal for an area of around 1,180 sq. ft, it changes the air five times per hour.
No, Pepper will not carry out dusting and cleaning - its function is at a much more elevated level. It understands emotions and adapts its behaviour based on its owner's needs. Made up of sensors, cameras, microphones and much more, it recognises the owner's voice and expressions and understands the words uttered. The robot changes its voice tone, movements, and even its eye colour in response to the owner's requirements. It can learn languages and dance, too. The standard robot can be personalised further by downloading software from the Net. Initially used by commercial outfits, Pepper has now entered Japanese homes as well.
PRICE: $10,000 APPROX (FOR 36 MONTHS)
APPLE WATCH GOLD
The iPhone and the iPad are for the hoi polloi - for the truly wealthy, Apple has brought out watches of 18-carat gold - a 42-mm wide one for men and a 35 mm one for women. There are two shades, rose gold and yellow gold, and can be accompanied by a gold bracelet around it - which obviously costs extra. What is its advantage over the traditional Rolex? Paired with an iPhone, it provides all notifications on the watch screen as well.