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What most excites you about tech in 2017? Dave Harfield Editor In Chief Self-driving cars are only going to get smarter with old names like Ford and BMW taking on Tesla’s dominance.

W you’re always living a few months ahead of everyone else. While the rest of you were outside basking in the mid-August sun, we were testing out early samples of next season’s ski gear or hunched over in a darkened room compiling our Christmas gift guide, a ‘Now, That’s What I Call Festive’ playlist on repeat and a plate of old mince pies handy to set the mood. Now that you’re at the point of decking the halls and getting merrily on high, we’ve already moved on to next year’s trends. So what can we report back from the front line of the future? Drones are smaller and less expensive than ever, but still able to fly themselves and shoot 4K. Meanwhile, selfie sticks have been replaced by 360-degree cameras.

pps announced for the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, as well as third-party accessories. Colour-rich HDR TV is the new 4K, while Ultra HD phones are all the rage. Wearables and smart home tech continue to grow in popularity, but both increasingly talk to each other and even talk to you. If you like the sound of this, you’ll be happy to hear much of the tech that’s going to be hot next year is out already. Check out our 30 Next Big Things feature from page 16 for a detailed guide, as well as previews of what to expect from the iPhone’s tenth anniversary, Tesla’s Model 3 self-driving car, Xbox’s supercharged Project Scorpio console and more. Jack Parsons Editor

p my jam, so I want to see more innovations with a flair for oldschool cool.

Aiden Dalby Staff Writer As a lifelong Nintendo fan, I am excited to see what it’s next-gen Switch console can do.

Stephen Williams Senior Art Editor The end of Apple. I’m more excited for Microsoft’s touchscreen Surface Studio than a new Mac.

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Goes Pro 006 DJI With Inspire 2

New Hov 011 Ford’s Goes The Extra

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THe drone giant’s latest is going to Hollywood

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HTC Vive is Going wireless A new accessory will cut the cord on your VR experiences

Play Against SelfMoving Chess Pieces Square Off’s new set harnesses the magic of magnetism

New prototype rein wheel for lazy comm

Kickstarter 10 Giving your old tec lease of life with the

A Multi-Room 014 Win Music Setup Win a £700 Yamaha MusicCast starter kit

This The Smart 066 IsAlternative To Sonos?

To Build A 030 How Smart Home

070 360 Action Cams

Create your own high-tech house with this guide

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High-Spec, Low-Cost Heroes You don’t have to spend a lot to get a good phone anymore

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Party On

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Nintendo’s NOstalgia Trip in HD

25 tech essentials to throw the ultimate shindig

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Next Big 016 40 Things 2017

The most exciting gear of the new year revealed

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Musiac is a high-end hi-fi that can automate your home

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076 Best Case Scenario

Top kit for your new phone, including cases and more

080 Tech We Love

The best new gadgets on our radar this month

082 Call For Backup

What’s the best way to keep your files safe?

The NES Mini is a retro gamer’s dream come true

Kill A 062 Never Plant Again

Parrot’s new self-watering pot will take care of them for you

the World’s 064 Meet Smallest Folding Pram The Pockit is easy to carry, so is it a must-have for parents?

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KICKASS KICKSTARTERS • NEAR-FUTURE TECH LATEST LAUNCHES

Quick climber As well as being able to reach new heights for aerial shots, the Inspire 2 can reach them quickly, climbing 20 feet per second and descending at almost 30 feet per second

New cameras DJI launched the Inspire 2 along with two new cameras: the Zenmuse X4S has a one-inch 20-megapixel sensor and the larger Zenmuse X5S, which has a 20.8-megapixel sensor and supports eight lenses from wide angles to zoom

DJI GOES PRO WITH THE INSPIRE 2 ETA JAN ’17 Dual-battery system As well as extending its flight time, the Inspire 2’s two batteries ensure that if one fails during a flight, it will still have enough power to be able to return to the pilot

Super-fast filming

Smart sensors

The Inspire 2 can shoot 5.2K video, so DJI has built a new image processing system called the CineCore 2.0 into the airframe to handle large files faster than ever

Vision sensors are built into the front and bottom of the of the Inspire 2 to help it detect obstacles while upward-facing infrared sensors add protection when flying the drone indoors

The new drone is faster, lighter, smarter, and flies for longer than the original, as well as boasts two cameras. But while the first Inspire was still affordable enough for some hobbyists, the Inspire 2 is designed for Hollywood filmmakers and has been priced accordingly: it costs £3,060/$3,000. Fortunately the Inspire 2’s specs are as sky high as it’s price tag. The drone’s top speed has been boosted from 50 miles per hour to 67mph; its flight time has been extended from 18 to 27 minutes; and the Inspire 2 can

has also been made out of a magnesiumaluminum alloy for increased stiffness while reducing its overall weight. However, the Inspire 2’s main draw for filmmakers is its two cameras. The main one is slung underneath the drone on a three-axis gimbal and, just like the original Inspire, the drone’s legs lift up so they won’t block the camera’s view, and the camera can also freely rotate 360 degrees. The second camera is a forward-facing one that offers the pilot the best flight view. This means that it is aimed

use the drone’s main camera to capture the action. If you do find yourself flying solo, the drone has also been enhanced with the same computer vision and autonomous navigation as DJI’s Phantom 4 and Maven Pro, so you focus on taking cinematic shots. The Inspire 2 starts is available to preorder now. If that’s outside your budget, DJI has also launched a Phantom 4 Pro with improved camera, greater battery life, additional intelligent flight modes and new compact controller for £1,590/$1,500.


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For drones you can actually afford, see page 80 Filming using drones has its advantages, granting you access to hard-to reach areas

BEST SCENES SHOT WITH A DRONE

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01Skyfall (2012)

The opening sequence of this James Bond movie, which sees 007 chasing an unnamed terrorist across the rooftop of Istanbul’s famous bazaar – on motorbikes no less – wouldn’t have been half as panoramic if it wasn’t filmed using drones. Watch it here: youtu.be/tHRLX8jRjq8

02The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

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The iconic pool party scene in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf Of Wall Street was shot with octocopters, beginning with a bird’s-eye shot off the coast of the Hamptons, before moving in to capture an aerial view of Jordan Belfort’s rowdy bash. Watch it here: youtu.be/JLR__P1MyNQ

03Chappie (2015)

Appropriately for a film about a self-aware robot, Chappie was shot extensively with drones. As well as being used as a reference point for actors to look at while talking to CGI characters that would be added in after shooting, the footage from these drones was also used as POV shots for these characters. Watch it here: youtu.be/lyy7y0QOK-0

