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Drones are smarter and fit in your bag, see page 36
MEET THE TEAM...
What gadget would improve your life? Dave Harfield Editor In Chief The GeoOrbital wheel looks like it can be handy when you’re challenged with a steep hill climb on your bike.
“We have the technology…” This issue we have the gadgets to make you better than before. While we can’t promise to rebuild you with bionic parts Steve Austen-style, we can at least help you keep all those New Year resolutions you hastily made at the stroke of midnight (or hungover the morning after). From the best fitness trackers to help you get in shape to apps to help you master a new language, turn to page 17 to find out how we can make you faster, better, stronger. You may want to be quick about it, though, as the machines are advancing faster than you can say ‘Moore’s Law’.’The DJI Mavic Pro is leading the pack of a new generation of drones that can fly themselves, covering a greater distance at breakneck speeds, and even shoot 4K video. What’s more, they are small enough to slip into
your backpack. Find out how we got on piloting these high-tech high fliers from page 36. If you’re afraid you haven’t got the requiste funds for a Million-Dollar-Man makeover needed to fight off the increasingly intelligent machines, turn to page 28. As well as revealing cost-saving kit like a cross-trainer that’s so good you can cancel your gym membership, we also weigh up how much all those music and movie streaming subscriptions really cost you. Alternatively, you can win £615 worth of hot new tech in our massive giveaway. This includes not one, but two pairs of wireless headphones, a remote control robot (it’s OK, the droid’s on our side against the other machines, Arnie in Judgement Day-style), and more on page 14. Jack Parsons Editor
Drew Sleep Production Editor At the risk of sounding big-headed, I don’t need any. So just give me a PS4 Pro to kick back with.
Aiden Dalby Staff Writer An alarm clock that runs away from me so I have to get up in the morning would be a big help.
Stephen Williams Senior Art Editor A ‘Meet The Team’ comment generator so I don’t have to do it on deadline day every month.
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Has ‘Mixed Is A Kindle 006 Microsoft 010 Remarkable Reality’ In Its Sights You Can Draw On New HoloLens headsets will arrive later this year
This E Ink tablet offers a more paper-like experience
L16 Has A Wider Kickstarter 10: 008 The 012 Crowdfunded Lens But Longer Wait Kitchen The DSLR-killer has been delayed, but gets a specs boost
Cook up a Twitterstorm with these high-tech utensils
Vinyl Player 009 RokBlok 014 Win Hot Tech Rides Your Records
Start the year right and win £615 worth of great gear
This record player drives along your LP’s grooves
To 017 Tech A Look Inside Supercharge Yourself 060 Take The Google Home 50 ways to improve yourself and upgrade your everyday
028 Save £5,000 A Year These bargain buys will help you cut costs
The Next 036 Drones: Generation
Smarter, faster, and smaller, quadrocopters have evolved
048 Is Apple Out Of Touch? The new MacBook Pro risks being outstripped by fulltouchscreen laptops
What Makes The Pixel’s Camera So Good? Answer: Smart software and laser beams!
Your Day 056 Start With Style
Whether you prefer a healthy orange juice or a black coffee, Smeg has you covered
058 Push The Button
Can this new smart home button turn you on?
There’s surprisingly little inside the Amazon Echo rival
Sure You’re 062 Make Actually Getting 4K From Your PS4 Pro
PAGE DRONES: 036 THE NEXT GENERATION
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Tech We Love
The gadgets that are on our radar this month
Wireless Audio 068 Buyer’s Guide
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076 Meet The Robot Butlers How machines could soon be part of the family
A Clever Boy, 082 Who’s Then?
Smart tech to track and entertain your pet
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092 Make Any Photo 3D
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What ever 098 happened to… Google Glass
KICKASS KICKSTARTERS â€˘ NEAR-FUTURE TECH LATEST LAUNCHES
Vast app store The new heads-up displays will have access to 20,000 mixed reality apps as well as be able to view online VR content through Microsoftâ€™s Edge browser
Continued evolution While third-party partners are developing headsets, Microsoft is still working towards its dream of a completely wireless HoloLens. The company also recently filed a patent for eye-tracking technology, so you could select holograms just by looking at them
Mixed reality opens up exciting new possibilities for gaming...
VR upgrade Chinese manufacturer 3Glasses will also be developing a mixed reality headset. The company is best known for its Blubur S1 VR headset, which offers a 2K screen and stereo sound for around £300/$400
Mixing it up The headsets allow you to view so-called ‘mixed reality,’ rather than virtual or augmented reality. This means you can interact with 3D images superimposed onto real-life objects thanks to 11 ‘inside-out’ tracking sensors in the visor, which watches what you’re fingers do
MICROSOFT HAS ‘MIXED REALITY’ TECH IN ITS SIGHTS ETA JUN ’17
...As well as having all sorts of practical benefits
HoloLens was just the beginning. Microsoft has announced that several ‘mixed reality’ headsets are launching this year. Somewhere between virtual reality and augmented reality (think Pokémon Go), mixed reality is how the company describes visors that overlay 3D holograms on real life. These headsets will be a significant step forward in the field, being made by Acer, Asus, Dell, HP and Lenovo. The new headsets will allow users to use 20,000 mixed reality apps, drag 3D objects from Microsoft’s Edge browser and view them in their physical world, watch interactive WebVR content in Edge, as well as immerse themselves in 360-degree videos. Beyond this, details about the headsets were thin on the ground. Microsoft confirmed that it is working with Intel on Project Evo, a new generation of PCs that could work with the headsets. Project Evo PCs will also include ‘far-field speech communications’ so that you can ask Microsoft’s Siri/Alexa rival, Cortana,
a question from across the room; fingerprint and facial recognition for biometric login; and a 4K, HDR display with Wide Colour Gamut (WCG), plus more lifelike spatial audio, for an enhanced gaming experience. Despite offering a new dimension in desktop PCs, Microsoft said the computers would be ‘affordable’, so that the devices can take mixed reality mainstream. Launching the headsets at the Windows Hardware Engineering Community (WinHEC) in Shenzhen, China, Microsoft also confirmed it was fully committed to bringing mixed reality to the country as well. HoloLens has been submitted to the Chinese government for approval, following developer kits being launched in the US last February and Europe in September. China’s biggest virtual reality firm 3Glasses will also be producing a headset, while Windows 10 support will be added to its existing Blubur S1 VR headset in the next six months.
Size isn’t everything
Share with ease
Looks can be deceiving. It may have the compact size of a smartphone but its camera is as powerful as a DSLR. It can take 52-megapixel images and film up to 4K
The camera is Wi-Fi compatible so you can post images and videos to social media directly, as well as update the firmware over the air
Focal point It has a focal range of 28mm-150mm, 5x optical zoom and 16 lenses with an aperture of f/2.0. All of this without having to change lenses
For those who like to edit their images, the focal plane and depth of field can be altered after the photo is taken
Lense location The lenses have been carefully placed, some have kept at a certain distance from the grip so fingers do not get in the way when holding
THE LIGHT L16 HAS A WIDER LENS BUT LONGER WAIT ETA JUN’17 The Light L16 has long been hyped as a DSLR killer. It can shoot 52-megapixel photos and 4K video, but it has the portable shape of a smartphone and can connect to Wi-Fi. However, we all have to wait a little longer as its launch has been pulled back – again. Having sold out on preorder, the L16 was initially supposed to launch last summer, then it was pushed back to last autumn. Now Light say it will arrive in Q2 of this year, which means somewhere between April and June. But it’s not all bad news as the L16 has been given some significant upgrades. The aperture has been improved from
f/2.4 to f/2.0, meaning it will perform better in low-light conditions. The storage has also been doubled to 256GB. The L16 is able to offer DLSR-quality images in a more slender form because it doesn’t have just one big lens, but 16 smaller ones dotted across the device. These pictures are then stitched together to make one high-resolution image by a built-in processing engine. The L16 doesn’t come cheap at £1,340/$1,700, so it’s probably better for your bank balance that Light say it is currently not accepting new orders. But it has launched a beta test programme for professional photographers.
The Light L16 can take DSLR-quality pictures, like the above
ROKBLOK VINYL PLAYER RIDES YOUR RECORDS ETA SEP ’17
I’m lost… what’s a Rokblok? It’s a record player with a difference: basically it’s a speaker that sits on top of LPs and runs around the tracks like an remote-controlled car while the vinyl stays still. It looks pretty unconventional for a record player. How does it sound? Based on the demo video, not bad at all. The Rokblok can play music, or if you need something with more oomph audio-wise, it can connect to other speakers via Bluetooth. So it goes everywhere? That’s right – anywhere you can find a flat surface and a vinyl record, you can use the Rokblok. It’s battery life is also good for around four hours of music between charges.
And how exactly does it work? The creators of Rokblok haven’t gone into all that much detail about its inner mechanics but, presumably, there’s a stylus in there and some motors. The device’s casing is made from MDF and bamboo. Why bother buying this, rather than a traditional record player? If you value portability over audio clarity, perhaps. Or you don’t have the budget for a full-sized turntable. Or you just want a geeky toy to show off to your friends.
I’m in. How much is it? You can back the Kickstarter campaign and get a Rokblok for $59 (about £45) and up. Shipping of the device is expected to start this September. Kickstarter eh? Any chance of this actually ever being made? Rokblok’s makers say they’ve been working on this for over a year now, and they’ve partnered with an experienced manufacturer to make it happen. Anything else I should know? It works with both 45 rpm and 33 1/3 rpm records, is compatible with the Bluetooth 4.2 A2DP standard, which means it supports stereo sound streaming. It also weighs a reasonably light 90 grams (or 3.2 ounces).
REMARKABLE IS A KINDLE YOU CAN WRITE AND DRAW ON ETA AUG ’17
When it comes to writing, nothing is as good as an old-fashioned parchment and pen, right? A common problem with writing on tablets is that using a stylus on a glass screen just doesn’t have the same feel. The reMarkable is set to change this, however. Like the Kindle Paperwhite, this tablet uses an E Ink display, but not to make reading feel more natural, but writing and drawing. This so-called ‘paper tablet’ also has a much lower latency than normal E Ink, so that you can sketch away with less lag. The 10.3-inch screen is even textured so it feels more like a piece of faithful A4 paper.
However, where the reMarkable trumps paper is that you’ll never need to buy another sketchbook. The tablet has an 8GB memory, which works out at 100,000 pages. You can also share pages via email and import PDFs and EPUB files, which you can then doodle on. The E Ink screen also means the reMarkable’s battery life should last much longer, only drawing power when the stylus is used on it – the ‘ink’ itself doesn’t really use power. The reMarkable is available to preorder now for £305/$379 (including a stylus and cover), almost half of its eventual launch price of £577/$716.
HOW DOES E-INK WORK? The ink is made from microcapsules that are kept in between two electrodes. There are black and white ink pigments inside a clear liquid that are charged, white is positive and black negative. When a negative current is applied to the bottom of the layer, the black pigments move to the top and become visible on the screen. There are some displays which show colour, but the majority of E-ink screen just use black and white to display shades of grey.
MOST INNOVATIVE USES OF E-INK Carloudy
The first E-ink headsup display for you car displays directions, current speed as well as speed limits. It works by connecting to your smartphone. £205 | $260 | carloudy.com
FES Watch U
This device from Sony has a variety of watch faces both, digital and analogue, that can be customised. It’s only exclusive to the shores of Japan, but we hope that this makes it’s way over soon. £305 | $390 | sony.com
Kindle Paperwhite Manga Model
Another Japan-exclusive, this e-reader has a 300ppi display and eight times the memory of a standard Kindle as well as a killer battery. £110 | $140 | amazon.co.jp
perfectly balanced security When you want to test the internet to its limits, you need the best protection available. ESET Smart Security Premium gives you the best balance of speed and award-winning detection, from a top-rated security vendor. Find out more: www.eset.co.uk/essp
10 CROWDFUNDED KITCHEN
The super-sharp blade is made from 67 layers of steel and should be the only knife that you’ll need. It looks and feels like a super-premium product but it’s vastly cheaper than other brands. £100 | $120 | bulatkitchen.com
02Frankfurter Brett Basic
Every cook needs an organised worktop, and this board has holders for multiple containers to sort ingredients. It also has a stand for your tablet, so you can easily follow online recipes. £100 | $125 | frankfurter-brett.de
Imagine if you could cook a pizza in three minutes, and don’t even have to use an oven. Well, the Ironate works on your stove, gas burner, grill or even a campfire if you want to take it outside.
£125 | $160 | ironate.com
This one may sound a bit out there, but the Hive is literally a hive for growing mealworms in your kitchen. Mealworms are a great source of protein and vitamins, eaten all over the world. £510 | $650 | livinfarms.com
Designed to stop any messy oil splatter covering your hob while frying eggs, pancakes and more, the Frywall cover rests on the rim of the pan and is made from silicone so it doesn’t melt. £15 | $20 | frywall.com
06CHiP Cookie Oven
Get freshly-baked cookies in less than ten minutes without the mess. All you need to do is scan one of CHiP’s premade pods (some are even gluten free!) and the machine does the rest. £235 | $300 | chipcookieoven.com
Dry-aged steaks cost a lot and add some much-needed flavour that other methods can’t do, the SteakAger allows you to dry age your own steak and it fits in your fridge for easy storage. £195 | $250 | thesteakager.com
08Arctic Cold Brew Coffee
Put coffee grounds into a filter, add some water and brew it in your fridge for 12 hours and you’ll have enough cold brew coffee to last up to 12 cups – which is less acidic than normal coffee. £70 | $90 | icosabrewhouse.com
‘Print’ your pancakes by having the batter automatically poured onto the griddle. Designs can be downloaded from PancakeBot’s website and uploaded to the printer via an SD card. £235 | $300 | pancakebot.com
Grow vegetables from your kitchen cabinet in just about a month. All you need to do is plant the seeds into the soil pods, add water and the Vegidair takes care of the rest. £125 | $160 | vegidair.com
WIN HOT TECH NEVER LOSE YOUR KEYS
Tile Mate trackers easily attach, stick or tie to keys, luggage, backpacks and more so can always find the things you need with a tap of an app.
Tile Mate £23 | $25 | thetileapp.com
Didn’t get all the high-tech gear that you wanted for Christmas? If all you got in your stocking was underwear and a multi-pack of deodorant, we’re here to help. One lucky reader can take home all of this! That includes two pairs of headphones (one for jogging, another for jamming), five tracking devices, a wireless speaker and even a robot – what more do could you want? Not just any robot either. Rogue One may have helped Disney break box office records, but everyone still loves the insanely-cute BB-8 from Force Awakens (and who will likely return in Episode VIII later this year – we know, its neverending). The interactive BB-8 toy from Sphero is entirely autonomous and reacts to your voice. However, the droid has recently been upgraded with the Star Wars Force Band. This wearable allows you to remote control BB-8 with a wave of
CUT THE CORD
No headphone jack? No worries! House of Marley’s Rise BT over-ears are completely wireless, but still offer premium sound with 50mm drivers plus A2DP stereo streaming.
House of Marley Rise BT £100 | $100 | hmv.com
your hand. The Force Band also work with IFTTT, allowing you to use your Jedi-like powers on other smart devices in your home. This year is only going to see even more devices ditch the headphone jack, so we have a survival pack to get you through it. The House of Marley Rise BT wireless over-ears offer both style and substance, with vibrant eye-catching design and plush cushions, plus 50mm drivers, Bluetooth 4.0 with A2DP for stereo sound, and a ten-hour battery life. Sol Republic’s Relays Sport Wireless earphones are made for working out, but reject the idea that to gain you’ve got to feel pain. They are made with so-called FreeFlex Technology, so don’t have complicated twisting locks and hooks that irritate your ear over time. As well as being waterproof for use in all conditions, the high-fidelity in-ears
BECOME A JEDI
Win a BB-8 and Force Band, so you can remote control the interactive Star Wars droid with a wave of your wrist.
Special Edition Battle-Worn BB-8 With Force Band £180 | $150 | sphero.com
also offer noise-isolating tips and a special outdoor sound mode so you can still enjoy the high energy bass when running in the park. If you enjoy music loud and proud, the Jam Heavy Metal Wireless Speaker offers massive volume, clean treble, and deep, booming bass projecting from both sides, so you can fill up the room no matter where you put it. This is thanks to dual drivers and a dual passive bass radiator, its stereo sound is the most lifelike of any speaker in the Jam collection. Plus, the polished aluminium exterior looks awesome with any decor. To make sure you don’t lose any of these great gadgets, we also have five Tile Mate trackers. A new, extra slim version of Tile, the Mate attaches to all your belongings and allows you to track them on a map. It also has a customisable ringtone that you can blare to help find them.
Win hot tech worth £615
H WORTH £615 GET READY TO ROCK
If you enjoy roaring bass and screaming lyrics, the Jam Heavy Metal has a massive sound and enough battery life for 10 hours of face-melting guitar solos.
Jam Heavy Metal Speaker £120 | $120 | jamaudio.com
GO THE DISTANCE
If you’re a keen runner, Sol Republic’s Relay Sport Wireless earphones are waterproof, have added comfort for extended use and have an outdoor sound mode.
Sol Republic Relays Sport Wireless In-Ears £100 | $100 | hmv.com
QUESTION: BB-8 WILL RETURN THIS YEAR IN STAR WARS EPISODE VIII, BUT WHAT NUMBER DO THESE ROMAN NUMERALS REPRESENT?
A. 4 B. 8 C. 16
Enter today at www.gadgetdaily.xyz TERMS AND CONDITIONS The closing date for entries is 10 February 2017. Please be aware that answers must be submitted to the above website only. This competition is open to residents of the United Kingdom and Ireland only. Future Publishing has the right to substitute the prize for a similar item of equal or higher value. Employees of Future Publishing (including freelancers), their relatives or any agents are not eligible to enter. The editor’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. Prizes cannot be exchanged for cash. Full terms and conditions are available upon request. From time to time, Future Publishing or its agents may send you related material or special offers. If you do not want to receive this, please state it clearly on your competition entry.
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Tech To Supercharge your life
TECH TO SUPERCHARGE
YOUR LIFE Whether you’re resolved to cultivate a healthier work/ life balance, smash your best running time, or perfect a top-class steak, you’re more likely to succeed if you’ve armed yourself with some of the best new tech to hit the shelves. That’s why we’ve done the hard
work for you: gathering the gadgets, accessories and must-have items that you’ll need to supercharge your life in 2017, to make it your best year yet, or at least just get you out long enough to work off your Christmas belly.
