Mobile chips keep getting more powerful. Which begs the question: What makes a PC, a PC? Is it the chips inside, the OS it runs, or what you can do with it? If it's the latter, then the Remix Mini Android PC is as much a "personal computer" as any vanilla Windows box. Powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core 64-bit chipset, it runs a version of Android Lollipop called Remix OS that's been customized to provide a more desktop-like experience. That includes a Windows-like taskbar, multiple overlapping Windows for multitasking, and mouse and keyboard support. It has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, an Ethernet port, dual USB ports, and an HDMI port, supports 4K output, has either 1 or 2GB of RAM and 8 or 16GB of internal storage, and yet uses only 10 watts of energy. Oh, and it starts at only $20.
Based on classic keyboards from years past, Yamaha Reface Keyboards promise to bring professional-level sound on the road. Each of these mini-keyboards offers 37 keys, with actions taken from the flagship Motif XF synth, built-in speakers, turning knobs and sliding faders to control the sound, and the ability to operate off battery power alone. The CS is based on the Control Synthesizer from the '70s, while the CP is based on the Combo Piano played by everyone from Billy Joel to Keane. The YC is based on the combo organs of the late '60s, and the DX — perhaps the most notable of the collection — draws inspiration from the DX7, the keyboard that helped to shape the sound of the mid '80s.
A huge number of adjustments in Photoshop, Lightroom, and the like rely on the use of a virtual slider. What if you could bring that control off the screen and onto your desk? With Palette Creative Controls, you can. This modular system of anodized aluminum dials, buttons, and sliders connects to your computer via USB, and gives you fine-tuned, physical controls for the aforementioned photo apps, Premiere, InDesign, After Effects, and any other app that supports MIDI controls or keyboard shortcuts. You can customize the layout, function and color of each control to suit your own preferences, and thanks to the modular design, expanding your system is a simple as plugging a new module in.
A suped-up way to play Gran Turismo, it is not. The TL3 Racing Simulator is quite possibly the most advanced you can buy. It uses a system of three perfectly-calibrated projectors to display a 5760 x 1080 image more than seven feet across, giving you a breathtakingly real view, while the variable position cockpit assures you're at the correct viewpoint, whether you're fake-driving a Porsche, tank, or F1 car, and provides realistic motion for a complete driving experience.