02 04

04 Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

The latest installment of the Mad Max series won several Oscars for its innovative cinematography, so it’s perhaps no surprise drones were involved. But instead of aerial shots, they were used to take reference ground shots for the effect artists that had to create the computer-generated Citadel, a major landmark in the film. Watch it here: youtu.be/hEJnMQG9ev8

05 Captain America: Civil War (2016)

The climatic airport battle in Marvel’s summer blockbuster was partially captured by a drone team. The filmmakers had to get special permission as they were shooting at an actual airport in Leipzig, Germany, where airspace is normally restricted. Watch it here: youtu.be/6LPxtzEcRxk

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Approved by HTC The TPCAST comes straight out of the Vive X Accelerator project, intended to get accessory makers working closely with HTC itself to develop some cool add-ons for the Vive

HTC VIVE IS GOING WIRELESS

Low latency The developers of the TPCAST say it has a very low latency of two milliseconds, and those who’ve tried it say there’s no noticeable lag in the gaming experience

One of the advantage mobile VR kit (like the Samsung Gear VR or G Daydream View) has o more powerful device Oculus Rift or HTC Viv bunch of headsets ne to a computer – whic you out of your imme stray too far or trip over the cable. Enter the TPCAST, the first gadget out of HTC’s specially-approved development programme for accessories. It acts as both a battery for the Vive and a wireless transmitter, releasing you from the wires and letting you wander around your magical virtual reality world with a bit more freely. Its makers are promising less than two milliseconds of

gameplay between battery charges. You’ll still be limited to the room-scale environment, which is set by the Vive’s base station sensors, although this limited roaming is something HTC does better than Oculus right now. While you can preorder the kit now, it won’t be shipping until the start of 2017, and supply is expected to be tight. The official

listed price is 1,499 Chinese yuan, which converts to roughly £175 or $220. There’s also a version coming soon with a bigger battery you keep in your pocket for even longer periods of gameplay. If TPCAST can meet its claims – and early demos suggest it can – it’s set to be the must-have HTC Vive accessory of next year.


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EVERYONE WANTS CABLE-FREE VR... MSI VR One

Battery pack The integrated battery is good for around an hour and a half of gameplay; a bigger, heavier and longer-lasting battery that you carry in your pocket is also in the works

One alternative to ditchin the wires is to carry your gaming PC around with you. Enter the MSI VR One, available to preorde now from a starting price of around $2,000 (about £1,610), and offering around three hours of game time per charge.

Zoltac VR GO Also taking the backpack route is PC-maker Zoltac. The VR GO backpack is packed with top-end components and can still be used as a desktop PC. We don’t have pricing or availability details yet but expect to see it at CES 2017.

Start saving Based on a rough currency conversion, the TPCAST is going to set you back around £175/$220 – getting involved in the early adopter VR scene does get expensive quickly

Intel Project Alloy Intel is working on a prototype called Project Alloy that takes a different approach: packing everything you need into the headset itself. As yet there’s no firm launch date but this is likely to be the future of VR tech l

Order priority Initial supplies could be limited, HTC says, with priority given to those who can provide a valid HTC Vive serial number; preorders are open now, with shipping in the first quarter of 2017

Oculus Santa Cruz

A wireless experience

Oculus isn’t treading water, and recently has showed off a wireless, all-in-one prototype of its own called Santa Cruz – no PC needed.

The HTC Vive’s usual cabling is used to supply the VR video stream and power to the headset, both of which are handled by the wireless TPCAST accessory

WILL THIS ADD-ON MAKE YOU FEEL SICK? Latency is the enemy of good VR experiences: the delay between your movements and the response you see in front of your eyes, even if its a small one, can ruin the experience entirely and even make you nauseous. The TPCAST has a promised latency of less than 2 milliseconds, which should keep

the vomit at bay – it’s also less than the latency of the Vive controllers, which have a worst-case delay of 2.7 milliseconds. Most industry experts think anything under 20 milliseconds is safe enough, but that still requires a lot of processing power... hence the high-end PCs and smartphones required.

MIT MoVR Some of the brightest minds in science are on the case too, with MIT researchers developing a wireless VR attachment called MoVR that lets any headset communicate with its base PC or console without the need for cables.


AINST SQUARE OFF’S SELF-MOVING CHESS PIECES ETA APR ‘17 Square Off, currently a Kickstarter project, brings the best of modern tech to the classic board game feel. While it looks like a standard board, it’s connected to apps and, by extension, the internet and can use small magnetic trackers to move pieces around autonomously. So if you’re playing someone in another part of the world, you’re not limited to watching moves on an app: you can see their pieces physically move in real-life on your board. The magnetic chess pieces can also be controlled by the system’s built-in AI,

or you can watch a real Grand Master game play out before your very eyes. With both integrated connectivity and the capacity to move pieces on its own, Square Off has plenty of potential. It certainly seems like there’s plenty of demand for the board as well – at the time of writing, the Kickstarter campaign has reached almost three times its £40,000 goal. When these ingenious boards officially go on sale at some point next summer they’re expected to cost in the region of £300, if you haven’t got in early with a pledge.

Controlled via app Magic magnetic moves White, black or both can be controlled automatically by the board, thanks to its integrated magnetic magic – and the system is designed so the pieces cleverly avoid hitting each other

To keep the board sleek and button-free, the team behind Square Off put all the controls and settings in an app for iOS and Android, which communicates with the board via Bluetooth

Classic chess experience If you want something tactile that online chess can’t give you then this could be it – the pieces for the Square Off set have been handcrafted from rosewood and maple wood

Live chess streaming

A built-in battery

We’re not sure exactly how this part works, but apparently you can ‘tune in’ to matches from across the world, presumably via the app, and have them play out on your board

The Square Off board can go on the move with you: its makers say it lasts for ten long games, assuming there are 40 automated moves for each game on average


News

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Follow my leader

Weights and balances

If you don’t want to step on the Carr-E, you can load it with your suitcase and have it automatically follow you; there’s an obstacle avoidance system built in as well

The Carr-E comes fitted with a four-wheel chassis (the front and back wheels are hidden) plus a weight sensor. It can take loads of up to 120 kilograms (about 19 stone)

Location, location, location

Integrated lighting system

There’s GPS on board too, so the device can find its way to a destination without your assistance (we’d expect some kind of app remote control to be involved too)

The lights on the front of the Carr-E show the way in the dark and – perhaps more importantly – let passers-by know the strangelooking contraption is heading their way

FORD’S NEW HOVERBOARD GOES THE EXTRA MILE ETA TBC Encourage the employees at Ford to get creative and they don’t mess around. The Carr-E is a concept that’s part electric scooter and part chopped-down Segway, and is the result of Ford’s 2016 Employee Innovation Challenge, which specifically focused on the ‘last mile’ of the everyday commute, for instance, travelling from the train platform to home or workplace. It’s certainly a futuristic-looking mode of transportation but whether or not you’d be comfortable gliding into the office foyer riding on one is another matter. If you don’t want to take a ride yourself, it can also transport packages and objects for you. It might just be a concept for now but plenty of thought has gone into the Carr-E.