Tech To Supercharge your life
GET FITTER UNDER ARMOUR SPEEDFORM GEMINI 2 RECORD EQUIPPED If you want to run free without a fitness band or smartphone tethered to you, but still like to know you’ve beaten your own personal record, try these unisex trainers. Each shoe contains a tracker to measure distance, speed and pace, which it will feed back to the MapMyRun app once you get home. Don’t worry about charging, Under Armour promises the built-in battery will last longer than the shoes. £130 | $100 | bit.ly/uashoe
X-BIONIC TWYCE RUNNING SHIRT This high-tech Swiss brand has created a shirt that uses your own hard-earned sweat to cool you down, rather than just getting rid of it. With a mixture of hydrophobic (water repellent) and hydrophilic (moisture absorbing) materials, it’ll enhance performance by ensuring that you are cooler when you’re working out, yet suitably insulated when you stop for a break. £120 | $150 | x-bionic.com
TANGRAM SMART ROPE This skipping rope is fitted with 23 LEDs, which cleverly displays key fitness data in the air, right in front of you, as you work out. Available in a range of different colours, the Smart Rope counts how many jumps that you’ve clocked up. Its makers, Tangram has planned for future updates that will display calories burned and interval training information too. $65 | $80 | tangramfactory.com
WITHINGS BODY CARDIO
This company has been making waves in fitness tech and has revolutionised boring old scales to bring you the Body Cardio. It is designed to give you a breakdown of the most important metrics, like your fat mass percentage, muscle mass, water, bone mass and, of course, your weight too. All your data is then sent via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to your smartphone. £150 | $180 | withings.com
This is a tracker that’s built for way more than just simply counting your steps on your way to work. Instead, it tracks all kinds of activities, from trail running to snowboarding – it’s ideal for those who prefer hitting the slopes rather than the gym. The TomTom Adventurer has a heart-rate sensor, accelerometer, music player, step counter, barometer, compass and GPS route tracking. £270 | $350 | tomtom.com
GARMIN 735XT Designed with serious triathletes in mind, this fitness watch is packing best-inclass for running, swimming and cycling tracking. It also boasts built-in GPS, heart-rate monitoring, a VO2 max estimate and comes with onboard notifications to keep you up-to-date with calls and messages while you’re working out. £360 | $450 | garmin.com
SOLO SMART GLASSES Solo has packed a tiny, smart display into a stylish pair of glasses to create the perfect cycling companion. The glasses allow serious cyclists to track their performance right in front of their eyes and combines this data with handy everyday features, such as turn-by-turn directions, voice commands and phone call capabilities. £295 | $375 | solos-wearables.com
JABRA ELITE SPORT If you want to keep tabs on your workouts without a tracker, these waterproof buds have built-in coaching, a heartrate monitor and rep counter with stats delivered directly into your ears. They adapt to your surroundings with a simple tap, so you’re alert running alongside roads and in the zone at the gym. £230 | $250 | jabra.com
ZEPP PLAY FOOTBALL Famous for its tennis and golf sensors, Zepp has launched Play Football to keep track of the beautiful game on the pitch and serve up stats when you’re done. Pop the device into your sock and it’ll track your distance, sprints and kicks, as well as displaying an overall summary on your smartphone. £100 | $125 | zepp.com
TRACK EVERY PART OF YOUR LIFE
Not just any old fitness tracker, the Whoop keeps tabs on a huge range of physiological markers, such as sleep, heart-rate variability and skin conductivity. Built with serious fitness lovers in mind, its aim is to prevent any injury, make sure you recover properly and ensure you always smash your personal best.
$395 | $500 | whoop.com
Listen to your heart Tracking your heart-rate can supercharge your workouts. It’ll make your stats more accurate and enable you to train in specific heart-rate zones, so whether you’re running or swimming, you’ll be more efficient.
LAZER GENESIS LIFEBEAM HELMET This smart helmet tracks how many calories you burn and your heart’s pulse while keeping you safe on the road. It’s simple to begin, just press a button on the back, a light flashes and you’re good to go. It syncs up to a range of popular tracking apps and more than 230 ANT+ enabled fitness devices. £200 | $250 | lazersport.com
Moving on from its popular Now tracker, Moov has launched a penny-sized gadget that claims to be one of the best ways to track your heartrate. Unlike chest straps and fitness watches, the Moov HR slips inside a sweatband or swimming band to keep tabs on your heart-rate from your forehead while you work out. £50 | $60 | moov.cc
Tech To Supercharge your life
SLEEP BETTER SPIRE Spire is a wearable that clips onto your clothes and senses your breathing rate, inhalation and exhalation times, as well as steps taken and calories burned. Keeping tabs on your breathing means it can deliver guided meditations and tips about how to calm down your breathing throughout the day via a dedicated app. £80 | $100 | spire.io
DOPPEL WRISTBAND This claims to calm you down, or give you a jolt of energy by delivering a rhythmic pulse to your wrist that mimics your heartbeat. Working with an app, the innovative system delivers a slow, calming rhythm if you want to chill out a bit, or it provides a fast and pulsating one if you want to be more energised. £125 | $180 | doppel.london
ZENCUBE Himalayan salt lamps are said to release negative ions into the air to improve physical, mental and emotional health. The ZenCube is a modern and more compact take on that tradition, delivering the benefits of enhanced mood and improved sleep that you can control via an app. £200 | $250 | thezencube.com
SENSE YOUR SLEEP
This very stylish sleep tracker knows when you wake up, as well as your heavy and light sleep cycles. But what makes Sense really smart is that it can monitor your environment, including temperature, humidity and air pollution, to tell you if it’s time to sleep and ensure you get the best night’s kip possible.
£150 | $190 | hello.is
Learn to breathe When you’re stressed or anxious, the one thing you have control over is your breath. Learning to slow it down and breathe deeply can have a hugely profound effect on your mood and stress levels.
KEEP YOUR MIND AT REST
If you don’t have time to read a book about meditation or take a course, Muse is for you. It’s a brain-sensing wearable headband that allows you to visualise how your mind reacts to things like meditation and relaxation strategies. Over time, it trains you to be calmer and more focused.
£200 | $250 | choosemuse.com
WAZOMBI SMART SHADES We all know you have a better start to the day if you’re gradually wake up with natural light rather than an alarm. Wazombi wants to make that process nicer by turning regular window blinds into smart ones with a simple device. It learns your weekly routines or you can set the blinds to open with an app. £65 | $85 | wazombi.com
THYNC Thync calms you down and gives your brain a direct boost of energy when it needs it. The triangular device claims to alter your thoughts using a process known as neurosignalling. It sends low levels of electrical energy to specific neural pathways and the way they work is then altered. It’s apparently just as effective as downing an espresso. £160 | $200 | thync.com
CAIR SENSOR This monitors the quality of the air in your home, alerting you via an app about any allergens, dust or other toxins that are in your close environment. Particularly helpful for those with asthma or allergies, it’s a great way of identifying what triggers certain respiratory or health issues – so you can get rid of them for good. £135 | $170 | cairsensors.com
BELLABEAT LEAF The Leaf can track activity levels and sleep, like many other tracker on the market, but places a lot of focus on managing stress levels. It does this by monitoring your breathing, alerting you to the telltale signs of stress and helping you deal with it through a series of breathing exercises and visualisations. £95 | $120 | bellabeat.com
CUT DOWN ON SCREEN TIME Looking at your smart device all day can damage your health…
Pick a time when you’ll switch your screen off – and actually stick to it. Set an alarm or ask your partner to hold you accountable if you find it too tricky.
02Ditch your phone
Stay connected by investing in a wearable or piece of smart jewellery that alerts you of notifications rather than constantly checking your phone.
03Make it easier
We default to screen time because it’s easy after a long day. Help your future self by laying out a book or your gym kit for when you get in.
04Download an app
If you must use your screen, try an app like f.lux that adapts its brightness depending on the time of day. This reduces eye strain and helps with sleep.
Tech To Supercharge your life
EAT HEALTHIER TERRAILLON NUTRITAB The Nutritab is a smart and modern take on classic weighing scales. Use it when you’re preparing food to keep an eye on your calorie intake, as well as proteins, carbohydrates, fats, fiber and sodium. You can track these levels over time via an app and use it to set goals and get tailored nutritional advice. £70 | $85 | terraillon.com
Practice kitchen mindfulness Taking the time to prepare your food, choose the ingredients and put thought into recipes can be calming. It makes you more likely to savour food and could even lead to healthier choices over time.
If you’re thinking of going on a smoothie kick, you can’t go wrong with this three horse power blender. It has a dedicated Green Smoothie function, so you can enjoy an extra thick blitz of raw fruit and vegetables. If you’d rather eat better, rather than healthier, The Boss can also whip up everything from hot soup to hummus. Sage By Heston Blumenthal The Boss Blender £400 | $495 | sageappliances.co.uk
SMARTYPANS These smart pans are fitted with weight and temperature sensors. When you select a recipe from within the app it knows what you’re doing and gives step-by-step, audio instructions in real time. They also send nutritional information about what you’re eating to other apps, like Fitbit, painting a clearer picture of your overall health. £165 | $210 | smartypans.io
TEFAL COOK4ME CONNECT If you’ve got a burning desire to learn to cook better food, but you really don’t know where to start and need a helping hand, then the Cook4Me will do just that. It’s a smart versatile cooker that hooks up to an companion app on your smartphone via Bluetooth, allowing you to send it recipes and serve up step-by-step instructions as you cook. £300 | $620 | tefal.co.uk
KITCHENAID ARTISAN COOK PROCESSOR 5KCF0103 If you want to start making your own healthy meals but you don’t have the time or energy to go actually through with it, then the Artisan Cook Processor might be your saviour. The device is able to take ingredients from preparation through to cooking them to perfection. At £630, it’s pretty pricey, but it’s also like having your own personal chef that cooks you livesaving food. £630 | $800 | kitchenaid.com
DE’LONGHI DINAMICA ECAM 350.35.W The Dinamica is an all-singing, all-dancing coffee machine with 13 different recipes that you can access using its LCD screen. If that worries you, fear not: it’s a easyto-understand firstthing-in-the-morning pre-caffeine fix. The best bit is the machine learns what you like and allows you to personalise recipes. £560 | $710 | delonghi.com
SMARTER FRIDGE CAM This wireless camera lives inside your fridge. It keeps a keen eye on what products you have stacked inside and keeps tabs on all of their expiry dates. However, it doesn’t just stop there: if there’s something in your fridge that is about to pass its expiry date then the Smarter Fridge Cam will notify you by sending a push notification to your phone in order to remind you to eat it and not let it go to waste. Depending on what food you have lying around inside your fridge it may suggest some neat recipes to you, too. £100 | $125 | smarter.am
LEARN MORE KINDLE VOYAGE With its 300 ppi display, tucking into a novel with the Kindle Voyage makes it feel like you’re reading a printed book – but with the convenience of a Kindle. Its PagePress tech means you don’t even need to lift a finger to turn the page anymore, and an adaptive front light bids farewell to dreaded eyestrain. £170 | $200 | amazon.com
Take your time Learning a new skill can feel daunting. The key is breaking it down into easy chunks and seeing it as a fun journey—not a sprint you have to win.
TECHNOLOGY WILL SAVE US GAMER KIT Technology Will Save Us creates a huge range of kits for kids and adults who want to learn the basics of building, tech and coding in a way that’s fun, hands-on and allows you to build something. Our favourite is the Gamer Kit, which gives you a simple console that you can make and then code games for. £70 | $100 | techwillsaveus.com
VERBARIUS CLOCK This very stylish-looking minimalistic clock tells you the time. That may sound pretty dull in this modern age, until you learn that it does it in every language you can imagine, from English and French to Russian and Eskimoan. It makes a great-looking addition to any room and it’s a novel way of learning a new language. £155 | $195 | artlebedev.com
OLLOCLIP IPHONE 7/7 PLUS LENSES
TINY1 ASTRONOMY CAMERA
If you’re interested in photography but don’t want to spend a fortune on kit, become an expert in iPhoneography with Olloclip’s high-end lenses instead, with a 2x optical zoom and ‘action camera’ field-of-view. If you don’t have the latest iPhone, fear no: there’s a huge range of lenses for older phones too.
Astronomy lovers, rejoice! You no longer have to invest in super-expensive equipment or learn about space photography to capture images of the stars. The Tiny1 is a small, smart astronomy camera with a powerful sensor and smart noise cancelling tech that lets you take great photos of the night sky in all environments.
£80 | $100 | olloclip.com
$355 | $450 | tinymos.com
GET CREATIVE If you want to flex your musical creativity muscles but don’t know where to begin, check out the Lightpad Block. It’s a pressure-responsive gadget that allows you to make music through a presses and other gestures. It’s part of a series of modules that you can also build up over time.
Roli Lightpad Block £170 | $180 | roli.com
Tech To Supercharge your life
WORK SMARTER ACER SPIN 7
HP SPECTRE PRO 13 G1
The Spin 7 is part of Acer’s convertible notebook range, which comes with a 360-degree hinge, so you can switch between four modes: tablet, display, tent and laptop. It’s 0.43 inches thick and weighs 2.6 pounds, making it ideal for your commute. It’s also covered in Gorilla Glass for extra durability and piece of mind. £1,000 | $1,230 | acer.com
The HP Spectre 13 laptop range is one of the thinnest on the market, but that doesn’t mean it compromises on performance. It has Bang & Olufsen audio built-in, up to nine hours of battery life and a full-HD IPS display, making it ideal for work and entertainment at home. £1,440 | $1,825 | store.hp.com
The Prynt Case makes regular old printers redundant and instead allows you to print instant photos from your phone wherever you are. All you have to do is plug your phone into the printer, hit print and you’ll have it in a matter of seconds. Ideal for fun holidays snaps as well as brainstorming at work. £110 | $140 | prynt.co
CHARGE GEAR ON THE GO
The Lifepack is the ultimate backpack for those who carry their tech gear around with them or work remotely. Its integrated Solarbank keeps gadgets charged up while you’re on the move and its Bluetooth speakers allow you to play music while you work. Its rainproof cover makes it perfect for enduring the elements.
£210 | $270 | solgaard.co
Make simple changes Streamlining your work gear in the name of productivity doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Pick a few things to upgrade. Even the tiniest tweak or new gadget can make a huge difference to your focus.
MORPHIE POWER CAPSULE You can forget about chargers for laptops and phones, what about when the smaller – and sometimes more important – devices need juice? This Power Capsule is designed to keep anything from headphones to fitness trackers and wearables protected and charged up while you’re on the move. £35 | $40 | mophie.com
FINALLY TAME YOUR INBOX THIS YEAR
01 Be more informal
LOGITECH MX MASTER With five programmable buttons and a programmable scroll wheel, this mouse is perfect for those who spend the majority of their day at their computer – or designers who needed added functionality. But what makes it truly shine is how comfortable it is. With a contoured shape and thumb rest, you can wave wrist pains farewell for good. £80 | $100 | logitech.com
NATIVE UNION ECLIPSE There’s no need to dead with all of those office cables cluttering up everywhere anymore. Native Union has launched the stylish Eclipse, which charges all of your tech in a way that’s as minimal and fussfree as possible. Your cables are stored inside it, just wind them round and then hit the device when you want it to pop up and start working its magic. £65 | $80 | nativeunion.co.uk
LIVESCRIBE 3 SMARTPEN PRO The latest Smartpen from Livescribe allows you to make digital notes from paper, which is ideal for those who work on computers but love the feeling of scribbling their ideas down first. It can also link snippets of audio to your written notes too, so its perfect for transcribing interviews or making notes during meetings. £160 | $200 | livescribe.com
SCULPT ERGONOMIC KEYBOARD Made specifically for Windows users, this ergonomic keyboard, mouse and number pad has been designed with comfort in mind. If you sit at a desk for long hours then it makes sense to take care of your body before you end up straining your wrists, back, eyes – or all three at once. £65 | $100 | microsoft.com
Unless you’re trying to make a good first impression, don’t waste time on polite sign-offs. It’s not necessary, especially with friends and colleagues you email regularly.
02 Stick to three Most emails don’t need to be much longer than three sentences. If you have to ramble on for longer or agonise about structure, pick up the phone instead.
03 Only check twice Schedule in two times a day to read and reply to emails. This will be hard if you constantly check it, but it’ll free up more time and cause less stress.
04 Get coffee first Don’t check your emails upon waking. You’ll waste precious productive time reading and responding to a lot of stuff that’s probably not that important.
05 Try Boomerang for Gmail This app takes control over when you send and receive emails. It’s like a personal assistant for your inbox, removing the stress from emailing once and for all.
Tech To Supercharge your life
Embrace play time As adults we often shun play in favour of being busy and serious. But research suggests switching off from responsibilities and having fun can help with problem solving skills, creativity and even help build better relationships.
PLAY HARDER EMTEC GEM BOX The GEM Box is a simple way to turn your TV into a gaming hub. By hooking it up to your TV, it’ll provide you with access to a huge library of titles from Google Play, as well as a bunch of high-end games from GameFly Streaming. £90 | $100 | emtec-gembox.com
Finally, a virtual reality headset that won’t destroy your bank balance. Playstation’s highly-anticipated VR accessory lets you immerse yourself in games like never before with a range of controller options, multiplayer and social features built-in and a huge range of awesome built-for-VR games already. £350 | $400 | playstation.com
AUDEZE SINE ON-EAR HEADPHONES The Sine headphones from Audeze combine planar magnetic drivers with an improved amplifier for the highest quality sound and bass. Designed by BMW’s Designworks, the headphones are made from lightweight, high-quality aluminium and fold up flat so they don’t break while you travel. £450 | $450 | audeze.com
START WARS BATTLE QUAD
LEGO TECHNIC BUCKET EXCAVATOR
Available in iconic designs these Star Wars-themed quadrocopters whizz around at speeds of over 35mph and you can enjoy dogfights with up to 24 players. As well as being used to steer ships, smart controllers understand the battle and alert you when enemy ships are weak. £230 | $230 | propelsw.com
Half the fun of playing with Lego is smashing up a painstakingly-crafted project and making something else from the rubble. But now you can also sort your bricks with Lego Technic’s largest ever set: a 3,900-piece excavator. It even has a motorised conveyor belt! £180 | $280 | lego.com
NERF N-STRIKE MEGA MASTODON BLASTER Declare yourself a foam superpower next time a Nerf battle breaks out in your office with this blaster. It has a rotating drum that is so big it comes with a shoulder strap. With a semi-auto trigger its easy to rain down 24 whistling darts on your enemies, at a range of up to 30 metres! £60 | $80 | nerf.com
GARMIN VIRB ULTRA 30 If you’re a fan of extreme sports and documenting your adventures, this HD action camera can record quality 4K/30fps footage while you’re on the move. It has three-axis image stabilisation smarts builtin, which means you’ll have a smooth and steady recording whether you’re snowboarding or trail running. £370 | $400 | garmin.com
The first 360Â° VR Action Cam in 4K #explorein360
Tech to save you money
75 £3A,3 YEAR
£150 A YEAR
TECH TO SAVE £5,000 A YEAR
These bargain buys could massively cut your costs If there’s one thing that weighs on our minds the most in our everyday lives, then it’s money (and our collective lack of it). From the many bills and subscriptions to memberships and maintenance that we pay, there’s always something or someone requiring us to dig deeper into our pockets and hope we pull out something more substantial than a handful of fluff and the occasional copper coin.
If you love your tech as us much as we do, that passion can be just as tough to maintain as you try and keep up with fresh updates and new models. However, if you’re willing to invest in the right kind of tech, it’s actually pretty easy to start cutting down on all those painful monthly direct debits and weekly outgoings. So, to help you start slimming your budget in 2017, we’ve targeted some of the
biggest and most expensive regular sources of monetary consumption and found tech investments that will help turn those money burns into manageable chunks. Need a way to keep fit without breaking the bank at the gym? We’ve got you covered. Want to enjoy restaurant quality meals without the expensive reservation? Keep on reading and Gadget will have you cutting corners like a pro in no time.
