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Tech Savvy: Fashion Savvy Season

Hey there, Tech Savvy fans! As promised this week I get to share with you a unique experience that I had this past week. I was invited to the first ever Verizon Tech Holiday Fashion Show at their Destination store in the Mall of America in Bloomi...

Hey there, Tech Savvy fans! As promised this week I get to share with you a unique experience that I had this past week. I was invited to the first ever Verizon Tech Holiday Fashion Show at their Destination store in the Mall of America in Bloomington. I have to admit, when I was first invited I was a little concerned - for I am certainly no authority on fashion. However they reassured me that it was the tech that would be the focus and I would not have to help critique cardigans and sweaters.

If you recall the Destination store in the MOA is relatively new, I was able to be present at its unveiling this past year and shared how it took the traditional consumer experience and put it on its head. The store was designed to immerse the consumer in all of the technology and allow them first hand experience with the tech, products and service that Verizon has to offer. I have applauded them for years as being one of the only places where you can get real hands on experience with devices and this store is like a playground for grown ups. OK, my kids had a blast there, too, but they had to wait until I was finished to try out some of the really cool stuff.

Anyway, I arrived at the store a little before the show started and they really went all out - red carpet, music system pumping out some jams, and about 20 of my fellow media folks there as well. This event was exclusive to select members of the media (like yours truly), but they had a second showing the following evening that was open to the public. I didn't come back for that event, but after seeing how they presented this one, I'm sure it was a hit.

We were fortunate to have Allison Kaplan, the senior editor of Minneapolis/St. Paul Magazine, to serve as emcee. Kaplan certainly has a much better grasp of the fashion side of things, and walked us through a series of products that were modeled by employees from the store. In all they showcased about fifty products during our fashion show and all of them can be found in stores and at www.verizonwireless.com .

Some were ones we've already taken a look at here in Tech Savvy courtesy of Verizon. Including the FitBit Aria scale, Mophie Power Stations, Motorola X and my new favorite phone the Motorola Turbo (seriously, if you haven't checked it out yet, you really should).

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But let's highlight a few that grabbed my attention and some of their main features.

The coolest part about hosting this as a fashion show is you expect dynamic presentation. This was really done well with items like the Altec Lansing Life Jacket waterproof speakers. They rolled out this huge fish tank, speakers blasting and then promptly tossed the whole works in the drink. Talk about putting your money where your mouth is. There was a brief collective gasp as the speaker touched the water, and the knowing employee gave a shocked expression to the crowd. The joke was on us as she then lifted the speaker out of the water and it kept on kickin'. Altec has a history of great products, home stereos and computer speakers, and this would be a cool option for beach goers. They also showed a new Lifeproof case, the Nuud, which they also sent to sleep with the fishes, but it also came up no worse for wear - which is just what we expect from Lifeproof.

They also trotted out (literally) a slew of new fitness trackers just in time for the holiday season, including the FitBit Charge, an offering from Adidas, and one that I am hoping to get some time on - the Garmin vivofit. The specs on the Garmin look really comprehensive and it tracks more than many other fitness trackers have up to this point. In addition to the Adidas tracker, they also had a number of accessories that would be used to supplement your experience. One of the coolest was a soccer ball that was completely wired into the app which will capture information like kick speed, trajectory, spin and other elements to help you improve your game. They also had the Misfit Shine, which I thought was an interesting take, it didn't have a big display, it was full of flashing lights, it actually looked more like the end from a pendant or pin, so now you have an option where if you want to track your fitness, but don't want to look like you're training to run a marathon, you can.

To prepare for the next year they also had some cool sports and outdoor gear, like the ZEPP golf swing analyzer and their baseball/tennis analyzer. These devices can be used to critique and improve your swings and get you ready to hit the links, court or field well ahead of spring. I'm pretty sure that it couldn't save my golf swing, but if you have an avid player, or if you're looking for ways to improve your game, this is an easy way to get this type of swing analysis during the off-season. Of course, they had one of the new GoPro Hero 4s there, and really GoPro is the name to have when it comes to action cameras. We've used them numerous times at the Dispatch, and there are so many ways to attach the cameras and use the video and pictures, they're amazing. One cool device they had was the Tagg Pet Tracker - it's a collar like device that you can use to keep track of your pets. We used to have huskies for pets when I was a kid and they loved to run, and often they'd just run off for a day or so. It wasn't a huge deal since we didn't live in town, but when it was storming out it would have been nice to know where they were. These trackers are getting to be a must have for muffy the miniature poodle so you don't lose track of where your pets are.

They also had numerous cases to show, and there are so many options now it's absolutely amazing. One other really cool feature of the Destination store is that they can make photo cases while you wait, or while you get your other shopping done. One fun case they had, besides the new Lifeproof case, is one that mimics football leather. They also had cases by Otterbox that were branded for NFL teams. You still have time to get them as stocking stuffers for the big fan in your family.

Home improvement tech has also been big on the trending scales lately and there were some cool standalone products that you can find in stores that they had on display today. One that stood out was the Philips Hue Connected Downlight starter pack. These are smart, connected, LED bulbs that you can control via a mobile app. Allison Kaplan shared that these bulbs are rated for 15,000 hours, which is almost two whole years if you ran them nonstop. More realistic usage of about three hours a day would mean these bulbs would last you about 13.7 years.

Of course, our day wouldn't be complete without taking a look at some of the new devices, as Allison Kaplan proclaimed, "Gold is in this year" so the new iPhones with their gold backing she predicts will be hot items. They also had some of the smart watches on hand (ba-dum) like the Motorola 360, The G Watch from LG and the Sony Smartwatch 3. All of these are top of the line, and one thing that I really like about them is they are continually getting better and better not just in how they connect to your device, but in how they can function separately which can be a huge benefit.

In addition to the watches, they finished by bringing out stockings that housed some of the top devices going into the Christmas season - iPhone 6, Motorola Turbo, iPads, Samsung phones, the Xperia tablet we took a look at earlier, and others. I have been raving about the Motorola Turbo the last couple of weeks, but if that doesn't tickle your fancy, there are so many other awesome devices out there that you can get your hands on, you have a huge variety. Again, don't just take my word for it, get to a store and check it out.

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I know many of you travel during the holiday season, if you're going through the Twin Cities and have some time, make sure to stop by the store and get some hands on time with the devices and accessories at the Verizon Destination store. It's a fantastic store packed with fantastic products, and amazing employees who are there to help you get your questions answered.

Stay tuned, there was some additional footage that we might be sharing with you in the near future.

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