It’s intended to slot into that space in your boot where the spare tyre normally goes, so you could park up somewhere and then use this novel form of transportation to explore. Be careful, though – the top speed of around 11mph is above the average jogging spee It’s the vision of Ki Vas, a Ford systems engineer from Colog in Germany, who say he was inspired to “fi new approaches to mobility” for the mod age. However there a currently no plans to the Carr-E a real pro

Electric and clean The Carr-E is powered by an electric battery, and creator Kilian Vas says it should be able to travel for 14 miles (about 22.5 kilometres) before it needs charging up again


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Kickstarter 10

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01GeoOrbital Wheel

With a built-in motor, this wheel can turn any bike motor-powered for an easier commute. The GeoOrbital Wheel only takes a minute to install and can reach speeds of 20mph. £655 | $800 | geoo.com

02CamBuddy Pro

Compatible with a number of Canon and Nikon cameras, the CamBuddy Pro turns your DSLR into a smart device that can remotely take sound, lightning and even laser-triggered photos. £125 | $150 | buddy.camera

03FlipFlic

Fitting easily onto blinds, the FlipFlic has sensors that respond to light or temperature. Open or close the blinds with the press of a button or automate them to open at a specific time.

£50 | $60 | flipflic.com

08 09

04Unlimited Eon

Supercharge up your skateboard and reach speeds of 22mph with the Eon electric motor. Controlled via wireless remote, it can be installed onto any longboard or skateboard. £645 | $800 | unlimited.engineering

05Altered:Nozzle

Conscious of how much water you waste? The Altered:Nozzle attaches to your existing faucet and uses 98 per cent less water by atomising the stream from your tap into a heavy mist. £45 | $55 | alteredcompany.com

06Unique Smart Strap

Keep your favourite watch and turn it into a smart device. Hidden inside the strap is tech that allows you to receive notifications from your phone, dismiss calls with a tap and more. £115 | $140 | ubirds.eu

07Guitar-Jo

Emulating the sound of a banjo by dampening the sound of the strings on an electric guitar, the Guitar-Jo attaches easily to any flat guitar using suction cups.

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£40 | $45 | guitarjo.com

08Lightpack 2

Like the look of the Philips Ambilight TV, but not the price? Plugging into your existing TV’s HDMI port, the Lightpack 2 uses video signals to produce mood lighting that matches what’s on the screen. $130 | $160 | lightpack.tv

09Vamp Stereo and Speaker

This can connect to two speakers via cables and link to any Bluetooth device. The device is made from recycled material and has additional connections for two more speakers. £60 | $70 | paulcocksedgestudio.com

10Emberlight

Turn any dimmable lightbulb into a smart light that’s controlled via Bluetooth. Simply screw it into an existing fixture and then the lightbulb screws into the smart socket.

£40 | $50 | emberlight.co


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Competition

WIN A YAMAHA MUSICCAST CHORUS STARTER SET Enjoy music wherever you are with this £700 multi-room speaker system

Once upon a time, if you wanted your music to follow you around the house, you’re options were limited. Most of us just used our smartphones, which are tinny compared to having a dedicated speaker. But Yamaha has done away with that notion with its MusicCast wireless music system. MusicCast uses your existing Wi-Fi network to transmit audio all over the house to different devices, it could be a home cinema amplifier, micro hi-fi system, stereo amp, wireless speaker or a soundbar. Almost everything Yamaha makes is part of MusicCast so you can choose the right product for your lifestyle and situation. Using a single app you can play music to all of these devices, as well as control the volume, EQ and specific settings of each room. Customise your rooms with pictures and names and group rooms together to

get the party started! Thanks to Yamaha, we have three MusicCast products to give away. The Restio wireless lifestyle speaker ISX-18D is stylish so it can look good on a shelf, at a bedside table or even hanging on a wall. The WX-010 wireless speaker, despite its small size, packs four speakers; providing well-rounded sound and room filling performance. Whilst the YAS-306 Soundbar utilises MusicCast, it is also a powerful surround soundbar, so you get great audio for both music and film or TV. All three units are sold individually, but also as a MusicCast Chorus Starter Set worth £699.95.

FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A YAMAHA MUSICCAST CHORUS STARTER SET FOR YOURSELF, ANSWER THE FOLLOWING QUESTION:

QUESTION: HOW MANY SPEAKERS ARE BUILT INTO THE MUSICCAST WX-010?

A. 2 B. 3 C. 4 Enter today at www.gadgetdaily.xyz TERMS AND CONDITIONS The closing date for entries is 13 January 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.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT UK.YAMAHA.COM


ALED E V E R EAR Y T X E RN O F R A GE G N I T I T EXC S O M THE

nds still. forward to the latest phones, enhanced experiences or better health, you can be certain that there will be manufacturers working their socks off to separate you from your money over the next year with the most advanced kit ever. But before you gaze into the crystal ball, let’s pause for reflection. When a new year

dawns, there is always a temptation to write off the products of the past year in the hope that gadgets will become even better in the future. Yet some of the cutting-edge kit of the year just gone were so amazing, they will see us happy for a good while longer. With that in mind, we present the gear we think you should be saving your pennies for, together with the futureproofed items

you should consider splashing out on now. We’ve taken various attributes into account: the freshness of a product, innovation, their features in comparison to rivals, their convenience and, of course, their price. The result is a list to salivate over, with a tantalising glimpse of what’s to come. So sit down, look back and look forward. We’ve never had it so good.


It’s game on The PS4 Pro has twice the power of the PS4 with double the number of GPUs, an extra gig of RAM and a terabyte of storage

Multimedia device As well as playing enhanced games, this console can also stream 4K content from Netflix and YouTube. It doesn’t have an 4K Blu-Ray player, though

Great control The console uses the Dualshock 4 controller which includes a touchpad, a six-axis motion-sensing system and all of the familiar shape-based buttons that are the PlayStation’s calling card

MEET THE MOST POWERFUL GAMES CONSOLE EVER There were many who thought Sony’s luck had run out when the PlayStation 3 suffered at the start of its life, but the company fixed this with the launch of the PS4 in 2013. Having outsold its nearest rival, the Xbox One, by more than twoto-one, and with stonking exclusives including Uncharted 4, selected streaming of PS3 games via PlayStation Now and emulated PS2 games, the PS4 has proven to be a true player’s paradise. Or at least it was. Skip to this very moment and we have the new PlayStation 4 Pro – the tasty Big Mac of consoles, right down to a design which sandwiches an extra layer of plastic through its middle. The Pro is pumped with improved horsepower, faster

frame-rates and richer quality graphics. It also has the addition of eye-searing 2160p Ultra HD and light-balancing high dynamic range image technology, with auto-upscaling for the older stuff. The combined effect of all of this is stunning. Faraway background objects are better focussed and visual effects, such as smoke, appear much more real. Shadows are deeper and detail pops from the screen. There are already 45 games prepped and ready to be enjoyed including Call Of Duty: Infinite Warfare and perennial bootabout FIFA 17 – you can also connect a PlayStation VR to the PS4 Pro and it’ll perform better.