Gym membership savings
GET FIT WITHOUT BEING A Multi-function LCD display Clanging and banging iron at the gym can be an expensive hobby. The average gym membership costs between £300 and £360 a year (that’s roughly £25/£30 a month) – and that’s not even factoring in the cost of a year’s worth protein shakes and supplements. But don’t let all those fancy magazine adverts and YouTube videos fool you – you don’t need to be signed up to a local gym to hit your fitness goals for the year. Yet that doesn’t mean you have to head out and pound the pavement in the cold, either. All you need is a decent cross trainer to keep those calories burning at home. The Magnetic Cycle and Elliptical Trainer from V-Fit that we’ve picked out is a brilliant alternative to the gym. For a start, it’s going to cost you less than half a year’s gym membership and serve you well for years to come. It’s also a two-in-one piece of hardware, giving you both bike training and elliptical cardio sessions in one package. Considering how much space both a bike trainer and an elliptical machine would take up in your garage or spare room, condensing them both into one machine is economically sound for the both the wallet and your home. Position it near to your TV and you can even binge a boxset while you feel the burn.
This V-Fit model comes with a seven-function LCD screen, enabling you to track theoretical calorie burn, distance, hand pulse readings, scan, speed and time intervals
Compact design Since the product has been designed for the home and not a gym, it’s size has been slimmed down without skimping on any features or capabilities
Two-in-one design With a few easy moves, you can transform your new fitness purchase from an elliptical machine into a bike trainer. Two great bits of kit in one!
Eight levels of resistance Worried you might not get a challenge? Both the elliptical machine and bike options have eight levels of magnetic resistance to ensure you break a sweat
V-Fit MCCT1 Combination 2-In-1 Magnetic Cycle and Elliptical Trainer
Annual cost of gym membership
Price of cost-saving kit
£150 A YEAR
£150 | $190 | amazon.com
OR YOU COULD TRY… IQI Fitness Weight Training Bench Set Multi Gym
If you’re working out from home, having a weight training station is key. So this multi-function bit of kit enables you to work both your upper lower body.
Lonsdale Fitness Strike Bag
If you’re looking to increase your cardio and add a little boxing or MMA spice to your workouts, a punch or strike bag such as this will keep you fit and deadly all at once. £50 | $85 |
£65 | $80 | iqihub.com
TRX Suspension Training Kit
£120 | $130 | trxtraining.co.uk
£210 | $270 | prestige-direct.co.uk
This brilliant set of suspension straps are ideal for using your body’s weight to create a dynamic resistance training setup at home.
This lightweight, foldable treadmill combines up to 12kph of speed, three levels of elevation and built-in speakers for pumping out tunes from your smartphone.
Tech to save you money
CREATE THE We all love a trip to the cinema – the booming surround sound, all the latest trailers, that way your shoes always stick to a ground that’s slick with spilt soft drinks... But it’s an expensive hobby to maintain with tickets prices averaging around £10 for a single admission, making an annual cinema expenditure of £120 (based on one visit a month), that’s a tough thing to maintain on a budget. A YouGov poll conducted last year also revealed we spend, on average, an extra £8 on food and drink per trip, making a rough annual spend of £216. For two of you, that’s £432 – and over £600 if you take the kids, even with a family discount. The figure balloons if you live in the London area, with tickets around the £15 mark, which takes you to £180 per year or £276 with food. Basically, the cinema is way too expensive these days. So a decent 4K TV is an essential alternative – and this cutting-edge smart set from Samsung can offer a cinema-like experience from the comfort your living room, with a 40-inch display. It’s also futureproof for nex-gen films and games with HDR compatibility.
Samsung UE40KU6400 40-inch 4K Ultra HD Smart TV
Annual cost of family cinema trip
Price of money-saving gadget in UK
£150 A YEAR
£450 | $600 | samsung.com
ENJOY MOVIES AND MUSIC FOR LESS While the shops are still filled with Blu-rays, DVDs, CDs and vinyl, our listening and watching tastes have transformed significantly over the last decade. Convenient streaming services have taken our cinematic and musical libraries online, so considering a subscription to the likes of Netflix or Spotify could be a great cost-effective way to enjoy your hobby without tearing your bank balance asunder. The alternative choice that these services offer is great if you spend a lot of your hard-earned cash on Blu-rays or digital music downloads a month – sure, you might not own these libraries, but how often do you really rewatch all those films up on that shelf?
Spotify can be enjoyed for free, but it’s riddled with adverts making it near-impossible to use. Premium removes all these and enables you to listen offline, should your connection be broken. £10 per month | £120 a year $10 per month | $120 a year
Jay-Z’s Tidal serve costs twice as much as Spotify, but offers audio quality as high as 1,411kbps FLAC and an option that identified a song when played into a mic. £20 per month | £240 a year $20 per month | $240 a year
Amazon Instant Video
When bundled with the full Amazon Prime service, Instant Video is great value. You can stream and download plenty of big films and original shows. £6 per month | £80 a year with Prime $9 per month | $100 a year with Prime
This service’s premium package, which includes 4K playback, is an ideal way to enjoy both films and TV on your new 4K TV. £9 per month | £108 a year $12 per month | $144 a year
With a 30 million-strong song library, Apple Music is one of the most comprehensive streaming services out there for music and includes Beats 1 (a live, 24-hour music station) and the social media-esque Connect.
In terms of content, few services offer as much as the WWE Network. If you’re a pro wrestling fan, you’ll enjoy hundreds of hours of films, original exclusives, collections and live PPV broadcasts.
£10 per month | £120 a year $10 per month | $120 a year
£10 per month | £119 a year $10 per month | £200 a year
Coffee shop savings
MAKE QUALITY BREWS YOURSELF We all love a good coffee, be it a hot, frothy latte or a cool mocha frappuccino. Thing is, we’ve all been brainwashed into thinking that the only good coffee comes in a styrofoam cup with a Costa or Starbucks logo emblazoned on the side. We’re used to the convenience of it so much we’re craving them even when we’re not out and about. But here’s the rub – you can make cups of Joe at home that are just as tasty, and you can do it for a fraction of the price. Considering around £730 million was spent on coffee in the UK last year,
APPS TO SAVE YOU MONEY
it’s clear we’re hooked on the stuff. That’s a good 400 billion cups consumed in a given year, so why not invest in a home coffee maker that enables you to make gorgeous, freshly-ground coffee with the kind of flavourful twist you’d think was only available in a branded cup? It’s time to become the barista you never realised you were.
Krups Nespresso Prodigio Coffee Capsule Machine
GET YOUR GROCERIES CHEAP Ordering your shopping online can be convenient, but it’s not often cheap in the long run. Fill up your virtual basket with this app and it’ll find you the cheapest supermarket to check out with. mySupermarket Free | mysupermarket.com
£180 | $220 | nespresso.com
Easy-use capsules Nespresso is one of the biggest and most popular brands in the UK, so you can buy the easy to insert/ remove capsules from practically any supermarket
GET FLIGHTS ON A BUDGET Looking to track the cheapest flights to destinations around the world? Load up Skyscanner and book a seat on an airplane that won’t destroy your savings. Skyscanner Free | skyscanner.net
GAME ON FOR LESS
Apply some pressure
Gaming can be one expensive venture, especially if you want to play games when they’re new. This app will help you find the best online deals and offers for the latest videogame wonders.
It comes with a 19-bar high pressure pump for recreating coffee-shop quality in its many forms, be it espressos, cappuccinos and more
Bargain Bytes Free | rockspin.co.uk
PAY LESS FOR PETROL
Integrated milk frother
This GPS-enabled app is perfect for finding every petrol and diesel pump in your area and listing the most reasonably priced one of the lot. Ideal if you travel via car a lot.
Want to add that frothy milk touch to your professional cups of caffeine? Then the integrated Aeroccino milk frother will enable you to froth up some lactose and add a real barista touch
Whatgas Free | whatgas.com
SAVE ON BILLS Price of Annual cost of money-saving annual coffee - gadget in UK expenditure
£480 A YEAR
The Hive app (which works with multiple generations of the Hive sensor) enables you to track the amount of energy being consumed in your home and adjust features such as heating to keep your bills down. Hive Free | hivehome.com
Tech to save you money
THE ONLY YOU’LL EVER NEED We all love to eat out. The allure of heading out to a restaurant or pub to grab some food is often too hard to resist. Whether it’s out of convenience or the weight of your social schedule, we eat out on average a good 1.5 times a week, according to researcher OpenTable and spend up to £53 a meal. The question is, then, why spend all that money getting someone else to cook for you when you can sink a fraction of that cost into a gadget that will make almost any meal a doddle? Gadgets such as the Artisan Cook Processor from KitchenAid are a revolution. What looks like a fancy food mixer is a multi-function tool that whisks, dices, emulsifies and even cooks – all in the one machine. And while £750 might sound like a lot for a bit of kitchen tech, it’s long term savings will eclipse that in no time.
KitchenAid Artisan Cook Processor £760 | $940 | kitchenaid.com Annual cost of eating out
Price of money-saving gadget in UK
£3,375 A YEAR
USE PAVLOK TO GIVE UP SMOKING AND SAVE MONEY
Annual cost of stopping smoking
Price of money-saving - gadget in UK
£2,840 A YEAR
Habits can be destructive on your bank balance, but ones such as cigarettes and tobacco can take a terrible toll on your health, too. Cigarettes are big business across the world, and lighting up those death sticks can cost you up to £250 a month. That’s a good (or, more accurately, bad) £3,000 a year you’re blowing on tobacco. Thing is, the market is full of gizmos and programs calling themselves the answer to your addiction, but these things are often hard to maintain or keep up. You need something to be
with you 24/7, keeping you healthy and keeping you in pocket. That’s where the Pavlok comes in. This wearable can be programmed to identify certain tasks or lapses that damaging to your life, delivering a small electrical shock to jolt you away from indulging such a bad habit. It can be used for anything from work motivation to fitness improvement, but as an anti-smoking aid it’ll keep you keen, healthy and a lot richer.
£160 | $200 | pavlok.com
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IS IT CHEAPER TO BUY A HANDSET ON ITS OWN?
Opting into a monthly contract spread over 18 months or two years certainly appears to be cost effective, especially in the short term. The problem is, you often end up paying more than £100 more when paying via instalments than simply buying the phone outright. Of course, such an avenue presents a large investment in one instance, but it frees you of all the legal pitfalls that dog these regular tariffs. For instance, you don’t have to keep the handset if you like the look of another one – you can simply sell up and grab a new one.
Tech to save you money
BE A BUDGET-MINDED If all those big and small screen adaptations have done one thing, it’s reignite our love for books. From The Lord Of The Rings to Game Of Thrones, we’re delving deeper than ever before into many a thick-spined piece of source material. However, buying physical books is a bit like investing in a CD – it’s one of those antiquated forms of entertainment that’s clearly on the edge of being superseded yet hold a charming quality that’s hard to abandon completely. They’re also really
Price of Average cost money-saving spent on books - gadget in UK a year
£150 A YEAR
expensive – pop into your local brickand-mortar bookshop of choice and you can spend upwards of £20-£30 a time on a set of new tomes. That’s why e-readers and tablets continue to hold their popularity, offering a single portal to all your favourite books, magazines and comic books. A few taps and a new book is yours, and your ‘book’ never gets any heavier (or dog-eared) as you carry it around. Convenience aside, Kindle versions are often a couple of quid cheaper (the lack of physical printing and distribution having a big impact on that). Amazon often has plenty of flash sales where hundreds or titles sell for less than £1. Amazon also owns Comixology, which offers direct access to hundreds of comic book issues instantly.
Amazon Fire 7
£50 | $50 | amazon.com
REGULATE YOUR HOME WITH A There was a reason we covered the extremely-handy Hive app earlier, because it’s an integral part of one of the best smart home devices on the market – the Philips Hive. This intelligent thermometer is your one stop means for controlling one of the biggest cash black holes in your life – your home’s energy. Whether it’s unnecessary use of the boiler or carelessly leaving your heating on when you’re not at home, you’d be shocked to see just how different your bills look after a few months of actively tracking and cutting the unnecessary parts from your energy usage. The Hive 2, the latest version of this handy little box of tricks, can either be used as a means to regulate your heating alone, or keep a watchful eye on your heating and your water together. It uses sensors that track your outgoing energy usage and enables you to regulate how much you’re using remotely, via your smartphone or tablet (that’s where the free companion app comes in). Hive is also compatible
with IFTTT, meaning you can craft personalised app ‘recipes’ based around your heating. For example, say you have left work and you want the heating to come on when you’re a certain distance from your home, well with IFTTT you can program Hive to do just that. Hive is a fantastic system to have installed in any home. There are other systems out there, such as Nest and Tado, however British Gas as significantly stepped up its game in recent months with its service. It’ll help you have the hot water ready after a long day’s work and stave off that irritating habit of pipes freezing in the winter. And with a potential saving of around £300, that’s a pretty sound investment for the years to come.
Hive 2 Smart Thermostat £180 | $TBC | hivehome.com
Annual cost of year’s train travel
Price of money-saving - gadget in UK
£1,090 A YEAR
Daily commute Savings
Annual cost of year’s train travel
Whether you live in the same town or city as you workplace or commute in from further afield, there’s a good chance you either drive or rely on public transport. But with underground and regular railways costing more and more every month as services become increasingly delayed and disrupted, it feels like we’re getting the short end of the stick. Sounds like it’s time to change the rules… Rather than paying upwards of £100 or more a month (significantly more if you’re commuting into London from outside the city), why not invest some of that cash in a foldable bike instead? For a start, they’re incredibly easy to carry around or store under your desk, they’re lightweight and they’re often far faster than you first realise. Take the Vitesse D8 from Dahon. The 2016 model is certainly one of the firm’s lower-end models at under £500 (most models tend to circulate somewhere around the sub-£1,000 mark), and comes with a versatile eightspeed derailleur, a fall chainguard and a set of mudguards for when the weather gets a little too wet for comfort.
Dahon Vitesse D8 Equipped (2016) £410 | $425 | dahon.com
The bike comes with a onesize-fits-all seat, telescopic handlebars and foldable pedals, meaning you can fold the bike out and into its compact form in seconds
Plenty of speed choice The bike comes with a Shimano Altus eight-speed rear derailleur, enabling you to smoothly shift between gears and gain enough speed to keep up with other commuters on the road
Why not take your favourite board on wheels and turn it into an electrical wonder? The in-built motor generates speeds of up to 10mph, and is super light, making it ideal for inner-city commuting. £325 | $400
£1,090 A YEAR
Easy to set up
Since you’ll likely be carrying this one into work or storing at home when the day is done, you’ll be pleased to hear it weighs a paltry 11.2kg
Blink Lite Electric Skateboard
Price of money-saving gadget in UK
YOU COULD ALSO TRY…
Lattice forged hinge One of the big selling points of the Dahon Vitesse D8 is its special folding design that uses a lattice forged hinge. This enables the bike to fold out securely without rusting from exposure to the elements
Love your bike? Want to give it a Pokémon-style, over-the-top evolution? Well, you will need the clever gizmo that is the GeoOrbital. This a special motor that fits onto the rear of your bike and electrifies your pedalling. £650 | $800
This quirky little gadget sits on the dashboard of your car and tracks your mileage. It then works with a free app to gamify your stats, using fun rewards to help you reduce your travel time and fuel costs. £80 | $60
Kinematix Tune Running Sensor
Using a set of special insoles that read the power and impact of your strides, and a sensor clipped to the top of your running shoe, the Tune offers a brilliant way to track your stats while running to work. £170 | $210
Drones: THe next generation
G T X E THE N
N O I T A GENER are y e th d n a re e h is s e n ro A new wave of d t 4K o o h s n e v e d n a r lle a m s smarter, faster,
Drones: THe next generation
BIG THINGS COME IN SMALL PACKAGES DJI MAVIC PRO £1,100 | $1,000 | dji.com When you think of high-end drones, you probably think of a giant thing like the like the DJI Phantom 4. But DJI’s latest, the Mavic Pro, is as feature-packed as its big brother, but with its rotor arms folded in, it is no larger than a water bottle. This includes a camera on a three-axis gimbal that shoots 4K video at 30 frames per second and takes 12-megapixel stills; boasts a 27-minute flight time per charge with a range of 8 miles (13 kilometres); and comes with several self-flying modes. In fact, the Mavic Pro costs £200 less than the Phantom 4, but its top speed is twice as fast. The Mavic Pro is incredibly easy to fly, thanks to its bundled joystick controller, which attaches to your smartphone (changeable cables means it works with either iPhone or You don’t have to be a drone whizz to fly the Mavic Pro
Android) to display what the drone’s camera sees. Alternatively, if all you want to do is take a ‘dronie’ (yes, a drone selfie) you can also just fly the Mavic Pro using just your phone. Smart sensors, clever software and satellite global positioning help you dodge obstacles, either when you’re piloting the drone or its flying itself. However, we found the Mavic Pro wasn’t as deadly accurate as promised: when testing its return home feature, it landed about a foot away from the starting circle. Filming or taking a photo is easy as there are shortcut buttons on the shoulders of the controller. Depending on your photo credentials, you can shoot either JPEG or RAW files, while video can be streamed live to YouTube, Facebook or Periscope.
DJI Mavic pro
While the camera’s threeaxis gimbal produces sharp results, more sophisticated photographers may be annoyed that it’s non-detachable
039 Actual size
Compact controls The Mavic Pro’s Wi-Fi controller is fully featured, but the antennas and phone clamps also fold inwards for added portability
Fly for longer The Mavic Pro has a flight time of 27 minutes, that’s more than most rotary drones in the same price range
The Tapfly function If you want to focus on shooting film, the Tapfly feature allows you to go somewhere by tapping on your smartphone, the controls just alter the camera
Storage options There is a microSD card slot that supports up to 64GB. Videos are saved to your smartphone as well as the memory card
Dual sensors Two IMUs and compasses control essential measurements such as speed, acceleration and direction, so if one sensor fails there is always a backup
Drones: THe next generation Extras denied The Breeze does have a controller and headset, but it is currently only available in the US for $70, no UK release information has been given
Five flight modes Take complete control with the Pilot mode or let the drone do the work with the automated features such as Selfie or Orbit mode
SET-UP AND FLYING IS A BREEZE YUNEEC BREEZE 4K
Ultra HD camera The built-in camera has a 117-degree field of view and can record up to 4K at 30fps or take 13mp photos. These are saved onto its 16GB of memory
£350 | $400 | yuneec.com With the Breeze 4K, Yuneec is targeting the casual drone fan that maybe wants to spice up their photography or take some cool aerial videos. The device measures in at 19.5cm x 19.3cm x 6.5xm and weighs only 385 grams, thanks to its light plastic casing. It has five modes, each of which gives you different control over the drone, from having complete control to it following you by itself. This allows experienced pilots to able to use it as well as newcomers. There is a controller for the Breeze 4K, but it is currently unavailable in the UK, so our only option for piloting it was using a phone. Using a touchscreen to control the drone wasn’t ideal, as our thumbs had to be
This self-flying camera shoots 4K dronies
placed in the middle of the screen – this meant we couldn’t see from the drone’s perspective as our thumbs were getting in the way of the display. Getting the Breeze set up and in the air was no problem but once it got into the air it got more a bit complicated. On our first flight the controls for going forwards and backwards were inverted, and at one point the app crashed and the drone flew upwards on its own before returning and shutting itself off. Taking a photo is equally as clunky: you tap the camera icon on the screen, this then removes the controls for the drone and to take a photo you tap the screen. A dedicated capture button would have been preferred.