PlayStation Pro 4 £350 | $400 | playstation.com

“Outselling its rival, the PS4 has proven to be a true player’s paradise”

2017 tech Preview

017

THIS IS THE YEAR THE TECH TALKS TO YOU

Alexa sometimes pipes up when you don’t want her too and she sometimes has trouble understanding what you say. But on a day-to-day basis she is your unwavering friend, hiding away inside a Pringles tube of a speaker and performing all manner of tasks from reading you a book to telling you what’s going on in the world to soothing your nerves with music. You’ll fall in love with Amazon Echo from the moment you set it up, not least because it has built up a wide and impressive ecosystem. It may be facing some fierce competition, notably from Siri and Google Home (and it may struggle to answer the most random of questions), but the levels of ‘Skills’ it has is so impressive, you soon begin to wonder how you did without it. Use it to order yourself a takeaway, turn up your heating and dim the lights for a cosy night in. Alternatively, check the weather, see what movies are playing at the cinema and get an Uber for that great night out. It’s very much the future of tech interaction and the more you use it, the more it learns. What’s more, the Amazon Skills Kit is fully open to developers which means it will only get better over the

Lighting the way When Alexa is listening, lights will flash across the top of the device. Just give your instruction and it will be carried out

Joining the dots You can get an Amazon Echo Dot at the third of the price. It has the same Alexa functionality but without the impressive speaker

Hit the notes Echo has a 2.5-inch woofer and two-inch tweeter for great audio. It has seven microphones so it can still hear you in the noisiest of rooms


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40 Next Big Things 2017

Graphical powerhouse

THE LAPTOP WITH A TOUCH OF CLASS Apple makes some of the most reliable laptops on Earth but that’s not to say it’s a boring Steady Eddie. Quite the opposite. The MacBook Pro is sure to take a big bite out of the market and it’s not because it’s 17 per cent thinner than its predecessors or that has a load of USB-C ports and a mammoth trackpad. No, what you see here is a laptop imagined for modern use. It has a well-designed OLED touch bar that replaces the physical function keys with changeable, app-specific icons. It means you can, for instance, have a range of emojis to hand when you’re writing your messages or a useful set of buttons that can be used in Adobe Photoshop. Apple looks to be ignoring its peers – the new MacBook makes for an departure from the touchscreen laptops that have been coming to market. For a start, you don’t need to start prodding at the screen and you can instead keep your fingers on the keyboard. But that’s not all this Apple machine has to offer. As well as the dazzling Retina display, there’s TouchID for payments for the first time. There are also speakers that have been designed from the ground up to give twice the dynamic range and 58 per cent more volume.

MacBook Pro with Touch Bar £1,750 | $1,800 | apple.com

Port problems The latest Macbook Pro is so futuristic, it doesn’t have any of the ports you’re used to. Instead of a traditional USB, it has four USB-C ports, so you will dongles for using an SD card, Ethernet - even plugging in your iPhone

With an Intel Iris Graphics 550 GPU, up to 16GB of memory and a backlit Retina display at native resolution of 2560 x 1600, this is a dream Mac machine

You’ve got the touch

Powerful computing

The Touch Bar has an Touch ID sensor and there’s also a Force Touch trackpad which offers precise control

The MacBook Pro comes with speedy flash storage and a fast dualcore Intel Core i5. It will last for up to ten hours on a full battery charge

SAY HELLO TO POKÉMON GO MAKE EYE BEZEL-LESS IS ABOUT TO CONTACT SCREENS EVOLVE WITH VR

REMIX SOUND WITH AR EARBUDS

Xiaomi is by no means a household name in the West right now but judging by the Mi Mix phone, it may soon be after the first batch literally sold out within seconds. Although some design features are inspired by rivals and its camera falls slightly short, this Android Marshmallow handset has a jaw-dropping, nearframeless 6.4-inch screen as well as the best Snapdragon processor around, a minimum of 4GB RAM with 128GB storage. Top eyecatching specs, for sure.

Niantic’s catch-’em-up whet our appetite for augmented reality gaming so there have been high hopes for Lenovo’s Phab 2 Pro phone. As the first handset to ship with Google Tango, it has a depthsensing, wide-angle 16MP camera on the back which can be used to map and navigate physical spaces and a fantastic 64-inch display to showcase what it can see. Tango games and utilities are already making use of this technology in the Google Play store.

Small infrared sensors inside the head-tracking Fove VR headset keep an eye on your eyes’ movements to work out the direction you’re looking in. It means you only have to stare at an object on the display to focus, aim at targets or even make eye contact with a character and it allows you to do away with a controller. There’s going to be no shortage of games to play, either, since it is compatible with SteamVR and open-source VR titles.

Do you wish you could turn your ears off in the same way you can close your eyes? The Here One buds offer Adaptive Listening which lets you tune out specific frequencies so that you only get to hear the things you want to. Controlled via an app, the buds are also so sensitive that you’re able to remove very specific sounds. You can also set up personal listening profiles so that the buds figure what you tend to like and dislike listening too. Peace at last.

Xiamoi Mi Mix

Lenovo Phab Pro 2

Fove

Here One

£710 | $880 | mi.com

£400| $500 | lenovo.com

£485 | $600 | getfove.com

£260 | $300 | hereplus.me


2017 tech Preview

CH E T E R R ‘17 FUTU WINTE

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Smart display We don’t know what the top speed of the car will be as yet but the clutter-free interior will have a centre console made by LG offering maps and key info such as where the supercharging stations are

Self-driving sensors Take your foot off the gas and sit back – Elon Musk says the Tesla 3 will have autopilot making it capable of driving all by itself thanks to an array of sensors and cameras

“Go from 0 to 60 in just six seconds”

Changing looks What you see today is not necessarily how the car will eventually look but its designed to achieve a five-star safety rating and it’ll be Tesla’s cheapest vehicle