Yuneec Breeze 4k
DJI MAVIC PRO
YUNEEC BREEZE 4K
Controller is a joy(stick) to use
Good self-flying features
Having something with physical buttons and joysticks makes flying and filming smoother, and not having thumbs on the screen meant we could watch from the drone’s viewpoint.
The low price and autoflight functions make the Breeze a more beginner-friendly drone if you want to shoot video and images without having to pilot it.
Ideal for beginners
App is easy to use
Even though the Mavic Pro is packed with advanced features, actually taking off is simple and flying around is easy to pick up, even for beginner pilots.
The app is great in terms of setting up. Its user interface is also nice to look at, as its controls are laid out well with the important data being kept on the top bar.
Not suitable for big phones
Have to fly it with a phone
Attaching the phone to the Mavic Pro’s controller can be a bit of a pain if your phone has a large screen, plus you will need to remove any case you may have.
Controlling the drone using a smartphone wasn’t the smoothest of experiences as the virtual joysticks don’t feel precise and the controls were originally inverted without warning.
Basic build quality
We had some trouble transferring content from the microSD card to our computer, videos moved over fine but all of our photos were marked as corrupt.
The Breeze weighs around half as much as the Mavic Pro, thanks to its lightweight plastic build, however that comes with a caveat – it feels flimsy, like it would break if dropped.
It has all the features, better build quality and a great controller that makes flying it a whole lot more fun and intuitive.
YOU COULD ALSO TRY.... ZEROTECH DOBBY Even smaller than the Mavic Pro or Breeze 4K, with its rotor arms folded in, the Dobby is no bigger than a smartphone. Priced about the same as the Yuneec drone, Dobby’s specs aren’t quite as impressive: it’s camera only shoots 1080p HD and its battery only lasts five minutes. £300 | $400 | zerotech.com
Drones: THe next generation
EYE IN THE SKY Get a birds-eye view with these FPV drones that have dedicated immersive headsets
A CAMERACONNECTED FIXED-WING DRONE
AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHY HAS NEVER BEEN SO SIMPLE
Using fixed wings, the Parrot Disco pilots more like a aeroplane than a helicopter. To launch the drone, you start up the engine and throw it diagonally upwards and it will circle around high in the air until you take control. It’s 45 inches long with eight-inch propellers, and the wings can be detached to make it more portable. The Disco has a flight time of 45 minutes, which is double what most other drones in the same price range can deliver and it can reach speeds of up to 50mph. In the box you get a controller as well as a headset so you can go straight into first-person flying. With fixed-wing drones you will need wider areas for landing and they cannot hover but they’re easier to maintain than quadrocopters. The Disco’s camera films in full 1080p HD and streams to the phone in 720p but you cannot take photos mid-flight.
For those who want to film great footage, the Typhoon H has a 4K camera with 360-degree range of motion and two controllers, so one person can pilot the drone whilst another controls the camera, ensuring you get great footage. The drone comes with a large controller, the ST16 Ground Station, with a seven-inch touchscreen that displays live 720p footage from the drone. If you don’t have a second pilot with you, there are a number of autoflight modes so it can either follow you, circle you or go along a preset path leaving you with complete control of the camera. It has a fiverotor fail-safe so if for whatever reason one rotor was to fail it can still fly with the remaining five. While the Typhoon H is mostly aimed at semipro photographers, Yuneec also sell the SkyView FPV for it separately for around £230, which has a 720p five-inch display.
£1,150 | $1,300 | parrot.com
£1,000 | $1,000 | yuneec.com
Yuneec Typhoon H
THE (SLIGHTLY) CHEAPER ALTERNATIVE
YES, IT’S A PAPER AEROPLANE DRONE
The Ghost Drone 2.0’s main attraction is that offers 4K first-person viewing on the cheap, but it lacks any of the fancy autoflight functions. It does, however, have a couple of features to play around with, such as the touch-to-go mode where you tap a map on your smartphone and it will fly to that location. Unfortunately, the Ghost Drone doesn’t have the option of using a controller to fly, the only way to control the drone is via smartphone. The smartphone app allows you to use motion control to pilot the drone and tilt the phone in the direction you want it to go in. Motion controls are easier to use than using a joystick when you’re using a VR headset, as you don’t have to look at the controls. It comes with a toolkit complete with a portable bag, making it convenient to repair the drone or change parts on-site.
The PowerUp FPV isn’t the most robust or feature-filled drone available, but for a fraction of the price of other drones, this is a good budget option. Fold up a sheet of paper in the design you choose, attach the motor module and it’s ready to fly. It comes with a Google Cardboard-esque VR headset that you place your phone into and to pilot the PowerUp you tilt your head. The headset doesn’t come with a strap so you will have to hold it up to your head, mind. The frame of the motor module is made from carbon fibre so it can withstand a number of bumps. It can fly up to ten minutes before recharging which takes an hour and a half, meaning you’ll want an extra battery.
EHang Ghost Drone 2.0 VR £830 | $900 | ehang.com
£160 | $200 | poweruptoys.com
Drones: THe next generation
3 4 5
BEST ADD-ONS FOR YOUR DRONE 4. LEARN 1. CLEAN IT 2. PORTABLE 3. LAND YOUR DRONE TO LAND THE PROPER CASE FOR WAY TRAVELLING ANYWHERE PROPERLY Like with any camera, you need to keep the drone’s lens clean. Debris is bound to build up and the drone will eventually need a good clean. Like any job, you should do it properly or risk smudging or even damaging the camera.
This case is made from lightweight, yet sturdy, material to protect your drone and take it anywhere. It has plenty of compartments for accessories and these slots can be customised, making it perfect for drone fanatics
Flying a drone over water is risky but with this add-on for DJI’s Phantom 3 and 4, you can now land safely on water, rocks, or sand. DroneRafts only makes these for DJI’s Phantom models but it has plans to expand the range.
Made from heavy-duty fabric and a steel spring frame, this landing pad is collapsible and fits into a bag. Essentially, it’s for beginners who need to practice landing drones. When folded, it measures six inches in diameter.
£10 | $15 | snapperstuff. com
DroneGuard CS 300
£110 | $140 | dronerafts.com
£20 | $20 | flathatlabs.com
Camera Cleaning Kit
£90 | $130 | lowepro.com.
FlatHat 16-inch Drone Pad
5. PRACTICE FLYING AT HOME Sometimes you have the itch to fly but the weather just won’t cooperate, however with the SKEYE Nano you can fly freely around the house. It comes a manual that tells you how to do a couple of flips to impress your friends.
SKEYE Nano 2
£40 | $50 | trndlabs.com
Wireless Music System
Soundbar began with Yamaha Continuing to innovate and invent to this very day, the worldâ€˜s first object based audio enabled soundbar was a Yamaha. The YSP-5600 offers real surround sound from a single bar at the front of your room and included in Yamahaâ€˜s MusicCast multi-room system. MusicCast Controller App
For more info visit yamaha.com/musiccast
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Is Apple out of touch?
OUT OF TOUCH?
The new MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar risks being outstripped by full-touchscreen laptops When you’re the biggest tech company in the world, every announcement you make comes under huge scrutiny. At times it’s hard to see through the clickbait headlines and Twitter rants about Apple – hell, even Donald Trump waded into the conversation and promised to boycott the Cupertino firm. It’s been an interesting few months for Apple. The iPhone 7 launch was universally met with a groan (it’s a competent smartphone, but nothing to wow us) and now the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar can’t seem to garner any positive coverage. So is Apple out of touch? We’ve spent the last month playing with the new MacBook to see what all the fuss is about. It’s a controversial update, but you probably already knew that. Touch Bar is the signature feature, but Apple’s new input method has been labelled ‘a gimmick’. Then there’s the connectivity issues, or to put it bluntly, the lack of any port other than USB-C Thunderbolt 3. That’s right, no SDXC, no USB and no MagSafe. You’ll need dongles. Lots of them. And they will cost you money. But does that make Apple oblivious to the world? It’s a fine line, as we investigate here.
One thing you can always, always trust Apple with is design, and the 2016 version of the MacBook Pro showcases that particularly well. Made from a unibody all-aluminium casing, in either traditional silver or modern space grey, it is now thinner and lighter than ever before. Nothing to shout about really, but if you’ve ever looked longingly at a MacBook Air and craved its portability, that’s where we’re at with MacBook Pro now. Put them side-by-side and the Pro is actually smaller, which is a massive plus point. Apple has redesigned around the edges to make this possible; every little corner of space fully optimised. It makes it all the more incredible that there’s room for a Force Touch trackpad that is nearly 50 per cent bigger than the previous generation. It’s now so much easier to perform all the gestures that makes macOS so accessible, dragging files and folders, for example, is now infinitely better. The second-generation butterfly mechanism keyboard takes some getting used to, mainly because there is virtually no travel required from your hands, but it’s nothing to worry about. Each key is individually illuminated,
MacBook Pro with Touch Bar
From £1,750 | $1,800 apple.com
MacBook Pro with Touch Bar Thinner and lighter than before, yet faster and more powerful than ever. Apple’s MacBook Pro also introduces Touch Bar, a brand-new multi-touch input strip.
Is Apple out of touch?
Retina revamp Apple has enhanced the Macbook Pro’s Retina Display with brighter LED backlighting and 25 per cent more colour than standard RGB. The result is a greater range of greens and reds
Scan your prints For the first time, Touch ID comes to Mac. Now you have a quick, convenient and secure way to unlock your Mac, switch accounts and pay online
Hot touch Replacing the traditional function keys, Touch Bar brings a new way to interact with your Mac. It changes automatically, depending on which app you’re using and what you’re doing
USB-C connectivity Apple has ditched MagSafe, SDXC, USB and Thunderbolt 2, and replaced them all with either two or four USB-C/Thunderbolt 3. You’ll need adapters, plenty of them
APPLE’S BIGGEST CHALLENGERS
Microsoft Surface Pro 4
Lenovo Yoga 900
HP Spectre x360
Dell Inspiron 7000 2-in-1
The device that made the laptoptablet hybrid desirable. Now into its fourth generation, the Pro 4 features a larger screen, great accessories but entry-level specs mirror tablets rather than desktops.
The best Yoga hybrid to date is powered by an impressive Skylake processor and looks every bit the premium product. The 360-degree hinge display is the real talking point here.
A fully-featured Windows laptop with plenty of connectivity, the Spectre x360 once again marries premium looks with a comfortable keyboard and touchpad, great performance and excellent battery life.
When it comes to having a reliable portable workhorse, few products offer better value for money than this. You get a slim metal chassis, a speedy SSD and a backflipping touchscreen.
£750 | $900 | microsoft.com
£1,050 | $1,200 | lenovo.com
£1,000 | $1,200 |hp.com
£650 | $750 | dell.com
MacBook Pro with Touch Bar
WHAT MAKES THE TOUCH BAR TICK? It didn’t take long for our friends at iFixit to complete a teardown of the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. Apple is making upgrading a fairly painful task, and the latest Pro models continue that trend – iFixit gives the Touch Bar models a repairability rating of 1/10. That said, it is impressive – the bar is made from a OLED strip of glass, offering Retina display resolution and can display millions of colours. It’s powered underneath by a Broadcom touch controller chip, and runs a basic version of iOS. As it’s software
Smaller battery The battery in the Touch Bar model is actually a bit smaller than the function key version, which considering it has more to power, might be behind poor battery life reports
Expert upgrade Gaining access to the inner workings of the Touch Bar is virtually impossible unless you’re an iFixit whizz. Given the list of tools needed, it’s probably best not to do this at home
based, it’s easy for developers to update apps to be compatible with the Touch Bar. The Touch Bar can even be customised in many built-in and third-party apps, but perhaps the best customisation option is to rearrange your control strip. This is your chance to get function keys that you’ll actually use. You can keep vital controls like volume up and down, but also add screenshot, Do Not Disturb, Spotlight and Notification Centre shortcuts. Just head to Finder to View and then look for the brand-new Customise Touch Bar menu.
The brains A tiny Broadcom chip is the brains behind the Touch Bar, helping to power the Retina resolution display strip. It helps Touch Bar run brilliantly smoothly
which makes working in low-light conditions far too easy and natural. At the top of the keyboard you won’t find any function keys. The new interactive Touch Bar has completely killed off iconic keys like Esc and more. Instead this Retina-resolution strip of glass adapts to whatever apps you’re using. For instance, it can be used to slide through a colour palette in Keynote and more, oofer easy access to emojis when using iMessage, and even hang up on FaceTime calls. What’s more, in some apps you can even customise the Touch Bar for shortcuts to your preferred functions. It works instantly (for now anyway – we hope it doesn’t slow down like a Mac notoriously does with age) and adds a real freshness to the Mac lineup. Currently every built-in app is compatible with the Touch Bar, as are Apple’s pro-level apps like Final Cut and Logic Pro. It remains to be seen if third-party developers will embrace it, though big names like Adobe have already done so (see over the page for more examples). During the course of our testing, we found the Touch Bar made it easier to achieve both everyday tasks and complicated creative workflows. However, though we were impressed by the Touch Bar, there’s nothing revolutionary about it. If anything, it’s critics say that a thin strip of touch tech isn’t going far enough. So-called ‘hybrid laptops’ with physical keyboards and entirely interactive touchscreen displays have existed for a while now, proving extremely popular with Windows users. You only need to look at the love for Microsoft’s new Studio range to see why. Ultimately, that’s what consumers want right now. While it may make us feel old, there’s a whole generation growing up that only know touchscreen input, and can’t imagine it being any other way. You feel a bit like that when you’re using Touch Bar in the sense that you’ll keep trying to tap the screen after or during Touch Bar use. Touch Bar feels like a stopgap in a time when everyone seems desperate for a touchscreen Mac. But that seems very unlikely. Apple has always said it
“The Touch Bar adds a brandnew way of interfacing with your Mac”
Is Apple out of touch?
will keep MacOS and iOS as separate entities, and we can’t see that changing. Touchscreen devices may be hugely popular, but they can’t physically do some of the things a mouse, trackpad and keyboard can. Apple would need to totally redesign its Mac and its operating system, and that doesn’t seem feasible or like there’s much urge from tech giant to do that. On the other hand, Apple has no issues dragging Mac users kicking and screaming into its own vision of the future. First the floppy disk, then the optical drive, the headphone jack and now any, yes any, legacy connection port. The only port you’ll find here (there’s two on each side) is USB-C powered Thunderbolt 3. And that hasn’t gone done well. To use any existing device (be it a HDMI monitor, an external hard drive, an SD card reader) you’ll need to buy a dongle – and they don’t come cheap. There’s none in the box, so Apple is effectively forcing your hand and getting you to spend even more money. USB-C has many redeeming features, though. Each port supports charging, data transfer and video out (it can power one 5K display comfortably, or two 4K monitors). It’s about the third of the size of a standard USB port and it offers reversible plug orientation. No more excruciating wasted seconds trying to plug a peripheral in, flipping the input around the required five times. In short, it’s the future, but it’s a tough pill to swallow right now. The typical MacBook Pro user has a home setup that needs these legacy connectivity ports, and they need to use them right now without a mess of adapters. Currently that’s not possible. It’s hard not think that Apple is giving with one hand and taking with the other. You need to get the 15-inch model to get the real prolevel specifications now. Here, you’ll find 16GB of RAM, an Intel i7 processor and a graphics card boost. That all comes at a premium price, though, and if you max out the upgrades at purchase, you’re looking at an eye-watering £4,000 plus outlay. Apple isn’t alone in charging through the roof, though, just look at Microsoft’s price plan – and with a weak, Brexit-induced pound, life is already tough for gadget lovers in the UK. The 2016 MacBook isn’t the must-have, impulse upgrade many hoped for, but it is still one hell of proposition.
“USB-C has many redeeming features, though”
THE APP STORE ARMS RACE It’s all well and good having an amazing new touch input ship with the new MacBook Pro, but it’s pretty useless unless third-party apps are jumping on board. At the moment, and including Apple’s own apps, there are only around 40 apps in the Mac App Store that have been optimised for Touch Bar. They include some big hitters in Mac software, as the Essential Touch Bar apps boxout below proves, but that remains a pitifully small number. While Apple is notorious for only giving a handful of favoured developers easy access, third-party developers do have all
the SDK access they need to update their apps. Expect a big boost to the original number very soon, especially when you consider the dedicated following that popular Mac apps enjoy. It isn’t known exactly how many Windows 10 touchscreen apps there are available, but because Microsoft’s operating system is multi-device, it offers developers universal app compatibility, meaning their apps are automatically optimised for mobile, tablet and desktop. We don’t know how many exactly were built for laptops, but rest assured, it’s more than 40.
ESSENTIAL TOUCH BAR APPS
£25 | $30 | apple.com
Offering the power of Photoshop at a fraction of the price, Pixelmator gives keen image editors the ability to customise their Touch Bar controls to suit there own creative workflow.
£40 | $50 | algoriddim.com
djay Pro’s update enables you to scratch and slice a track, apply filters and effects in real-time, create loops, precisely cut cue points and even trigger audio samples.
£230 | $300 | apple.com
Shown off extensively during the unveiling itself, Final Cut has been redesigned to accommodate Touch Bar. Now you can tweak advanced editing controls and navigate your timeline with your finger.
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What makes the Pixel’s camera so good?
£600 | $650 google.com
Google Pixel The Pixel is Google’s first smartphone since the Nexus range. It sports a killer camera, a five-inch display, 4GB of RAM, a Snapdragon 821 processor and it runs Android 7.1.
On the outside, the hardware specifications for the Pixel’s camera aren’t overly impressive – in fact, they’re pretty average on paper. It’s not until you dig a little deeper into the mechanics of the camera where you can truly understand how impressive it is. The 12-megapixel sensor actually comes from Sony, and the IMX378 sensor is actually one Sony’s premier mobile offerings. What makes this particular sensor an impressive feat in engineering, is that the photosites – the areas that help manage data and light coming into the lens – are some of the biggest ever to be seen on a mobile device. The camera’s design is even more remarkable, with an attached DRAM chip on its back that helps process image data at lightning-quick speeds, crammed in next to a wide aperture f/2.0 lens that sponges up light like no other smartphone can do. Hardware management like this is unrivalled; Google’s Pixel has set a new benchmark.
Amazing hardware tech is one thing, but it accounts for nothing if you don’t have the software to match. Thankfully, the Pixel has both. At the core of Pixel’s stellar software is the HDR+ mode, which is capable of capturing several images in rapid sequence. At the same time, it manages to analyse each image’s attributes, apply a layer of tone-mapping to improve colours and then produce one optimised image from the shots. It’s that impressive that Google has implemented it as its default shooting mode on the Pixel. On the other side of the camera spectrum is Smart Burst which, again, uses Google’s sensing technology to full effect. Smart Burst can analyse up to ten images simultaneously at 30 frames per second. Pixel’s algorithms then look to reproduce the best images based on their colour balance, blur and tonal levels. It’s a smart system that consistently impresses.
What makes the Pixel’s camera so good?
WHAT MAKES THE PIXEL’S CAMERA SO GOOD? Upgrade your photography game with Pixel’s groundbreaking camera tech By and large, the Google Pixel is considered the world’s best smartphone. Mixing in high-specification hardware with the latest version of Android is always going to be a winning formula, but the Pixel’s killer feature is without doubt its rear-based camera. Like many of Google’s previous smartphones, its camera offering on the Pixel goes far beyond a simple point-and-click mechanism, instead there’s some complex algorithms in
place here that transform how both light is captured and how colours are reproduced in your photos. If the Pixel showcases anything, it is that its 12-megapixel offering goes beyond what was considered the benchmark for smartphones and it takes the concept even further. It uses a highly-tuned sensor system at its core, which works in tandem with other parts of the Pixel’s hardware. Where most
manufacturers choose to keep the camera system separate on their devices, Google has intertwined the Pixel’s with its other core functions. The end results are images that any budding photographer can be proud of, showing a rich colour palette that rivals many compact and DSLR cameras currently being sold today. Smartphone cameras are smarter than ever before, and the Google Pixel is at the forefront of that development.
DON’T JUST TAKE OUR WORD FOR IT...
DXO provides independent analysis of photo quality. Its scores (the higher the better) reflect the technical prowess of cameras and make for a gold standard to comparing devices
Google Pixel £600 | $650 | google.com
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge £600 | $550 | samsung.com
£570 | $500 | htc.com
DXO says the Pixel is the best phone camera it has ever tested, we have to agree.
A superb all-rounder, but a slightly watereddown colour palette.
A highly-tuned sensor that’s been tailor-made for low-light shooting.
£600 | $650 | apple.com
A lack of clarity in busy images hinders Apple’s latest device considerably.
Moto X StyleEdge
£360 | $630 | motorola.com
Autofocus is a unstable, causing unwanted blur.
Huawei P9 £350 | $485 | huawei.com
Poor flash support can leave certain images looking over-exposed.
Smeg CJF01 Citrus Juicer
START YOUR DAY WITH STYLE
No matter if you’re a morning person or night owl, Smeg’s new range will give you the boost needed to start your day Are you someone who thrives on a morning routine? Or perhaps you prefer being a busybody when the sun goes down? No matter how slow you are to start, Smeg’s new range will kickstart your day in the best way possible. The retro-styled CJF01 Citrus Juicer has been designed to squeeze both large and smaller fruits, with a reinforced motor on hand
GET YOUR ZEST FOR LIFE BACK
to help remove any traces of solids. For those of you who prefer a strong caffeine fix, the ECFO1 espresso machine boasts Thermoblock technology, allowing for users to switch between coffee and steam functions effortlessly. With Smeg’s new breakfast offerings, you know your day is going to off with style.
What it lacks in size, the CFJ01 makes up in power. This juicing juggernaut is equipped to deal with both large and small fruit, with a built-in motor doing a lot of the legwork for you. The juicing process starts as soon as pressure is put on the reamer, meaning the extraction process is quick and easy. Take a look under the hood and you’ll find a stainless steel strainer, which makes sure that pulp and any remaining peel is separated from your juice, and an anti-drip spout is on hand so you never waste a drop again.
The automated reamer at the top of the juicer works as soon as you put any pressure on it. It’s quick to evaluate the size of the fruit that you’re juicing and tune its motor to make sure it’s juicing at the right frequency
Smeg CJF01 Citrus Juicer £110 | $140 | smeg.com
SMARTEN UP YOUR MORNINGS Withings Aura
Aura’s smart sleep system can help make sure you get the perfect night’s sleep all the time. It sets the ideal lightning to help you drift off, while tracking your sleeping habits and timings all through its companion app.
Reinforced Tritan lid Not only is the Tritan lid reinforced with a thin metal lining for protection, it also doubles up as a container to collect rogue peel flakes. A quick twist removes the lid and it’s even dishwasher friendly
£150 | $190 | withings.com
Sage Smart Kettle
Wake up the right way by brewing up your drink to its perfect temperature. A panel of buttons lets you choose between different heating settings, and keeps it warm 20 minutes after brewing. £100 | $125 | sageappliances.co.uk
Get all the information on your day ahead without having to press a button thanks to Amazon’s own voice assistant. It’s easy to manage appointments, adjust your schedule and even create to-do lists using solely your voice. £150 | $180 | amazon.com
Never waste a drop The spout on the front of the juicer is the main control point for any liquids leaving it. It’s controlled by a single valve mechanism, which simply needs to be turned up to stop the flow and prevent dripping
Antocorrosive strainer Before making its way into your cup, the juice is first put through a rigorous straining process. The stainless steel, anti-corrosive strainer used here can help pick up peel, pips and any remaining signs of pith
Smeg ECF01 coffee maker
Thermoblock technology Built-in Thermoblock technology allows for users to seamlessly switch between coffee and steam functions, helping to craft the perfect cup of Joe without overcomplicating the process
Choice of filters The onboard filter holder offers three different filtering options. Users can choose to have a single, double shot, or even have the choice to use ground coffee and paper pods. The choice is completely up to you
CRAFT THE PERFECT COFFEE IN SECONDS
The Smeg ECF01 boasts a Fifties-style design, but is packed with modern tech to help you get the perfect cup of Joe every time. It’s equipped with a 1,350w pump, which is tailored for use on cappuccinos, lattes and espressos. The added power that the pump generates helps give that frothy finish many of us like on our mugs of coffee. Sizing your perfect cup is easy as well with the ECF01’s filter holder, which can deal with single or doubles shots and process coffee pods as well. Don’t be fooled by its bijou size, this is the machine every night owl needs.
£280 | $255 | smeg.com
Powerful pump action Despite its small size, the ECF01 benefits from a 1350w pump. For the end user, this is powerful enough to help build up that froth that sits at the top of your coffee, while also helping to correctly mix in additional milk and water
Keep it clean It’s imperative to keep your espresso machine in tip-top shape, so the de-calc system alarm used here is a big help. It’ll alert you to when it needs cleaning, and when hardwater areas need to be examined
TERRIFIC TWILIGHT TECH FOR NIGHT OWLS Sony MDR-1000X
Other people in your household may not need to be as awake as you are, so these noisecancellation headphones from Sony should do the trick. Dual-drivers help provide crisp sound reproduction. £330 | $400 | sony.com
WHAT SHOULD YOU DRINK TO START YOUR DAY RIGHT? Both coffee and orange juice are the breakfast beverages of choice for millions of people around the world, but which is better? While the caffeine fix in your coffee is perfect to set aside any signs of drowsiness and sugar levels can be kept to a minimum, regular use can permanently heighten blood pressure and bring on early signs of osteoporosis. Orange juice, however, is packed with natural sugars. It stimulates the brain through flavonoids, a group of plant chemicals where are linked to help improve mental health. These plant chemicals also improve blood flow throughout your brain and body. Juice is the way forward, so get squeezing.
Bolt is a smart lightbulb system that illuminates your room with a series of warm colour patterns. They can be interlinked into most smart speakers to help create a preset lighting show for nighttime viewing or listening. £40 | $50 | misfit.com
Perhaps the sole reason we recommend the iPad Pro for night owls, other than its functionality, is due to the onboard Night Mode. This tailors the display to help prevent damage caused by light rays when in low-light conditions. £550 | $500 | apple.com
Push the button £120 | $100 Logitech.com
Logitech Pop Home Switch Starter Pack The Starter Pack includes one Pop button and a Wi-Fi bridge. Additional Pop Add-On Home switches cost £35/$40 and can easily be added to the system.
PUSH THE BUTTON Physical buttons to control your smart tech are all the rage, but is it really easier than a tapping an app?
Tech makers seem to be convinced that control panel chic is the next big thing in interior design. Logitech follows in the footsteps of Amazon Dash, Philips Hue Tap and Flic to launch another internetconnected switch competing for the room on your walls. Intending to be the button to beat, the Logitech Pop Home Switch can be programmed to control not one, but three individual gadgets or so-called ‘recipes,’ which allow you to trigger a string of smart devices at once. For instance, with a single press of your Pop, you can close your blinds, dim the lights and start watching Netflix on your TV. While Logitech does assume you already have your home decked out in Internet Of Things doohickeys, it doesn’t tie you into one platform. Instead, the Pop plays well with a wide range of connected tech from
Sonos speakers to August smart locks with no preference over Philips Hue or LIFX, Belkin Wemo or Samsung Smart Things. Setting up the Pop with your various devices is also simple, once you’ve downloaded a companion app for your phone it will scan your home and tell you what gadgets it can control and which ones can be linked together. However, in there lies the rub. There was nothing we couldn’t do with the Pop that we
couldn’t do with an app on our phone. While the Logitech Pop app does a great job of amalgamating all of our smart devices in one place, this was no different to the built-in Home app on iOS, while the recipes concept has infinite more options using IFTTT. Ultimately, it’s just easier to whip your phone out of your pocket than walk over to a wall and press a button (hence, why we bought internet-connected lights in the first place). That is, of course, if you live there. If you have children or regular visitors, the button is much simpler than having to give them your Wi-Fi password or asking them to download an app just to turn your bathroom lights on.
Push the button
The power of three
Cute as a button
Each button can be assigned three jobs, either individual gadgets or recipes. Press once for one, twice for option, and pressand-hold for your third option
The switch’s silicon coating comes in a range of four colours, including white and grey as well as more playful red and teal shades
The Pop button itself is both batterypowered and connects to the bridge via Bluetooth, so you can stick it anywhere using self-adhesive pads
The Pop bridge connects the Bluetooth buttons to your home network so they can interact with all of Wi-Fienabled tech. It plugs directly into your main sockets.
LOGITECH POP VS FLIC As we mentioned, there are lots of smart buttons out there now, but the one Logitech’s Pop Home Switch most resembles is former crowdfunding darling Flic. They both work the same way, connecting with your phone to set triggers and both only work with up to three devices. They are both compatible with the same devices and platforms. Flic also works with Zapier’s online automation tool for added control over web services. This would seemingly give Flic the advantage, except the brand been going since 2014 and
the Pop is brand new. Who’s to say how many more partnerships Logitech could form with other manufacturers in two years if the Pop Home Switch proves popular? However, Flic is smaller than the Pop and doubles as a wearable, so you can use one to control Spotify and Runkeeper when jogging. Flic is also slightly cheaper as it doesn’t require a Wi-Fi bridge, so is priced more along the lines of the Pop AddOns, cost $34 for one or $100 for a multi-pack of buttons. For more information on Flic, see flic.io.
Take a look inside the Google Home
£105 | $130 google.com
Google Home This is the latest device to help you manage your life, this time from Google. It’s equipped with Assistant, has voice control and works in tandem with smart home products.
TAKE A LOOK THE GOOGLE HOME There is surprisingly little inside the Amazon Echo rival
The range of smart home assistants available today is expanding at an alarming rate. While the Amazon Echo is by and large considered the pinnacle of the field so far, it hasn’t taken Google long to try its luck in this tricky market. Unfortunately, the Google Home is currently only available in the US, but this smart speaker can control a wide range of smart home products. It works with everything from
lightbulbs, boilers and even drones! So no matter the smart product you own, Home can act as a controller for it. Controlling Home is all done through voice commands, talking to the rather generically named Google Assistant. Like Amazon’s Alexa, the Assistant lives to fulfil your commands. Want to create a to-do list? Home can do that. How about perform a web search, or
maybe send a text message? Home has got you covered. This got us curious about what sort of tech-wizardry is packed into the gadget that, to all intents and purposes, looks no more complicated than an air freshener. With the aid of our friends over at iFixit.com, we’ve taken out our screwdrivers and dug into the innards of the Home to see what really gets this piece of kit ticking.
Smart home connection Can you hear me? Two InvenSense microphones are at the hub for all voice control in Google Home. While they’re great for picking up your voice, they pale in comparison to the seven microphones inside the Amazon Echo
Finding a universal microcontroller that will work with all manner of smart home products is hard, but the Avatar 88W is capable of amplifying the signal between products and creating a wireless, stable bridge
Make it your own The Google Home comes with a magnetically-attached, removable base, which can be swapped out for any coloured variant. It’s a stark contract from the Echo’s paltry two-colour offerings
A capacitor conundrum The layout of individual capacitors helps Home recognise where your finger is touching it. Different capacitors work with different levels of touch, which then launch the feature it thinks you’re trying to load
Minimise vibration feedback A rubberised o-ring is placed around the circumference of Home’s speaker system. The material is used to absorb audio feedback and prevent vibrations from damaging the chips within
Amplify your audio
To help Home maximise its virtual Assistant, an audio amplifier has been introduced. This helps Assistant provide you with verbal feedback without distortion and crackling getting in the way
THE IS THE CHROMECAST’S COUSIN One of the most surprising aspects of Google Home is that its CPU, flash and RAM chips all previously made an appearance in last year’s Chromecast. At the heart of this is the ARM Cortex-A7 processor, which similarly to the Chromecast, is the hub of all streaming activity to and from Home. Similarly, a single
Marvel Avastar chip is powerful enough to contain all necessary WLAN, Bluetooth and NFC connectivity that’s the cornerstone of Home’s feature set. Due to the success levels of the Chromecast, and the small size these products share, it’s definitely a case of if it’s not broke, then why fix it?
Are you actually getting 4K from your PS4 Pro?
Upgradable hard drive
ARE YOU ACTUALLY GETTING 4K FROM YOUR PS4 PRO? Getting the best graphics is harder than just plug-and-play
Gone are the days where you could buy a console, plug it in and start playing. Now with consoles like the PlayStation 4 Pro, you have to get the right resolution TV, have it connected up properly and wait for all of the software to download to get the most out of it. To make sure you’re getting the most out of your 4K and HDR console, we’re here to offer a few pointers. There are a number of things you have to check in the menus of your TV, your console and even on the games to ensure that you are getting the best experience when playing. A notable omission from the PS4 Pro is the lack of a 4K Blu-ray disk drive, this was odd Remember that what you get differs from considering Sony invented the format. The game to game. While the console can render console has the same disk drive as the standard games at 2160p (native 4K) it can also upscale PS4, which means that, even with software resolutions of some games, making them look updates, the console won’t be able to play far better than others. It’s the enhancements the 4K disks. There are ways of watching offered by developers, such as improved frame4K films through the console via rates, textures and HDR, that make the games streaming content through more visually impressive. When you plug everything services such as Netflix and in for the first time, even if you follow the instructions YouTube, though. given by the manual, the set-up process will differ depending on what TV you have, but our tips will help.
DOES IT PLAY 4K BLU-RAYS?
The console comes with a 1 terabyte (TB) hard drive, but if you need some more space it can be removed and replaced with a 2TB hard drive, as long as it’s no thicker than 9.5mm
Playstation 4 Pro
PS4 Pro-enhanced Even if you do not have a 4K TV the Pro offers enhancements to make games outputting at 1080p look better, such as improved frame-rates and textures
MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A 4K TV
DOES THE PRO IMPROVE PSVR?
As the PS4 pro packs a bigger punch than the regular PS4 console, the PS4 Pro does make slight improvements to PlayStation’s VR experience. It won’t upscale VR visuals to 4K or support HDR, as the screens aren’t capable of displaying it, but there are improvements to textures and frame-rates thanks to the Pro’s improved processing power. It’s up to the games’ developers how this power is allocated and implemented, and they have to release a patch for the games in order for them to run smoother. You can check if a game has been enhanced by selecting a game, pressing Options and selecting Update History.
£2,000 | $2,500 | Philps.com
This impressive TV uses coloured LEDS to project light behind the device, creating an ambient effect that’s great for adding to game’s atmosphere. It has four HDMI ports, two of which use 4K.
£490 | $610 | samsung.com
Thanks to the curved nature of this screen, it feels like you are surrounded by the picture and allows you to get more immersed in the game.
Making the switch If you already own a PS4 and want to upgrade, you can transfer all your data from your existing console’s hard drive to the Pro via an Ethernet cable
Sony Bravia KD43XD8088BU £800 | $1,000 | sony.com
With Sony manufacturing the PlayStation as well as TVs you would imagine that it would know how to get the best picture from its own console.
£350 | $400 playstation.com
PlayStation 4 Pro
Improved controllers The PS4 Pro comes with the the Dualshock 4, which has the iconic buttons in addition to an improved touchpad with light bar, which is used differently for each game
This more-powerful PS4 is capable of displaying games and video in 4K. Its GPU is twice as powerful, it has 1TB of storage and an extra 1GB of RAM than the previous PS4 models.
£400 | $495 | lg.com
Sound is just as important as picture, and LG has six audio modes and the TV’s 20W two-channel speakers can function as virtual seven-channel speakers for well-rounded audio.
Are you actually getting 4K from your PS4 Pro?
PS4 PRO TIPS We have answers to the most common 4K problems
HOW MANY PS4 PROENHANCED GAMES ARE THERE? New games that have been enhanced for the PS4 Pro will say so on their boxes. Games currently on the console can be updated with enhancements, using software updates, so potentially every game available for the PS4 could utilise the tech. Sony has showcased a few upcoming PlayStation-exclusive titles, such as Horizon Zero Dawn and Days Gone, that will utilise the PS4 Pro to its full potential, delivering on fantastical 4K vistas and awe-inspiring HDR lighting effects. Older games with PS4 Pro effects patched in will not be as impressive, but the difference is significant between its ‘vanilla’ and supercharged versions. On the topic on developers charging for patching older PS4 games with Pro features, Sony has said that, “While nothing specifically prevents publishers and developers from this, we don’t anticipate it at this time.” Reportedly, all first-party games launched from 2017 onwards will use PS4 Pro enhancements, meaning it’s a significant investment for the future.
NUMBER OF AVAILABLE NEW PS4 GAMES WITH PRO FEATURES AT LAUNCH
CAN YOU ONLY GET 2K?
The HDMI port you have the console connected to might not be 4K-compatible, most TVs only have one or two ports that are actually enabled for 4K. Check your manual and find out which inputs allow 4K. Make sure you use a high-speed HDMI cable – one comes packaged with the PS4 Pro.
HOW DO YOU GET HDR ON GAMES? On your PS4’s settings set HDR to automatic, when you boot up a game on the PS4 that has HDR features, such as The Last Of Us, there will be a prompt asking if you want to enable this. If a prompt doesn’t appear, go to the audio/visual setting and look for it here.
IS YOUR FIRMWARE UP TO DATE?
CAN’T FIND HDR IN THE OPTIONS?
Check that the software on the TV, console and the game is all up to date. Some TVs aren’t HDR-compatible out of the box, they have to be connected to your home’s Wi-Fi network and download an update before it can work. Make sure both the TV and console are connected to the internet and updated by going into their respective system menus.