TESLA’S NEXT ELECTRIC CAR WILL GO THE DISTANCE When you fill up your car with petrol or diesel and go for a spin, you’re actually giving the environment a good old punch in the chops. Yet we persist in driving these vehicles because the alternative – a fully-electric vehicle – will only take you so far on a single charge. In a best case scenario, you’re likely to manage an average of 80 miles before it conks out, so it’s little wonder that they only generate one per cent of new car sales. Drive into the future a bit and you’ll the Tesla 3, which could inject interest into the market. Manufactured by the company cofounded by Elon Musk, it has attracted more than 400,000 preorders and while it’s likely to motor straight to a late 2017 delivery, there’s little doubt that it’s arriving at just the right time: news junkies may have noticed that diesel drivers are going to be forced to pay a pollution fee in 16 British cities by 2020. The price of petrol isn’t pretty these days, either. But why is Tesla 3 likely to succeed where

others have failed? Quite apart from Elon Musk’s fierce ambition – this is, after all, the guy who is also looking to send humans to Mars with SpaceX – the car will be powerful enough to go from 0 to 60 in just six seconds. It’ll have a range of 215 miles and you’ll be able to supercharge it (for a fee after the first 1,000 miles), which means you’ll get at least 170 miles out of 30 minutes being linked up to a charging station (more than enough time for a coffee). It is also being designed with great attention to detail. The lush interior of this five-seater, rear-wheel drive motor will have a 15-inch centre-mounted display and autopilot hardware as well as vegan-friendly, non-leather seats as an addition. There will be options for faster acceleration time, all-wheel drive, active air suspension and longer-range battery packs too. Good enough, we suspect, to make you happier than Jeremy Clarkson with a belly full of steak.

Tesla Model 3 £28,000 | $35,000 | tesla.com


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40 Next Big Things 2017

WATCH ULTRA HD BLU-RAYS Samsung led the way when it launched its first Ultra HD Blu-ray player and it remains a top buy today. More affordable than many of its rivals, the UBD-K8500 satiates an appetite for 4K content by not only providing a way of playing next-gen discs but in allowing you to enjoy 4K streams from Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Instant Video. With a good number of Ultra HD Blu-rays now on the market, it’s a good time to enjoy your movies in incredible detail.

Samsung UBD-K8500 £350 | $250 | samsung.com

TAKE 4K PHOTOS Canon’s 1-series has always had a reputation for great performance and the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II is no exception. Snapping at speeds of up to 14 frames per second with Auto Exposure, and capable of shooting 4K 60p and full-HD, 120p video, it has a new 20.2MP imaging sensor and a digital lens optimiser that helps you instantly put right any problems. Sure, it’s on the expensive side but it’ll do you proud for many years to come.

Canon EOS-1D X Mark II £5,200 | $6,000 | canon.com

DRONES The tiny-factor DJI Mavic Pro is a good example of the direction in which the drone market is heading and we expect you’ll see many smaller, yet sophisticated, fliers coming soon. If they are anything like this then you’re in for a treat. Mavic Pro takes all that is good about a DJI Phantom and puts it in a light, foldable model which can reach a speeds of 65kph (40mph). It can stay in the air for 27 minutes as it records 4K or HD video and take photos with its 12MP camera.

DJI Mavic Pro £1,000 | $1,000 | dji.com

CH E T E R ‘17 FUTU MARCH

ULTRA-THIN, ULTRA HD TV Now that there are more services offering television and movies in 4K, this is the time to upgrade your TV. So consider Sony’s latest – an ultra-thin, Ultra HD HDR set that not only pumps out sharp and bright but throws in a some cool smart TV functions, too. Powered by the company’s X1 4K processor chip, the set offers Android TV. It also lets you pair a PS4 controller and enjoy streamed PlayStation games via Sony’s PS Now service.

Sony KD-55XD9305 £1,500 | $1,500 | sony.com

Taking a tablet

NINTENDO’S NEXT CONSOLE IS ALSO A HANDHELD When the Nintendo Wii was launched just over a decade ago, it caused a fair few eyebrows to be raised. After all, its graphics were distinctly last-gen and it packed less brawn than a powered-up mushroom in Mario. But it also had the remarkable motion-sensing, grannyfriendly Wii Remote which brought a new way of playing to the mass market. As history attests, this ensured the console was a major success. Nintendo will be hoping its forthcoming cartridge-based console will have a similar impact, especially after the follow-up Wii U failed. Only this time around, it’s firmly going after the more hardened gamer rather than encouraging your mum to wave her arms around in the hope of getting a hole-in-one. Called Switch, the new machine looks like a tablet with a couple of ‘Joy-Cons’ on either side of it. But the trick is that these controllers can slide away, bringing other gaming opportunities into play. Whether you slip the main section of the device into a charging dock that’s connected to your television or prop the screen on a table, you can use those pads as normal handheld controllers. And if you don’t like them, then you can use a Nintendo Switch Pro Controller. This is all about versatility.

Switch is unlikely to have a touchscreen and Nintendo isn’t going to be allowing dual-screen gaming as it did with the Wii U

But that’s a good thing. You’ll be able to connect Switch consoles for multiplayer gaming and you can bet your bottom dollar Mario will be making an appearance. A new Zelda and Dragon Quest are due and there’s lot of support from top third parties such as Ubisoft and Activision, too. Game on.

Nintendo Switch TBC | nintendo.com

Modular controllers The Switch’s so-called Joy Cons can be removed for home use and even used seperately for multiplayer games

Secret sp Nintendo will a a price and full for the Switch i January, thoug do know it will powered by a ‘c Tegra processo is common in h powered gamin


The Live Block

CH E T E R RY ‘17 FUTU JANUA

You can also buy a Live Block which lets you switch scales and octaves and manipulate your tunes in real time

2017 tech Preview

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WHY NOT DITCH YOUR PHONE? Look, you’re never going to actually chuck your smartphone in the bin. They are, we would hazard a guess, here to stay forever. What you may want to do, though, is leave it at home from timeto-time, such as when you’re pounding the streets to keep fit. Lucky for you, the Pebble Core will let you do just that. This teeny-tiny device can connect to your keys or slip into your pocket and it doesn’t need to be connected to a phone in order to work. It hooks into the 3G network and it has built-in GPS. It means you can go on a run and have it figure where you are, how far you’ve travelled and the pace at which you’re going. This information is then synced with the market-leading fitness apps from Runkeeper to MapMyRun. Since it can stream Spotify (and store 4GB worth of playlists and audiobooks), you’re able to take your tunes with you. You can also make use of an SOS button if you ever get into trouble while you’re about, alerting a family member. But what makes it an even better fitness device is its integration with Alexa. In that sense, it’s like having an Amazon Echo in your pocket. “Alexa, shall I buy one?” Hell yes!