TV manufacturers have each named HDR something different in their menus, for example Samsung calls it ‘HDMI UHD Color’ and LG coins it ‘HDMI Ultra HD Deep Color’. If you Google your TV model number, you should find out what it is called in the settings. Some TVs make you enable HDR for each HDMI output.
30 45 NUMBER OF AVAILABLE GAMES THAT SUPPORT PS4 FEATURES AS OF 12 JANUARY 2017
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Tech We Love
TECH WE LOVE ❤
The best gadgets on our radar this month
£120 | $130 tascam.com
Tascam Ministudio Personal US-32
MINISTUDIO TAKES YOUR PODCAST TO THE NEXT LEVEL
Podcasting is the new blogging. With shows like Serial showing how good the format can be, we all know someone who now broadcasts their obscure personal interests online. If you want to join them, this audio interface is a must-have. As well as having a big red ‘On Air’ button for added primetime swagger, it includes sound effect buttons and voice effect controls, as well as EQ, reverb and compression tuning.
FOR WHEN THERE’S NO MARGARINE FOR ERROR Who has got time to wait for butter to warm up when you’re making a sandwich? This titanium blade is the legendary hot knife that goes straight through butter and, amazingly, does it using nothing more than your own body heat thanks to its conductive design. SpreadThat Self-Heating Butter Knife £20 | $25 | firebox.com
INFRARED CAMERAS ARE SO HOT RIGHT NOW There is a growing trend for clip-on infrared cameras for phone as DIY lovers can use them to investigate blocked pipes and scan draughty windows for heat loss. But the XR also has a 550-metre range so you can use it outside to spot animals. Seek Thermal Compact XR £250 | $300 | thermal.com
SERVE UP A CUP OF JET FUEL JOE EACH MORNING While it might look like a jet engine, this is an espresso maker. The Aviatore Veloce Superjet 100 is made from aircraft-grade aluminium alloy, stainless steel and aluminium bronze and weighs a staggering 28 kilograms (honestly, its not a plane). It’s high pressure system can filter coffee grinds or tea leaves. Only a hundred have been made, and the price is only available upon request. In the name of journalism we did just that, and sadly the old adage ‘if you have to ask then you can’t afford it’, proved as true as ever…
£7,800 | $9,900 superveloce.co
Aviatore Veloce Superjet 100
TECH WE LOVE ❤
WATCH A MOVIE ANYWHERE TBC htc.com
HTC Evo 10
THE BEST PHONE YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF?
Measuring just two cubed inches, this is a projector for movie lovers on the move. Small but mighty, it is compatible with phones, computers, cameras and games consoles, and throws up to a three-metre display, rich in colour and with 50-lumen brightness. RIF6 Cube £250 | $295 | selfridges.com
When the HTC 10 launched, it looked good – but that was about it. Just having an allmetal body might have worked a few years ago, but now even the iPhone has one. But where the HTC 10 failed, the HTC 10 Evo might be a sleeper hit. This second attempt is bigger and better, with a mammoth 5.5-inch display that looks fantastic. It’s got substance as well as style, with waterproofing and a Gorilla Glass 5 screen, plus a 16MP camera. The downside is that it’s also ditched the headphone jack, but Android purists will be glad it still has a microSD slot. The deciding factor, however, will be if the Evo beats the OnePlus 3T on cast, which still hadn’t been confirmed when we went to press.
MAKING COURGETTI HAS NEVER BEEN SO SIMPLE Spiralisers get a bad rep. They are often dismissed as the preserve of people who like to tell you how ‘eating Paleo saved my life’ or the type who artfully arrange their meal for maximum Instagram love. Fortunately, the trend has somewhat peaked and you can now enjoy a spiralised courgette spaghetti as an alternative to carbcrammed pasta without looking like a faddish foodie. Kenwood’s kitchen gadget even takes the work out of preparing your meal, with a 100W motor so you don’t even have to manually turn the slicer.
£50 | $60 kenwood.com
Kenwood Electric Spiralizer
A BRIGHT IDEA FOR RETRO GAMERS If you ever found yourself siding with the ghosts in Pac-Man, you’ll love this spooky lamp that’s supposed to look like its floating. It has a colour-changing bulb so you can choose between Inky, Blinky, Pinky, Clyde with a simple tap of a remote. Pac-Man Ghost Lamp £30 | $35 | maplins.co.uk
NO STRINGS ON THESE WIRELESS EARBUDS
With phones sacking off the headphone jack, it’s time to embrace wireless earbuds. Motorola’s VerveOnes+ look and sound great, offering HD audio. Each earbud also has a built in microphone, so you can use them for taking calls and speaking to Siri or Google Assistant. Motorola Verve Ones+ £230 | $250 | verve.life
Wireless Speakers Buyer’s Guide
WIRELESS SPEAKERS Cutting the cord has never been easier It seems that every audio company on the planet known makes at least one wireless speaker. There are so many models out there that we could easily fill the whole magazine with them. So, with that many speakers available, how can you decide which one you should to get? The prices range from ridiculously cheap to absurdly expensive, and the designs go from bland to extravagant. An advantage that wireless speakers have over your typical home stereo is that the set-up process is often incredibly easy. Turn it on, use your device to ‘find’ the speaker, connect and you’re set. These speakers also have more uses
than just playing music, some can be linked to your TV to provide a home cinema experience and others have microphones built in so you can use them to answer phone calls. There was once an argument that Bluetooth is an inferior way of streaming music because quality was lost over wireless connections, but with ever-improving technology that’s no longer a valid argument. Devices can stream high-res audio, and wireless ranges can go up to hundreds of feet. We have tested some of the best speakers around (to the dismay of our colleagues) to see how they stack up and whether you should consider buying them.
Wireless Speakers Buyer’s Guide
THE ALL-IN-ONE SONIC SENSATION If you’re going to buy a speaker at a premium price you want it to have a wide selection of connection options. The Mu-So has just that, with AirPlay, Bluetooth/aptX, Spotify, Tidal and USB compatibility to name a few. The only notable omission is the ability to connect multiple devices via Bluetooth, there are cheaper speakers that can do it, so it feels odd that Mu-So can’t. This isn’t a deal breaker, but those wanting it to be at the cutting edge of party equipment may want to keep this in mind. One area it is uncontested in, however, is sound: it’s sublime.
Connection options The speaker has every connection you could need: Ethernet, USB, Bluetooth/aptX, AirPlay, Spotify Connect, optical input, UPnP and internet radio to only give a selection
You can use the free Naim app for iOS to control volume, room modes, crea activate multiroom and even adjust th
£895 | $1,500 | naimaudio.com
Dial it up While the dial looks like a simple volume controller at first, it is actually a touchscreen which lights up when turned on
High-quality build The cabinet is made from wood, covered in aluminium, that gives it a weighty, high-quality feel and helps dampen any distortion
Customise it The front panel can be removed and replaced with stylish coloured speaker grills that are sold separately for £50
High-End Wireless speakaers
NOT JUST GOOD LOOKS This is the definition of extravagant: a speaker with 22-carat, rose-goldplated finish. But the Phantom is not a case of style over substance – there are plenty of connection options and the sound matches the build quality. If gold isn’t your thing there are other cheaper colours available.
Devialet Gold Phantom
£2,190 | $2,990 | devialet.com
YES, IT LOOKS LIKE AN AFRO
S and Android ate playlists, he underlight
The design is sure to raise questions from your guests, but there is a logic to it. Being domed, it fills the room with great high and low sounds, even when the volume is cranked up. The Aerosphere supports DLNA, aptX Bluetooth, AirPlay as well as a variety of streaming services, via its app.
£845 | $1,050 | genevalab.com
THE DESKTOP SPEAKER OPTION These can work as computer speakers via USB, and through Eclipse’s app, you can change input options as well as volume settings. Inside the speaker is a single driver, which would cause concern in most other brands but Eclipse’s is as versatile as a whole set.
$800 | $1,000 | eclipse-td.com
A WELL-ROUNDED SPEAKER Looking more like a piece of furniture than a speaker, the A9 can stream music using Wi-Fi, DLNA or Bluetooth. If you’re not a fan of the colours then the cover and the legs can be changed to suit your home aesthetic. It also provides good overall sound quality.
Bang & Olufsen Beoplay A9 £1,700 | $2,700 | beoplay.com
IF YOU PREFER STYLE OVER SUBSTANCE
Super powered Six 75 watt digital amplifiers, one for each of the six customdesigned speaker drivers, deliver a total of 450 watts of power
For the price, the RS100 surprisingly doesn’t have Bluetooth, the only wireless streaming option is Wi-Fi. It has that cool, distinctive look you expect from a McIntosh product, but it lacks in sound quality. The bass if rich, but that can overwhelm the other aspects of the songs.
£1,000 | $1,250 | mcintoshlabs.com
Wireless Speakers Buyer’s Guide
Multi-use system These speakers can connect to your TV via optical input so you have both a 2.1 home cinema system and an bluetooth audio setup
HOME CINEMA OR MUSIC SYSTEM The E235 is an update to the US-exclusive Luna HD. The the speaker set uses Bluetooth 4.0 and has a wireless range of up to 300ft. The design may not be for everyone but the sound quality may turn the unbelievers as they provide great highs, lows and mids at all volume levels. The speakers come with a sleek controller that haves volume and power controls, this is nicer to use than the touch buttons on the side of the right-channel speaker.
£400 | $500 | edifier.com
Touch controls On the right satellite speaker are touch controls, covering all three buttons will mute the speaker and swiping them left or right will skip tracks
Other options If the subwoofer isn’t something you’re wanting, you can buy a package that comes with just the satellite speakers for £150
ZIPP IT GOOD
Similar to the Libratone One, the Zipp mini uses touch control. Unlike the Libratone One though, the zipp mini comes with an AC adaptor and the speakers create a 360-speaker sound. It gets its name from the cover that can be replaced by unzipping it.
A WI-FI-ONLY OPTION
MADE TO GET MESSY
Sonos Play 5
UE Boom 2
Libratone Zipp Mini
Stream music over Wi-Fi with services such as Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon and many more, including podcast services. If you decide to connect the Sonos Play 5 to the home’s internet it will receive updates giving it new features.
£150 | $200 | libratone.com
£430 | $500 | fugoo.com
£170 | $200 | ultimateears.com
THE ONLY MUSICAL PRESCRIPTION YOU NEED
GOOD OPTION FOR TRAVELLING
HIGH-RES AUDIO AT A MODEST PRICE
Kef Egg 2
Apple users will get a kick from this as the battery is charged using lightning cable, and the speaker can be used to charge devices. The speaker can get surprising loud but don’t expect the sound quality to stay there when it reaches that volume. $230 | $200 | beatsbydre.com
This features USB ports so you can charge your devices, even when music is playing. Up to three devices can connect via Bluetooth and with its app you can take turns playing songs. It also comes with a strap so you can wear it whilst walking. £250 | $300 | jbl.com
With its 360-desgree speakers the Boom can fill a room with sound. But if you want to take it outdoors it can withstand a couple of drops without breaking, and if it gets dirty for whatever reason, it’s no problem as it is hand-washable.
The suitably-named egg speaker can play highresolution audio using both wireless and wired connections. They work as TV or computer speakers due to the Micro USB and the optical input on the back of the master speaker. £350 | $500 | kef.com
High-quality audio streaming
Mid-Range Wireless speakaers
The speaker is aptX compatible, meaning you can stream CD-quality audio via Bluetooth. But if you want a wired connection there is a 3.5mm input
OLD SCHOOL COOL We are big fans of the classy, vintage look. The metallic casing feels suitably sturdy, however the overall build is let down by the plastic mesh on the front and back. The response to Bluetooth devices is very quick and the sound quality is great. While it may not look like its made for the outdoors, it has a handle that slides out and an impressive 24 hours of battery life.
Two audio profiles Built-in portability A small leather handle can slide out of the side of the speaker making it a more portable option
THE RUGGED SPEAKERS
£330 | $412 | dali-speakers.com
The Dali has an EQ button that switches between clear and warm. ‘Warm’ adds more bass to the sound and generally better when used in larger rooms
Attachable extras The rubber cover that goes around the side can be removed so the provided handle fasteners and hook can be attached
IS IT THE ONE?
The shape of the rubber outer ring does make it a bit awkward to stand due to its bumps, but it is easily removed. The circle with the Libratone logo emblazoned on it looks like it is there for decoration, but it’s actually a touch-sensitive button. Slide your finger around it to change the volume or press and hold to detect Bluetooth devices. The sound is good – not great for bass or for detail, but for its price it was better than expected.
£125 | $200 | libratone.com
Beoplay A2 Speakers on both sides of this device give 360-degree sound. The Beoplay A2 also boasts great portability with 24 hours of battery life and weighing just over a kilogram. £300 | $400 | beoplay.com
The Libratone app
UE Roll 2
The Roll 2 is waterproof for up to half an hour and it comes with a float if you want it in the pool. It comes with a bungee chord which you can use to hang it next to the shower. £80 | £100 | ultimateears.com
Touch controls The circle with bird on it doesn’t just look cool, it’s actually a touch panel that you use to change the volume or pair with smartphones
The speaker can be controlled via an app, here you can change the EQ settings but if you’re not interested in that, there’s really no need for it
Wireless Speakers Buyer’s Guide
BUDGET Versatile This speaker can last around five hours on a single charge, and can be recharged by Micro USB cable. It has a 30ft wireless range and also a built-in microphone
THE HOCKEY PUCK THE VANILLA OPTION Nothing about this really grabs you aesthetically or in terms of its features – it has a kickstand on the back, a dial on the top-right side and streams via Bluetooth or aux-in, and that’s about it. But if all you’re after is a speaker that sounds good, then this speaker is a very inoffensive option.
Philips Wireless Portable Speaker £80 | $80 | philips.com
For something of its size, the X100 can get louder then you would expect. This has its limitations, mind: it starts to distort when it gets to close to maximum volume, and it lacks good lows. The case is strong, so this is more of a speaker to take out and about.
£50 | $70 | logitech.com
Easy to hang The little rope that comes with the speaker makes it convenient to hang anywhere, weighing in at only 159g it won’t weigh anything down too much
A HIVE-FIDELITY WIRELESS SPEAKER The cool honeycomb-like design is consistent throughout the whole speaker from the buttons to the rubber feet. The hive has a passive bass radiator to produce a well-rounded sound. Its battery lasts 12 hours and the case is sturdy enough to survive a few drops.
Kitsound Hive 2
£60 | $75 | kitsound.co.uk
Built to last The Hive’s cool design comes in eight different colours, its made form sturdy plastic that Kitsound claims can be knocked a couple of times without breaking
MUVO-VER, OTHER BUDGET SPEAKERS It is incredibly similar to the Kitsound Hive 2, both aesthetically and feature-wise but the Muvo mini has a couple of extras to make it more worth your money. It is weatherresistant so you can keep it by the shower and it can stand a couple of splashes, and it has NFC connectivity.
Creative Muvo Mini £50 | $60 | creative.com
Receive calls The Hive has a built-in microphone so you can take phone calls from it and when you’re done it will go right back to playing the tunes
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Meet The Robot Butlers
ROBOT BUTLERS HOW MACHINES COULD SOON BE A PART OF THE FAMILY
Could a robot like Buddy soon find its way into your family photos?
ince the dawn of the 20th Century, humanity has dreamed of mechanical helpers. From the anxiety-prone Robot B-9 from Lost In Space and his warnings of, ‘Danger, Will Robinson!’ to the quintessential English butler-style mannerisms of C-3PO, the idea of having these contraptions there to do our bidding has been an enticing concept that was unfortunately out of reach – until now, at least. Advances in technology, such as voice and motion recognition, tactile sensors, Wi-Fi and cloud computing, and, in more advanced examples, AI and machine learning are giving rise to a new consumer-focussed breed of robots that might actually prove to be more than just trendy, but ultimately useless, pieces of tech. According to a report by market intelligence firm Tractica, annual shipments of consumer robots are set to rocket from 6.6 million units last year to 31.2 million units worldwide by 2020, with household robots forming the largest segment of the market. Rapid growth is also expected in personal assistants, toy and
educational robots, personal assistants, and family companions. Robot sellers Robotcentre Ltd., based in Hertfordshire, has seen an increase in consumer robot sales of between 10-15 per cent over the last three years. “This is mainly robot vacuums and lawnmowers,” says Philip English, the company’s business development manager. “Not in the consumer world, but corporations are looking at this robot butler technology.”
ON THE MARKET This year has already seen the launch of several new models of robot aimed at the domestic market. Launched in October, and Looking and sounding like something from a Pixar film, Anki’s Cozmo is a diminutive robot that’s small enough to fit into the palm of your hand. Aimed at young children, Cozmo connects to your smartphone via a dedicated app – which is where Cozmo’s brain, the code that makes him smart, resides. It also uses voice and facial recognition software to learn
who you are and respond to you personally. It comes with three ‘Power Cubes’ to play with and will challenge you to games, while his two LED ‘eyes’ are able to display a range of emotions. Cozmo’s app also features a remote control mode where you can see what the robot’s camera sees. Cozmo is also being released alongside a software development kit that will allow third-party developers to expand its software over the coming years. The four-foot-tall Japanese Pepper robot has a humanoid body and arms that can move in 17 directions. It draws its brainpower from connecting to IBM’s artificial intelligence platform, Watson, and Microsoft’s Azure cloud service and has already been trialled with some Japanese families, where it has read bedtime stories to kids and given adults language lessons. Due to be released in early 2017 is the Segway Robot: a collaboration between Segway Robotics, Intel and Xiaomi it looks something like a cut down Johnny Five from Short Circuit, complete with a head and
“Corporations are looking at this robot butler technology”
Meet The Robot Butlers
“There was a complete absence of anything for the consumer” face with two LED eyes along with movable arms. Able to transport you around at speeds of up to 11mph and ranges of ten miles per charge, it features Intel’s Real Sense VR300 depth camera, night vision and a laser projector so it can map its environment. It can also respond to voice commands and act as a smart hub for your connected devices. The developers of Jibo say it uses AI algorithms to learn your preferences and adapt how it serves you. Another in the ‘social robot’ class, Jibo’s two high-res cameras let it track faces and capture photos, and it can also acts as a personal assistant by giving you reminders and relaying messages. According to designer Blue Frog Robotics, Buddy the robot can fulfil multiple roles, from patrolling your home and offering recipe ideas in the kitchen. It also contains games the kids can play and can interface with smart home components. Its maker says it harnesses artificial intelligence and is designed to be modular so it can be expanded with new apps and physical components, with additional AI modules able to be added by connecting to the Cloud. The first preorder sales for Buddy
While most robots are intended for home use, the Segway Robot follows you out the door
were made earlier in 2016, so far accounting for $1.5 million in sales, Blue Frog says. “Buddy is the first autonomous robot truly designed as a friendly companion able to connect, protect and interact with each member of your family,” says Maud Verraes, marketing director at developer Blue Frog Robotics. He highlights the machine had been deliberately designed to make it easier for it to be accepted by families. “We spent several years studying human reaction to various designs to make sure what we introduced to the public would be received warmly. We also reviewed extensive research on what humans find cute and desirable and why. During the past year, we have seen our extensive research bear dividends.” Being priced around the $749 range (£611) mark, the aim was also to give it an affordable price point. “It had to be accessible because we want to democratise robots,” says Verraes.
RAPIDLY DEVELOPING INDUSTRY Noel Sharkey is arguably the country’s most well-known robotics expert thanks to his
TV appearances on Robot Wars and Techno Games, and he’s impressed by the industry’s recent advances. “Having starting in robotics a long time ago when you had to build them yourself and there was a complete absence of anything for the consumer,” he explains. “I am impressed by all of the rapid developments in the field. “The robot that most impresses me is the Atlas robot made by Boston Dynamics,” muses Sharkey “It is a two-legged humanoid robot that can walk in snow, can continue with tasks even when interrupted, can get back up when knocked down and can even open a door and leave the room. It might sound odd that I am impressed by door opening, but that has actually been an extremely difficult task for robots to perform.”
BOTS WITH BRAINS The term ‘artificial intelligence’ is often bandied about these days and it conjures up images of machines which can learn like humans do – conjuring up images of the villainous Skynet computer system from The Terminator series (and we all know how that ends). But the computer scientist and AI expert Sharkey says there is still a real misunderstanding around the concept. “I developed a number of ‘learning robots’ way back in the Nineties to avoid obstacles and work out how to navigate around areas,” he explains. “There is not a lot of danger in this kind of learning apart from tripping over the robots as they struggle around.
Buddy expresses a range of feelings
PHONE VS DRONE While robot butlers look great and the AI is impressive, do they really do anything better than your average phone?
“One of the problems with the idea of learning machines is that the term learning can really mislead people as to what is actually going on. It is actually a statistical technique that would be more accurately called statistical parameter estimation. But that would leave people a bit cold and would not make much impact in the media.”
INDUSTRY NEEDS They say necessity is often the mother of invention, and one area helping drive the development of robot tech is the health and care sector. With ageing populations and a constant squeeze on costs, the industry is prompting a surge in new tech designed to have the human touch. One example is the Robobear, an experimental Japanese nursing care robot that can lift patients from beds into wheelchairs and help them stand up. Another is the RoboCoach android which is in the process of being rolled out in five Singaporean care homes. It can encourage the elderly to do simple exercises, mimic human movements, respond to voice commands and vary the pace of activities if people are falling behind during class. A machine which owes at least some of its beginnings to the rising demands of the sector is the Care-O-Bot 4. It’s previous iteration, the Care-O-Bot 3, developed by British and European scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute For Manufacturing Engineering And Automation IPA in Stuttgart, has already been rolled out in selected care homes. The robot can recognise individual faces and interpret expressions, play music and entertainment, perform fetch and carry tasks, and call for help if a resident has a fall. But the upgraded Care-O-Bot 4 is aimed more at a commercial market and is intended to act basically as a robot servant.
Buddy and Jibo offer Skype-like video calling, displaying your loved ones in place of their own faces, so you can get a sense of what Grandma might look like in some cyborg future. What’s more, the robots can move around while you talk, meaning you can have your hands free whilst you walk.
What’s the point in owning a cuting-edge piece of if you can’t play games with it now and then? There are loads of games on the App Store, but can they learn and adapt? Anki Cozmo can – although, unlike your mobile, you probably wouldn’t want to take him on your daily commute.
While Segway’s robot doubles as a rideable hoverboard, these aren’t road legal in many places, including the entirety of the UK. Buddy can communicate with you when you’re out via an app, but at that point how is it any better than your existing phone?
Buddy and Care-O-Bot win this category hands down. Both promote themselves as providing home care for the elderly, monitoring their health and alerting relatives if they are injured, while also reminding grandparents to take their medication at set times.
While Apple is keen to make your iPhone a hub for your internetconnected devices, Buddy offers very similar functionality. But Buddy is like an Amazon Echo on wheels, so is always in earshot when you give voice commands to turn down the heating, whereas Siri has limited audio range.
It features a modular system design, meaning it can be equipped with one, two or no arms at all. One hand can even be replaced by a tray so it can serve drinks. It works by following preprogrammed responses to sensor inputs from speech, laser scanners and cameras, but Dr Ulrich Reiser, head of the Software engineering and system integration group at the Fraunhofer Institute, says there are plans to integrate artificial intelligence further down the line. “The most difficult part when designing a robot is to simultaneously tackle three
While you might think the robots’ AI gives them an advantage in managing your hectic schedule, the new Google Assistant (available for both iPhone and Android) also uses machine learning to adapt to your habits as well as easy access to your emails and contacts list to work as an efficient PA.
The Segway Robot also folds down into a conventional hoverboard
Meet The Robot Butlers
THESE ARE THE DROIDS YOU’RE LOOKING FOR
The kitchen helper
Bot about town
Gourmia Robotic Cooker
Need a hand cooking dinner? Then look no further. Okay, so it doesn’t walk, but this ten-in-one Gourmia GCR 1700 is, essentially, an artificial sous chef. Released this year, it can rustle up stir-frys, sautes, risottos, stews, soups, scrambled eggs, and more, all while you kick back and relax.
The family friend
The Segway Robot isn’t just a robot companion, it can also ferry you about. Its Intel RealSense camera is capable of facial recognition and it can navigate by itself or follow you around. The robot’s base is a Segway Mini Pro, providing you with a personal transportation device, too.
Buddy is billed as a companion robot for the whole family. It can patrol your home as a security guard, play with the children and connect you to a host of your home’s smart devices. It can also act as a personal assistant, letting you know about appointments, for example, and take the family snaps.
£120 | $150 | gourmia.com
TBC | robot.segway.com
£580 | $700 | bluefrogrobotics.com
The private photographer
Your child’s best friend
The live-in carer
Jibo’s stand-out feature is its two facetracking cameras. Jibo will automatically take all the candid shots you want at birthday party, so you can focus on enjoying the festivities. £600 | $750 | jibo.com
Cozmo is a learning robot aimed at children, using voice and picture recognition software to learn who you are. He comes with three ‘Smart Cubes’ and links to your smartphone. £145 | $180 | anki.com
Blue Frog Robotics Buddy
Whether it’s carrying your bags or assisting with the cleaning, the Care-O-Bot 4 is designed to be a helper around the house. It’s modular design means it can be adapted for different tasks, so its manufacturer has suggested it might also work in hospitals.
TBC | care-o-bot.de
“One should not always present resistance to new tech as totally irrational” aspects, he says. “The first is achieving the technical requirements, the second is to make an attractive product that achieves user acceptance, and the third is to design it for economic viability. With the fourth generation of Care-O-bot, we have considered all three items for the first time, and I believe, we have done it successfully.”
A SOCIAL SOUL The development of social robots opens up the question of whether or not these machines can be more than just a cool thing to have around the house and actually fulfil real human needs, either as a physical helper or an emotional companion. Also, at what point – if any – could they become an accepted part of society and the family unit? Hasbro’s Joy For All Pets range for example, are designed to mimic the actions and responses of real pets with the aim of providing companionship for the elderly. Buddy has been used to help children with Autism spectrum disorder: its developers claim it can improve social skills by playing
games, telling stories and doing small exercises with the children and benefits from having infinite patience and never get upset or tired. Paro, meanwhile, is an interactive therapeutic robot seal designed to stimulate patients with dementia. It features dual 32-bit processors, microphones and tactile sensors covering its fur and is programmed to respond to touch, cuddle people, remember faces, and learn actions that generate a favourable reaction. Mark Coeckelberg is professor of philosophy of media and technology at the University Of Vienna and an expert on the ethics of robotics. He thinks modern society will have no problem eventually accepting robots, but says science fiction has left us wary of machines that are ‘too’ smart. “When it comes to using and operating devices, digital natives won’t have a big problem to adapt, I think,” he opines. “If one buys the visions of social robotics that are out there today, for example Jibo, then these robots and smart devices will be accepted as part of the family. And we know that when there is a robot like this, people will easily anthropomorphise it and interact with it as if it was a pet or a human being.”
“But one should not always present resistance to new technologies as totally irrational,” Coeckelberg adds. “In health, for instance, we don’t want that human contact disappearing and we want to make sure that our children are raised in a way that enables them to interact and form relationships with other humans. These are valid concerns, they show the kind of things we value. New tech will only get widely accepted if they are perceived as supporting these values rather than undermining them.”
THE FUTURE BECKONS Rapid advances in technology, such as AI, machine learning and cloud computing, are opening up more and more possibilities for the future. “Technologies are mature and all developments in AI and voice recognition will help strengthen the ability of these robots,” Verraes says. “Tomorrow, companion robots will be part of our lives as the smartphone is one of them today – although we would never have imagined it at first.” “The [developments] are coming in small increments through toys, entertainment and domestic duties,” Sharkey adds. “I think that is the way that it will continue rather than through some massive leap. This way we will just get used to them. We will also get used to seeing them deliver goods to us and we will see them serving food in restaurants and mixing cocktails in bars. We won’t really notice them after a while and will just want to see the latest upgrades.”
Who’s a clever boy, then?
WHO’S A CLEVER BOY, THEN? Smart pet tech to track and entertain your furry friend
The inventor of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, is rightly proud of his creation. It has revolutionised modern life and made the world a smaller, more accessible place. But when he created it back in 1989, he didn’t imagine that it would be used to post so many pictures of kittens (although he did once share a photo of his dog). Millions upon millions of us own pets. There are approximately 73 million dogs in the US and 43 million in Western Europe alone. So our desire to match them with tech shouldn’t be so much of a surprise. Whether you’re swiping around on the Cute Or Not app, noting your canine’s exercise routes with Map My Dog Walk or even using Reptile Scan to keep a record of feedings and hatch dates, technology enhances the pleasure of our pets to no end. Over the next few pages, then, we’re going to take a look at the internet-connected gear that help keep you in touch with your pets, along with those that allow your dogs and cats to have more fun when they are out and about. We’re also going to turn our attention to the best pet monitors around – you’ll never feel guilty about leaving your furry pals alone again.
“Technology enhances the pleasure of our pets to no end”
USE GPS TO TRACK YOUR DOG
Though dogs are smart and like to stick by their best friends (you,that is), there can be times when they decide go for a heartstopping wander. Whistle’s GPS tracker fits to your canine’s collar, allowing you to use a mobile app to see exactly where your pal has pottered off to. By setting zones, you can receive alerts as soon as your dog leaves your back garden. The device also allows you to connect with others, so you can ask them for help. Even if your dog is safely inside, Whistle works its magic. It has a built-in health monitor which figures how much exercise and sleep it is getting, and you can also set goals. The app keeps you abreast of a pet’s vital health stats which should either reassure you or bring a problem to your attention. The only downside is that it is US-only. So if you live in the UK, you may want to consider the similar Trakz (trakz.io) instead – it is out this Spring for £80.
Whistle GPS Pet Tracker £81| $100 | whistle.com
GIVE THE RIGHT FOOD PORTIONS MAKE YOUR DOG GLOW
It’s fair to say that you’ll worry less about your dog’s safety in after-dark walks when you wrap this waterproof LED collar around its neck. Not only can the device shine a bright light for up to ten years of use, the collar’s low-power design means that it will take 100 hours or so to drink the battery juice dry, too.
Leuchtie LED Light Collar
£35 | $55 leuchtie.com
AUTOMATE GAMES OF FETCH
DISCOVER WHERE CATS GO
Pawtrack GPS Tracking
As much of a gift for you as your pet pooch, this gizmo not only launches miniature balls up to 30 feet away, but it encourages your canine companion to pop them back into the funnel so that it can shoot them out again. This is some great hands-off fun for you… and an exhausting game of fetch for them. £100 | $115 goifetch.com
If you’re a cat owner who allows their pet to explore outdoors, then you may wonder how far they travel. This tracker uses GPS to solve that little conundrum and it will hook into your Wi-Fi when it arrives home. You get 12 months tracking with each device, but bear in mind that means extra costs thereafter.
£150 | $200 pawtrack.com
Going away, even for a day, when you have a pet requires some forward planning. At the very least, you need to make sure they have enough food to fill their ravenous bellies – but not so much that they’ll become obese. This internetconnected feeder is a wizard when it comes to delivering perfect portions based on a pet’s age, weight and activity levels. The accompanying app lets you schedule mealtimes and keep an eye on what they are eating, and it will also allow you to analyse the food you’re giving your pet. Despite that, it may be good to have a backup plan. The Petnet SmartFeeder hit the headlines in July 2016 when a server problem left a host of pets hungry, although the issue has not surfaced since.
Petnet SmartFeeder £120 | $150 | petnet.io
Whos’a clever boy, then?
TRACK YOUR POOCH’S FITNESS LEVELS
Some activity trackers that are built into GPS devices will only figure when your pet is moving around or snoozing. PitPat, on the other hand, can tell the difference between a gentle stroll and a full-on pelt around a field. While it lacks a GPS tracker it incorporates a three-axis accelerometer, which feeds back data to a particularly smart app for iOS and Android. The coding is so clever, in fact, that it takes into account rapid variations in movements. So if your pooch darts around, stops for a brief moment before turning and runs around like a mad dog again, PitPat will interpret those movements as a game of fetch and notch it up as an activity. Should your dog be displaying a regular pattern of movement, it’ll realise it’s a walk and if it’s moving particularly fast, it will be classified as a run. The app will also recommend exercise routines based on you pooch’s particular breed.
PitPat Dog Activity Monitor
£40 | $50 | pitpatpet.com
NEVER CLEAN LITTER AGAIN
Cats are quite clean, but they don’t half leave a mess in the litter tray. Encourage them inside the Litter-Robot, though, and once they’ve done their business, the device will self-clean. It’s not the best-looking of devices, but it’ll keep some of the smellier parts of having a pet at bay.
Litter-Robot £385 | $450 | litter-robot.com
ENJOY A DOG’S LIFE
GoPro may have made a harness for dogs but, thankfully, the action cam supremo isn’t looking to encourage your pet to go bungie jumping or windsurfing. Instead, it hopes that you’ll pop a GoPro on your furry pal’s back or chest and enjoy a dogs-eye view of the world. Its build quality is robust, so it’ll withstand anything your pet puts it through, so let it go crazy and you can enjoy the fascinating results.
£35 | $40 | gopro.com
DON’T FORGET THE VET
Are you forgetting those cat vaccinations and key veterinary checks? Moggie’s lightweight smart collar not only keeps tabs on your cat’s health and activity, it works in conjunction with an app which makes sense of the data. Lasting for two weeks on a single charge, you’ll be alerted to potential problem while being kept abreast of key appointments.
TBC | moggie.me
A COOL GAMES CONSOLE FOR DOGS
Sure, CleverPet lacks blistering graphics and a button-strewn joypad but this gaming machine for dogs comes with its own rewards: lots of tasty treats. Fill it up with food and it works like a game of Simon, providing constant simulation while harnessing the power of positive reinforcement learning. Your pet will soon figure that the trio of sensitive touchpads can be the route to a full tummy and it will provide a host of new experiences and lots of tests of a pet’s memory. The accompanying app lets you get live updates and schedule your dog’s playtime while allowing you to track its progress.
£245 | $300 | clever.pet
LET CATS CATCH ROBO-MICE
Hexbugs sprung to life ten years ago, mimicking six-legged insects but it has since branched into making inexpensive renditions of four-legged rodents too. Moving randomly, nimbly moving around objects and able to get back on its feet when your cat nudges it over, it perfectly replicates a mouse and it should hopefully stop your cat bringing you a real-life ‘present’ from outside.
Hexbug Remote Control Mouse Cat Toy
£20 | $20 | hexbug.com
A GAME OF HIDE AND SEEK
It’s like one of those infamous ‘As Seen On Television’ products which tend to amaze the presenter, only in this case it will astound your cat as well. A riff on the game of cat and mouse, your feline will see a tail as it flits around under a nylon cover, leaving them to claw fruitlessly in the hope of trapping it beneath their paws. All in all, a pretty good distraction.
Cat’s Meow Undercover Mouse
£15 | $15 | jmldirect.com
COOL CATS TURN GEEK
Cats will fit into anything, as long as it’s comfortable – boxes, laps, bins, you name it they’ll sit in it, usually leaving claw marks in their wake. They also love the warmth of laptops, but while they won’t be able to look up entertaining cat videos on this cardboard computer, your pets will be able to enjoy the scratch pad keyboard and suitably fluffy toy mouse. You can also print screens onto paper and slide them into the ‘PC’ to mimic an actual working computer.
Cat Scratch Laptop
£25 | $25 | suck.uk.com
PLAY WITH PETS FROM ANYWHERE
Do you feel guilty feeling about leaving your pets home alone? While they may not be getting involved in scrapes of Kevin McCallister proportions, there’s always the worry that they’re moping around alone and bored. By remotely controlling this Wi-Fi-connected ball, using your phone, and allowing you to roll it around the floor, you can engage your cat or dog in a neat game of ball. It has a built-in camera and two-way audio so you can see and hear their reactions, and it is strong enough not to fall apart if your pet decides it looks like food. Who knows, it may even save your sofa from being torn apart, too.
£145 | $180 | startplaydate.com
FIND OTHER DOGS LOVERS NEARBY
Sounding like a dog-inspired version of an Oasis hit, Wonderwoof is a snazzy Bluetooth device which looks like a stylish and colourful bow tie. Yet it is able to keep your dog just as smart on the inside. The device is primarily a fitness and health tracker with a built-in pedometer that makes recommendations based on your breed of dog. The idea is that it will eventually monitor caloric intake and maybe even alert you to illnesses, but what is sure to catch your attention right now is the accompanying app. It gamifies the process of keeping your four-legged friend in shape by giving you up to ten bones each day – one for each activity completed. This makes keeping your pet fit as much fun for you as it should be for them. You’ll also likely love that you can also use the app to hook into a social network of dog owners, sharing your best walking routes and seeing who else is around.
£100 | $100 | wonderwoof.com
Whos’a clever boy, then?
SPY CAMS TO WATCH YOUR PETS REMOTELY Dog eating your duvet? Cat scratching your carpet? Catch them at it with these live streaming cameras
FEED YOUR PETS AS YOU WATCH
Yes, we know what you’re thinking. This gadget looks uncannily similar to a hospital hand sanitiser or a public loo soap dispenser but dissing this gadget based on its appearance won’t wash with your pets. They’ll be too busy munching on the tasty treats dispensed by this device and you’ll be able to peer at them via the wide-angled, night-vision camera. To operate the Pezti, you simply remove the front of the box to reveal a hole and fill the food dispenser with delicious titbits. As long as they are not more than a couple of centimetres or so in size, you can then use your smartphone to see your pets and call on the dispenser to chuck out some grub whenever you wish. Although your pet can’t see you, it’s possible to snap photos of them and tap the speaker button on your phone app to have a chat. The app also has its own community which lets you share images of your pet while viewing and commenting on lots of dog and cat pictures from across the world.