Pebble Core £80 | $100 | pebble.com

Two programmable buttons Pebble Core is a flexible devic which allows you to use the two buttons to p all manner of tasks such as activating lig ering Ubers

Listen up The Core can speak back when you issue instructions, with the audio being sent to a headset plugged into the 3.5mm jack (there is no built-in speaker)

Android OS Pebble has decided to adopt Android for this device. Don’t worry Apple fans: it’ll still be compatible with iOS

The Loop Block

Lightpad Block The Lightpad, with its 225 LEDs, is the key component of your studio so you need to invest in one of these first. Tap and slide your fingers around it to make various sounds

This block puts recording facilities at your disposal while also allowing you to edit loop and sequence your tunes

CREATE BIG ELECTRONIC BEATS WITH MUSICAL BUILDING BLOCKS It’s fair to say that we’re not all as musical as we sometimes think we are – you only have to watch the X-Factor auditions (and catch a glimpse of Honey G) to realise that. But beat a path to Roli’s door and you may well find that you really do have a hidden talent after all. That’s because its modular Blocks system allows you to connect together various components and create your own amazing-sounding electronic instruments. The concept of this modular music package is simple. By making gestures on the touchsensitive surface of the Block, you’re able to use it as a standalone instrument and create a multitude of sounds. But add a loop Block and

you can record melodies and drums, switch instruments, and play around with looping. A live Block will let you play scales and chords or arpeggiate notes. You can keep adding blocks, Lego-style, building your sound capabilities the more you become au fait with how it all works. It’s as good for beginners as it is for pros too. If you’re still not convinced, then try the free Roli Noise app for iOS. You’ll need this anyway because it provides the software engine for the the studio but it also allows you to play around with beats and melodies on your iDevice. Who knows, you may even become the next Moby.

Roli Blocks £170 | $180 | roli.com Roli Blocks are highly portable


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40 Next Big Things 2017

CH E T E R 2017 FUTU EARLY MICROSOFT’S TRANSFORMING TOUCHSCREEN PC

Easing the strain The Surface Dial will trigger menus and more but Microsoft has also ensured traditional input methods won’t strain your hand and wrists, hence the ergonomic keyboard and mouse

Though Apple Macs have long been the creative choice for professionals, you won’t have to dig deep for an alternative any more. You see, Microsoft has finally got around to creating its very first desktop computer which its calling the Surface Studio and it certainly looks set to steal march on the iMac – which, you should note, failed to get an update in 2016 and instead gained an eye-watering price rise! Set to run a Creators Update of Windows 10, the machine looks similar to Apple’s all-inone computer. Yet the 4.5k Ultra HD 28-inch display is mega slim – Microsoft reckons it’s the thinnest every made at 12.5mm – and it not only serves up a cool 192 pixels per inch but a contrast ratio of 1100:1. More than that, it’s attached to an amazing hinge that lets you push the screen down to a 20-degree, canvas-style orientation. A real touch of genius. But it’s not the only innovation. As well as using the Surface Pen to draw on the screen, you can buy an extra peripheral called the Surface Dial which is placed on to the display, allowing you to press, hold and turn to cycle through radial menus, adjust the volume, scroll around pages and so much more. With a major emphasis on 3D creation, this PC is set to be a true game changer.

Mad for power Creative machines need powerful brains and this PC comes with an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, a Nvidia GeForce GPU and up to 32GB RAM

Pivoting PC tech The hinge lets you adjust the screen to suit different types of work. You can run Microsoft Office without issue but you can also take full advantage of the huge update to Paint: Paint 3D

Surface Studio £2,500 | $3,000 | microsoft.com

A SMARTER WATCH

LIGHTS, CAMERA, GOTCHA

POCKET-SIZE BOOM BOX

GET A ROBOT PAL

Samsung’s latest timepiece, the Gear S3, really does put the smart into the smartwatch. For not only does it look traditional, with a 1GHz dual core processor it is more than capable of pushing a wealth of advanced features to your wrist. Twist the bezel and you can scroll through a large range of apps, each making good of the watch’s always-on AMOLED circular screen. You can also answer calls, keep a check on your health and go for days between charges.

There are lots of security cameras which figure who should and shouldn’t be prowling around your property but if they’ve got into your house, you’re in trouble from the start. Canary Flex is a weathertough HD cam that’s works with an iOS and Android app and it is designed to be used outside as well as indoors, recording video with its wide-angle lens while alerting you to any audio it hears. With night vision and two-way talk on the way, 2017 should feel much safer.

The Beoplay A1 has been designed by industrial designer Cecilie Manz and while you may not have heard of her, this fine-looking Bluetooth speaker is certainly communicating loud and clear. Aside from its aluminium aesthetics, it draws on Bang & Olufsen’s considerable experience, ensuring you get the same musical experience regardless of where you are. It’s also able to deliver a full range deep bass to a low of 40hz thanks to a conical mid-woofer.

We’re not quite at the stage of having robot butlers but you can still make some mechanoid pals dance to your tune. Using its companion app, you can make the Alpha 1S strut some serious moves, downloading various movement programmes or manually getting it to do what you want. Standing 16 inches tall, it also has 16 servo joints. The only downside is that you’ll only manage about an hour’s worth of fun before it flops to the ground. Exhausted, we’d expect.

Samsung Gear S3

Canary Flex

Beoplay A1

Ubtech Alpha S1

£350 | $350 | samsung.com

£160 | $200 | canary.is

£200 | $250 | beoplay.com

£400 | $530 | ubtrobot.com


Insert the pod

2017 tech Preview

You can buy coffee pods from Nespresso but there are also lots of third-party ones available. In either case, you insert them into the top of the machine

023

FILL YOUR LUNGS WITH CLEAN AIR

Add the pressure It’ll take 25 seconds for the heating element to sufficiently warm the water. A 19-bar pressure pump pierces the capsule film and the water flows through the ground coffee

Enjoy your drink As the water continues to be pulled through a needle, the flavoured grounds begin to hit your cup. The grounds themselves are prevented from following thanks to the capsule foil

GET YOUR CAFFEINE FIX AS SOON AS YOU WAKE UP If you want a perfect cup of Joe in the morning, the last thing your blearyeyed peepers and still-stirring brain needs is the hassle of figuring out the coffee machine. But with the Nespresso Prodigio – the company’s first Bluetoothconnected machine –a fresh brew can be waiting for you thanks to its ability to be programmed using your smartphone the night before. By setting a schedule, you can tell it exactly what you want and the time you wish to have it at. The machine enables you to comfortably enjoy your drink in one of three sizes, depending on how much of a kick you need. You can also be kept informed when the machine needs descaling or if you’re running low on capsules. After each brew, the machine ejects the capsule, ready for another to be inserted. There’s a milk frother, too, which is great for cappuccinos.

Of course, you still have to do some prep work since it doesn’t pop the capsule in for you so you’d be looking to keep one inserted, ready for action. You can only prepare one cup, too, so it’s not possible to schedule two coffees in quick succession. But the drinks have that fab coffee shop taste to them and the 19-bar pressure pump helps fill the air with around 900 coffee aromas. All you have to do is wake up and smell it.

Nespresso Prodigio £160 | $200 | nespresso.com

“You still have to do prep work”

Take a deep breathe. Go on, nice and easy. Now exhale. Chances are, if you’re reading this on your sofa at home, you’ll have just taken in a good dollop of leaking solvents from your furnishings and paint, chemicals from an air freshener, some dust, a few mites and perhaps a bit of pollen. Now take a breathe again. Not so easy this time, is it? The fact is, you spend a lot of your time indoors so you really owe it to yourself to fill your lungs with the best air you can. Air purifiers help you do this and yet the technology they tend to use is as old as the hills. Not Molekule. Billed as the world’s first molecular air purifier, this device pulls in a host of indoor pollutants and breaks them down the minutest of levels. Rather than capture pollutants, Molekule destroys them through a process of oxidisation. It works on pesky lung-cloggers 1,000 times smaller than previous filters, with small-sample tests – albeit those carried out by the company itself – showing that it can reduce symptoms among asthma and allergy suffers. You have to replace the filters annually but that means a purchase today will make for a purer 2017. Something that – we dare

Huge tube The purifier will dominate a corner of the room, standing nearly 60cm in height, but its cylindrical shape means it pulls in air from 360 degrees

Carry it around There’s a handle on the top to allow you to move it a desired room. Once it’s activated, the filter inside the tube deconstructs the pollutants

Pumping good air The molecules are then dispersed as harmless carbon dioxide, water and trace elements


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40 Next Big Things 2017

CH E T E R ER ‘17 FUTU OCTOB iPHONE 8 GETS AN ANNIVERSARY UPGRADE As soon as Apple releases a new iPhone, the rumour mill swiftly turns its attention to what the Californian giant is likely to come up with next. Some of those ideas are simply outlandish – there has been persistent talk of illuminating the Apple logo to alert to incoming calls and messages – while others get dismissed at the time but come true later on – removing the headphone jack was laughed at a good while ago but, ta da, there it is (or isn’t, actually) today. You could go as far as saying there’s a cottage industry in second-guessing Apple’s intention for its most important and innovative product to date. But those rumours are in overdrive right now because the iPhone is celebrating its ten-year anniversary in 2017 and, as such, there’s is a strong expectation that Apple is going to pull out all the stops to produce the best handset it has ever made – even though Tim Cook claims such a thing each and every year. Top of the list for most pundits is a design overhaul. The iPhone made its debut on 29 June 2007 as a 3.5-inch device with a metal rear casing. A year later, the iPhone 3G replaced it and heralded a cheaper, plastic rear. From that point, a stark pattern emerged. The iPhone 4 heralded a new design and the 4S looked the same. Likewise, the 5 and 5S, and the 6 and 6S. But the iPhone 7 cut that dead. It looked nearidentical to the 6S. It points to Apple saving a new look to mark Year Ten. But what? Perhaps it will have a screen across its whole front, removing the bezel. Maybe it will use curved wraparound glass. Could it go with an OLED display? All of these are, of course, guesses, although we’d wager that it’ll be lighter and thinner. These things always are. We’d also expect that the handsets will come in at least two sizes. Barclays analyst Blayne Curtis reckons a five-inch iPhone 8 and a 5.8-inch

8 Plus are on the cards and given he correctly figured 3D Touch technology would be present the iPhone 6S, there may be some truth in that. Even so, you should see something special. Ten years is a long time in tech and that’s an achievement worth celebrating. Knowing Apple, it won’t pass up on the opportunity to make a statement. Android handsets (when they’re not exploding) have caught up fast and the iPhone needs to gain some distance again. One thing’s for sure, the iPhone can’t simply rely on a better camera, and faster processor this time and it must roll out the groundbreaking features Apple fans believe were held back this time around. TBC | apple.com

10 YEARS OF THE iPHONE

“the iPhone can’t rely on a better camera this time”

2009

2011

Along with a speedier processor and a 3MP camera, the 3GS included push notification and MMS

The 4S brought an 8MP camera, iOS 5 as well as the Notification Centre, Siri, iMessage and overthe-air updates

2007

2008

2010

2012

Effectively kickstarting the smartphone revolution, the first iPhone introduced a capacitive touchscreen

Apple’s second phone was actually called the iPhone 3G, due to its improved connectivity

A redesign made for a less comfortable feel but the iPhone 4 was a thing of beauty

Ther iPhone 5 turned heads. Apple Maps arrived and Facebook was integrated


2017 tech Preview

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01.ReflexHD-Second Channel, 02.Martin Hajek and Steve Hemmerstaffer, 03.Marek Weidlich, 04.BeginnersTech, 05.iphone-tricks.com

04 01

02

03

05

WHAT CAN WE EXPECT TO SEE? would wired time 01Glass be class 02Getting for wireless 03Olé to OLED 04Calling on Home 05Projecting the future If Apple, as expected, drops the iPhone’s aluminium body then we’d miss the confusion when British Jonny Ive causes when he tries to pronounce the word. But we would certainly welcome a return of the glass body seen in the iPhone 4.

Rumours suggest that Apple will adopt an OLED display for at least one of the iPhone 8 models, most likely the Plus. It seemed to be confirmed by Sharp’s CEO Tai Jeng-wu and it would make for better black levels, contrast ratios and brightness uniformity.

Each year, pundits suggest that Apple will abandon wired chargers in favour of longer-range wireless charging. Bloomberg reports the company is working with partners in America and Asia on technology that doesn’t rely on charging mats.

The physical Home button has been staple of the iPhone’s design and function since the day it was born. However, will Apple put it out to pasture in favour of a virtual button? If the screen stretches edge-to-edge, then perhaps it will.

There are a few portable battery-powered projectors for smartphones would it be a good idea for Apple to allow you to beam what’s on its screen on to a nearby surface or wall? It’ll be great for business people or for playing movies and games.

Likelihood of happening

2013

2014

2016

Apple added new colours fo the 5S but it was the Touch ID fingerprint sensor which added that ‘wow factor’

Up went the size again and this time the newly-designed iPhone 6 was accompanied by an even larger big brother

The SE became known as the four-inch iPhone. It had a faster processor and support for always-on Siri

2013

2015

2016

The iPhone 5C added lots of bold body colours. Both it and the 5S were launched alongside the completely refreshed iOS 7

The iPhone 6S added 3D Touch displays for app shortcuts, a News app, and an enhanced Passbook app

The iPhone 7 is waterproof and kil the 3.5mm headphone jack while the 5.5-inch display iPhone 7 Plus debuted Apple’s dual-lens camera


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40 Next Big Things 2017

‘HER’ TECH IS HERE

CUS E YOUR HONE

CONTROL EVERYTHING

HOME WI-FI REINVENTED

Smart speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Home were hot in 2016, but before they’ve even had time to go mainstream Sony is looking to take them mobile. Like the AI earpiece worn by Joaquin Phoenix in sci-fi movie Her, the Xperia Ear can make appointments, send messages, search Wikipedia and play music all using voice commands. If you’re in a place where you can’t talk, it supports gesture controls, so you can make slight head movements to make commands, no noise needed.