£135 | $170 | petzi.com
ZOOM IN ON YOUR PETS
Of the four devices we’re looking at here, the D-Link EyeOn Pet Monitor is most like a traditional set-up. Looking very much like a webcam, its spherical shape allows for great all-round performance, delivering a camera with a 640 x 480 resolution and a microphone up front, with a speaker in the rear. As the footage streams to your smartphone or tablet, you’re able to take advantage of the 4x digital zoom. You can also listen to and communicate with your pet via its two-way audio. If your pet is moving around the house, or if they are acting in a particularly unusual way, you’ll be sent an alert. This is great if your dog is barking at a burglar or if the cat has knocked your TV over. Surrounding the lens is a host of infrared night-vision LEDs that activiate as soon as it gets dark. If you’re after more features, there’s also a more advanced 360-degree version available, offering pan and tilt, temperature alerts, snapshots and 720p HD video.
D-Link EyeOn Pet Monitor £90 | $115 | dlink.com
MAKE YOUR DOG FETCH ITS FOOD
Like Petzi, Furbo dispenses treats while allowing you to view your pet chomping down on the food via your phone, but it’s an altogether better-looking product than its stablemate. Its sleek shape is topped off by a bamboo cap and it looks distinctly high-tech – the kind of gadget to show off to your friends, let alone your pets. Its main selling point is that it doesn’t just drop food to the floor but propels the foodstuff a slight distance which forces your dog to get off its laurels and get it. Furbo makes a clicking noise before it’s about to dispense food, and the hope is that your dog picks up on that audio cue and learns that a treat is on its way. As it tosses the food, the dispenser hole turns blue, reinforcing the message that food is on its way. You can then enjoy watching them in 720p HD video (the Furbo has night vision, too) and communicate with your friend if you wish, although the speaker isn’t great and there is no way to save the videos that you are streaming.
£250 | $250 | furbo.com
TEST WINNER As well as offering the most bang for its buck, the PetCube laser will also entertain both cats and dogs
PLAY WITH YOUR PETS
The Petcube camera monitors your pets and lets you view the 720p HD footage on your phone when you’re away. It also allows you to converse and listen to your four-legged friends while snapping images and recording videos whenever you want. As with the EyeOn, it dishes out notifications when it hears anything untoward. But with images captured at a wide-angled 138 degrees, there is certainly much to recommend it. Indeed, it may only offer 3x digital zoom and charge you extra each month or year for up to 30 days of cloud-based recording, but it does have a very useful extra: a cool red laser which is sure to drive your pet crazy with joy. You’re able to take control of this red dot yourself or else allow the device to do its own thing and, while there is a slight lag, this lets you to play with your pet from afar while keeping an eye on them. Alternatively, you can buy the Petcube Play with 1080p HD and night vision for £50 more.
£150 | $150 | petcube.com
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CREATE YOUR OWN WI-FI HI-FI
£30 | $35 google.com/chromecast
Set up your own wireless audio network on the cheap
Chromecast Audio The tiny device has etchings making it look like a vinyl record. It connects up to any speaker via 3.5mm jack and streams music through a variety of apps using Wi-Fi.
Audio networks are a cool idea, in theory. Streaming music to speakers in your house from your smartphone, is convenient, but most speakers that use this are expensive and limit you to one brand – potentially costing you loads of money. Some of the biggest names like Sonos and Yamaha MusicCast cost well over £100. A Google Chromecast Audio dongle, in contrast, costs a fraction of the price, but works in a similar way. You will need one Chromecast for each speaker and they’re not amplifiers, so you cannot simply connect it to any pair of speakers. With this guide we will show you how to turn your series of speakers into a wireless audio network.
01Take it one at a time
Connect each Chromecast, one at a time. To avoid confusion when it comes to the app as each device is named something like ‘ChromcastAudio1234’. You can rename the device later. Plug in the power and cables and install the Google Home app to your smartphone.
02Connect and test the device
When the app is launched, it should detect any Chromecast but you can find them under the devices option in the menu. Once found, the Chromecast will ask you to test the device by playing a test sound. If you can hear it then you can continue and name the device what you want.
Make your music follow you
SHOULD YOU GO FOR A MORE EXPENSIVE MUSIC SYSTEM? We weigh up the pros and cons of other services SONOS
£170 | $210 | sonos.com
Its Trueplay feature uses your iPhone to scan the room and adjust the settings to maximize performance. Trueplay enhances overall sound quality Ethernet ports ensure stable connections No hi-res audio streaming Only supports Sonos’ app
£200 | $250 | denon.co.uk
Denon’s system went through an upgrade in 2016 making them compatible with Bluetooth streaming. Supports Bluetooth streaming Music can be streamed from USBs Can’t stream from PC or Mac Most expensive speaker in out list
£150 | $185 | exceptional-av.co.uk
Yamaha’s system currently has 36 compatible devices ranging from bedside speakers to AV receivers. Wide range of supported devices Supports hi-res audio Setup is slow compared to rivals Some streaming services are missing
Bose SoundTouch £170 | $210 | bose.com
Bose and Sonos are similar, but Bose’s advantage is it can stream through Bluetooth. Includes Bluetooth streaming Speakers have physical buttons Not a wide selection of speaker designs Speakers offer non-dynamic sound
03Rinse and repeat
Once it’s connected, it’ll will search for updates. Once updated, repeat the past steps for each Chromecast you have. When you’re done setting each one up, go to the Devices tab and find one of you Chromecast audios and press the icon of three dots to the right of it.
04Making the audio group
Select Create Group, then you can make a name for it and select which Chromecast devices you want in the group and save. Now the group should be listed as a single device. Now when you go to stream music you should be able to select the group of Chromecast.
MAKE ANY PHOTO 3D This quick editing trick can give your pictures a retro effect
In a world where Hollywood blockbusters are increasingly shot on green screen so that CGI backdrops and characters can be added in later, 3D effects mean something quite different to they used to. While this kind of techno-wizardry is beyond our skills, it’s never been easier to make your photos pop with the kind of retro 3D that made The Creature From The Black Lagoon jump out of the screen to scare Fifties audiences. Technically known as ‘anaglyphic images,’ these are easy to create in Photoshop. But there are a couple
of things to be aware. For your first time make sure the photo has a clear object in the foreground and a clear background. Also, the object that is the focus shouldn’t be red or blue – play around with the image’s saturation levels if it is. Finally, you will need a pair of red-and-cyan anaglyphic glasses to be able to see the 3D effect. Fortunately, you can pick up a pair cheap on eBay or even Amazon. There are several ways to create an anaglyphic photo, but this method gives you the most control over the final image and a better 3D effect.
01Set up your image for tracing
Open up your image in Photoshop and create a new layer in the Layer tab. Alter the saturation levels at this point if you think the image needs it. Change the opacity of this new layer so you can slightly see the original image underneath, around 50 per cent should be enough. On this layer we will use the Paintbrush tool to paint numerous shades of grey.
“Make sure the photo has a clear object in the foreground and a clear background”
02Work from back to front
We are using many shades of grey to differentiate the different sections of the images – this is done to give us a field of depth. We use black for the parts that are furthest away, and white for the closest. Find the part of the image that’s furthest away and start to fill that area in with black using Photoshop’s Paintbrush tool.
Make any photo 3D
HOW DO WE SEE 3D? For anaglyphic 3D, the image has two filtered layers, red and cyan, both of which are slightly offset from each other. When looking through anaglyph glasses, each eye is only seeing one colour as the other is being blocked, the brain puts these two images together and, because of the two ‘images’ are offset, the brain is tricked into creating a sense of depth in the image. The kind of 3D you get in your cinema today is passive 3D, the glasses filter light waves which are projected at certain angles. Because it is light that is being filtered, not colours this doesn’t distort the final image in any way.
0350 shades of grey
05The devil is in the details
04Add any additional detail
06Displace the colour channels
Switch to a darker shade of grey and fill in the next section that is closer, for each proceeding section switch to a lighter shade of grey until you get to the subject of the image. The more sections of grey you use, the greater depth in the final image. Stop every now and then to check that there are no gaps in the layers that you are making.
Whatever is going to be the closest object in the frame should be the closest to white. You can now add detail to the subject by adding slight shades of grey onto it. Use the Burn tool to gently add dark patches, and you can add as much detail as you wish. If you need to make parts slightly lighter use the Dodge tool.
Once you have added your details, delete the layer with the original image so you are left with just the grey layer that you have created. Save this image as a .psd file and name it something obvious that you can easily find, we named ours ‘3D Layer’. Now, load up the original image again in a separate Photoshop tab.
Bring up the Channels tab and select only the red one. Go to Filter, Distort and then Displace. Set the horizontal displacement value to 25. Now deselect the red layer and choose the blue one. Again, go to Displace, but this time set the horizontal displacement value to -25. In the Channels tab select all and you should see your anaglyphic image.
WATCH NETLFIX VIDEOS OFFLINE Get Stranger Things even when you’re nowhere near Wi-Fi
Possibly the most requested feature for Netflix has finally arrived. The streaming juggernaut has recently updated its mobile app so you can now download films and TV series to your phone and watch them on your morning commute without burning through your data plan. Users of the rival Amazon Prime Instant Video service will point out they’ve had this feature for over a year now, but the update is big news for fans of Netflix exclusives like Stranger Things and House Of Cards. To start downloading from Netflix, make sure you’re phone or laptop is up to date, as the app requires iOS 8.0/Android 4.4.2 or later. If you’re an Android user with expanded storage, keep in mind is that the content downloaded will be stored in the same location as the Netflix app, so if you want a series saved onto a SD card, then app must be moved onto it first. It’s also worth noting not every show or film can be downloaded, likely due to licensing restrictions.
01 Find a show
Who needs friends when you can enjoy a dinner date with Pablo Escobar? Wtih downloadable episodes of Narcos on Netflix, you can just do that
Once you’ve updated your Netflix mobile app, a new option will have appeared in your side-menu screen called ‘Available for Download’. This filters all of Netflix’s shows and movies to only display the ones that can be stored on your device. Alternatively, when glancing through all of Netflix’s content, a downward-facing arrow symbol will appear next to episodes that are available to download.
02 Download content
Unfortunately for all you binge-watchers out there, the app doesn’t have a ‘download all’ option. So to store any entire series on your device, you will have to download each episode, individually tapping the download symbol. As the episodes download, a bar will appear at the bottom of the screen to display how much of the episode has downloaded and/or how many episodes you have queued to download.
Watch Netlfix when offline
HOW MUCH MEMORY WILL YOU NEED? Stranger Things
1 season - 8 episodes
1.75GB Orange Is The New Black 4 seasons – 52 episodes
13.08GB Marco Polo
2 seasons – 20 episodes
5.1GB Breaking Bad
5 seasons – 62 episodes
8 seasons - 177 episodes
29.79GB Peep Show
9 seasons – 54 episodes
03 Adjust settings
The app’s default is to only download content over Wi-Fi. If you try to download an episode over mobile data, a warning will appear to tell you that it is restricted. Though this saves you the cost of using your data, you can change this in App Settings, which is at the bottom of your side-menu options. You can also set the video quality of your downloads, which can reduce the amount of phone storage that is required.
04 Watch an episode
To watch the shows you have saved to your device, select My Downloads from the menu tab, Here, every episode will be grouped by show. To play an episode, select one as you normally would when streaming. Once you’ve finished, you can delete downloads individually or by show by swiping left. Alternatively, a ‘Find More To Download’ button will redirect you back to the show’s main app entry so you can view more.
d tho Me
THE FASTEST WAY TO DE-ICE YOUR WINDSCREEN Best methods put to the test
When you’re running late the last thing you want to see when you get to your car is that the windows are all iced up. Everyone has their own method to get rid of it, some are faster than others and some are safer. But there is a lot of misinformation online as to how you can remove it safely, some of the methods posted can even end up damaging your vehicle. We get that you want to be in your car and on you way as quickly as possible – no one wants to spend too long outside in the cold trying to clear the ice – so we’ve tested some of the classic methods to see which one will save you the most time and get you in your car and on your way safely and quickly. Remember, no matter the method, you should take your time and make sure every window is clear. Before you drive off, make sure to check that other important areas of you car are clear of any ice, such as the break lights. We also have some cool pieces of gear that will help you along in icy situations.
“No one wants to spend too long outside in the cold”
LEAVE THE CAR RUNNING The simplest way to defrost your windscreen is of course to just start the car, turn the heating up, and wait. However, this method actually takes the longest and may have been the most expensive, sacrificing precious fuel in the process. To speed thing up, point the fans upwards and make sure the rear window heating is also on. Whatever you do, don’t leave your car to de-ice like this - numerous cars are stolen each year because owners left them unattended. Time taken to defrost 10-15 minutes
d tho e M
SPRAY SOME DE-ICER You can buy a can of de-icer for around £2 from your local petrol station, supermarket or car part store. Just spray the de-icer over the widows, it should take a couple of seconds for it to get to work. If you go around the car window by window, by the time you get all the way around you can start wiping away the residue. Use a squeegee or a soft-bristle brush to wipe away any leftover ice to avoid scratching the glass. Time taken to defrost 3 minutes
5 GADGETS TO KEEP IN YOUR CAR THIS WINTER Handpresso Auto
Plug this into your car’s cigarette lighter, add cold water and a ESE coffee pod then you’ll have a hot cup of coffee in a couple of minutes. £115 | $185 handpresso.com
Heated massaging car seat What’s better than a heated car seat? Well how about one that massages you as well. It makes the drive as comfortable as it can be. £30 | £40 | maplin.co.uk
Ember travel mug
This smart thermos keeps your hot drink at the exact temperature you want for up to two hours. You can also adjust it with the tap of an app. £120 | $150 embertech.com
The Fastest Way To De-ice Your Windscreen od
TIPS TO KEEP IN MIND Be patient Put aside an extra 10-15 minutes in the morning for de-icing, how long it takes varies each day but it should always be done properly.
Don’t walk away If you are going to leave your car for whatever reason, remember to lock it. An open car with no driver is a thief’s dream.
Avoid smudging windows If the windows mists up, do not use your hands to wipe it away – use a cloth. Hands leave smudges that could obscure your view.
Keep it cool USE AN ICE SCRAPER Make sure use a proper ice scraper, not just some piece of plastic you having lying around. Ice scrapers are typically plastic with a large flat blade, these aren’t sharp but they do the job without damaging your car. Use short strokes and lean in when scraping as it could take a bit of force to clear some of it. If you want to speed this method up, turn on your car’s heating and direct it at the windows, this will help loosen some of the ice. Time taken to defrost 5 minutes
DON’T TRY THESE AT HOME Pour boiling water When the hot water touches the glass, the liquid suddenly expands and then contracts, this causes any small chips or scratches to turn into cracks.
If you keep your car door windows slightly open when removing the ice, then the rear and front ones will stay mist free.
Use a credit card Some place have recommended using CDs, credit cards and other flat surfaced objects to scrape away ice, this could lead to scratches in the glass.
Use vinegar Each brand of vinegar varies in strength so it’s hard to know exactly what you’re getting, if it’s too strong then it can damage the paint on the car.
Use windscreen wipers If you don’t have anything to scrape the ice do not use your wipers, they are meant for brushing and this will only damage them.
PLUG IN DASHBOARD HEATER The most high-tech option is a portable dashboard heater, like the £15 Blackfire Dashboard Heater/Cooler. A standard 12V socket-powered heater is like a turbo-boosted version of your car’s in-built heating. Plug the heater into the cigarette lighter socket and point it towards the window. Once you are sure the ice is gone, use your windscreen wipers to remove any residue. After all the ice is off you can switch the heater to its cooling setting to demist the windows. Time taken to defrost 8-10 minutes
Car Wi-Fi from EE
Cobra car jumper
From £12 a month | $N/A ee.co.uk
£80 | $120 cobraelectronics.com
Never lose signal with this Wi-Fi generator. It works with up to 10 devices, so both the driver and passengers can use it.
This fits easily into a glove box and can store enough power to jumpstart your car in an emergency. It can also be used to charge gadgets.
Whatever happened to...
Through the looking glass Despite being called Glass, lenses were sold separately. But this did include the choice of tinted sunglasses, prescription lenses or, in a forward-thinking move, pre-hipster clear glass
Touch controls The touchpad was controlled by tapping to wake it up, swiping to scroll through the menu and tapping again to select
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Specced up spectacles Like most wearables today, Glass was designed to work in tandem with your phone. However in addition to a camera, the headset had a built-in battery, microphone and GPS
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Lights, camera, action! The 5MP camera could take photos and shoot 720p HD video. Despite privacy concerns, a small light would actually alert others when it was being used
Heads-up display To the viewer the headset’s display was the equivalent of a 25-inch high definition screen from eight feet away
Whatever happened to…
These smart glasses could have been the future of wearables Never has there been a backlash to a gadget like Google Glass. These frames (lenses cost extra) had a head-ups display that would show turn-by-turn directions, text messages and more in the top-right corner of the user’s vision. However, it was its built-in camera, capable of shooting surreptitious HD videos, that sparked anger. Though the smart specs never made it to a full consumer launch, several US bars banned so-called ‘Glassholes’ to protect patrons’ privacy. Despite the controversy, Google continued to work on the headset for years, before abandoning it in 2015. However, Snapchat’s video Spectacles have recently had a limited rollout without similar backlash, suggesting ‘Project Glass’ was just ahead of its time.
Fact file… Year of launch: 2013 • Andy Murray becomes the first Scot to win a Wimbledon tennis single’s title since 1896 • Nelson Mandela died, aged 95 • Edward Snowden leaked evidence of US mass surveillance to newspapers • Argo, directed by Ben Affleck, won Best Film and several other awards at the Oscars “Become an Explorer” Tagline for the Google Glass beta testing programme
Buy one today
• Original Price: £1,000/$1,500 • Price Today: £750/$965
Though it never had a full release, Google did sell ‘Explorer Edition’ Glass for developers. These are now relatively easy to come by on eBay, with starting bid prices from £390 or buy now options set at £900. Initially, Google threatened to deactivate sold-on headsets, but has since publicly stated they are no longer doing that. But be aware some apps no longer work with the HUD as the ‘Glassware’ operating system hasn’t been updated in years, so really they are only good for video-recording your day.
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Collapsible Drone Pads
The ‘must have’ accessory for drone pilots FlatHat Labs introduce a 32" and 16" Collapsible Drone Pad for drone pilots. The portable pads help to protect sensitive drone cameras and sensors from rotor wash kicking up dust and debris. Lighting kits are also available for the pads to illuminate the perimeter in low-light flying conditions.
Available to purchase from: www.calphoto.co.uk Patent: see www.ExpoIP.us • FlatHat Labs is a registered trademark of ExpoImaging, Inc • Distributed exclusively by XP Distribution
Chord Electronics Ltd.
HiF H iFi World Wo W orld
e r o f e b d r a e h r e v e n e v â€™ u o y e t level x k e i l n e l h a t t o i t s g e i D eadphon What HiFi
i and H F i H r u o y s e k a Hugo t
DESIGNED AND MADE IN THE UK ... and experience the purity. Feel as if you are in the recording studio.
Plug Hugo in and extract the best from the music file on your PC, Mac, Phone, etc...
Digital in - Analogue out Instead of using limited off the shelf DAC chips to convert your costly digital music collection into an analogue waveform that your headphones can play, Hugo uses unique multi-award winning FPGA technology to recreate the original performance as it was in the recording studio - with astonishing accuracy, like youâ€™ve never heard before. Experience the transportable Hugo as your reference, with your HiFi or your headphones at home, or on the go and understand why thousands have joined the Chord revolution.