Ever bought a phone and wished it had a better battery life? Or better speakers? Motorola has offered these options with Moto Mods, these attach to any Moto Z using magnets and communicate to the phone so it knows what is connected. So far there are speakers, projector, camera, battery attachments as well as simple cases. Motorola has assured customers that Mods will work with future phones and a development kit is available to purchase through Motorola’s own website.

Having a remote for each device in the house can be cumbersome, so how about one remote that can control everything? Sevenhugs Smart Remote works across Bluetooth, wifi and infrared and is compatible with 25,000 gadgets. You only have to point at a device to take control of it. The remote’s touchscreen display also changes to reflect what you’re controlling, for instance, it’lll show as a volume control for your speaker and a colour palette for your smart bulbs.

We know that it’s hard to be excited over a router but the Eero has some cool features such as allowing you to easily see what speeds you are getting and how many devices are connected. It has parental controls that you can create profiles for individual devices and set times for when the internet can be used, or just pause it when you want. These features can also be controlled using Amazon Echo. It has state-of-the-art security and updates automatically so your network is always secure.

Sony Xperia Ear

Moto Mods

£180 | $220 | sony.com

£15 | $20 | Motorola.com

£240 | $300 | remote.sevenhugs.com

RECORD EVERYTHING YOU SEE Never miss a photo opportunity again with Snap Spectacles. While the moment you were hoping to capture will likely pass you by in the time it takes to get your phone out of your pocket, with these camera-equipped sunglasses you just tap a button on the side of your head and look in the right direction. The sunglasses only shoot ten-to-30second videos, rather than photos, and these take a uniquely-circular form due to the camera’s 115-degree field-of-view. But the fact they are wearable leaves your hands free so you can participate in whatever you’re filming. Spectacles have been created by Snapchat (or just ‘Snap’ as it wants to be called now it is a ‘camera company’). But that doesn’t mean Spectacles are just for selfie-obsessed teenagers. In fact, you can post your videos to any social network or website you like, or indeed just store them on your phone for your private enjoyment. The smart shades are currently only available in the US, being sold through custom vending machines that pop up at a random location and disappear the next day. A more conventional roll out is expected in the future, but in the here and now there is a booming cottage industry of resellers on eBay.

Snap Spectacles £105 | $130 | spectacles.com

Snappy style The glasses only come in one size but are available in three colours: black, teal and coral.

All-day battery The battery will last around a day if used sparingly. It is charged via USB using its carry case

Light’em up In a gesture towards privacy concerns, an LED that lights up to let others know you’re filming.

Sevenhugs Smart Remote

Eero router £160 | $200 | eero.com


2017 tech Preview

The controls You control the Mekamon using a smartphone connected via Bluetooth, this is also how you view the AR games

027

Customise your fighter Parts such as the shields on the legs and the weapons can be removed and changes so the fighter is unique to you

Multiplayer mayhem There are multiplayer battle modes or co-op missions Each allows you to unlock add-ons and abilities for your robot

HOST ROBOT WARS IN YOUR LIVING ROOM When you think of robot fighting toys you will probably think of slow-moving, rigid, humanoid gs that don’t have much to them in terms of th. But Mekamon are customisable robots have a wide range of movements and have riety of game modes for both single or tiple players. The robots have been designed e easy to get started with, but the fighting chanics of the game has depth. There are rent types of attacks and weapon upgrades you can equip. You must also consider t kind of attacks that your opponents will ch and equip the relevant shields before the

battle in order to defend yourself from them. If you want to hone your skills on your own there are single players missions using augmented reality. By completing these missions you can level up the Mekamon and add new abilities. For those who aren’t satisfied with the base model robots they are upgradeable with different weapons, shields and accessories. These parts can be changed on the robot and they aren’t just aesthetic, they have components built in to interact with other Mekamon.

Mekamon £200 | $250 | mekamon.com

“There are different types of attacks”

ET VR-READY TURN YOUR SUBTLY TRACK D SOUND CAR INTO KITT YOUR HEALTH

4D HOME CINEMA FUN

typical headphones that have ound sound will only project nd through the left or right ker, to get true 3D sound the e must move when you move. Ossic does this by tracking head’s movement adjusting sound accordingly so that it feels like the audio is in the m with you. 3D audio comes m not just the left or right, but ve, below and at a distance. It’s tically essential for VR.

You can forget about 3D TVs, the next big thing in home entertainment is the ‘4D’ sofa. Immersit is, essentially, a series of vibration pads that will work with any existing chair or settee. These pads pump up in down in sync with the action on your TV, like the old simulator rides theme parks used to have. Connecting to your AV setup and wirelessly communicating with the pads, it works with both movies and videogames.

Live out all your Knightrider fantasies with the Dashbot. This gadget sits on your dashboard and can connect with your phone via Bluetooth to end text messages, play music, and give directions using Google Map. So far, not so different from CarPlay or Android Auto. What makes it special, other than its at least £100 cheaper than either of those options, is that its open source, so anyone can create new functions for it.

The ‘smart ring’ is a wearable idea that has been bounded around a few times. Apple patented its own idea for a ring device with a built-in touchpad last year, while Visa gave contenders wireless payment rings to use at the Rio Olympics. But the health-tracking Oura Ring might be a better fit for athletes. The Oura Ring pairs with your smartphone and tracks stats such as your heart-rate, body temperature, sleep patterns and more.

SIC X

Dashbot

Oura Ring

Immersit

0 | $500 | ossic.com

£40 | $50 | getchip.com

£260 | $370 | ouraring.com

£160 | $230 | immersit.com


028

40 Next Big Things 2017 Inside the box The Scorpio is set to use a GPU made by chip supremos AMD, capable of pumping out more than four times the graphic power of the Xbox One

ECH T E R U FUT ‘17 INTER W

MICROSOFT’S LIFTED THE LID ON A NEW XBOX You’ve heard of the Xbox One S, right? Well, that’s just a repackaged, smaller-sized Xbox One, albeit one with 4K upscaling capabilities, better connectivity, the power supply built in and an ever-so-slight increase in performance. It’s got an Ultra HD Blu-ray player, of course, but in the race against the PlayStation Pro it’s sadly lagging. But Microsoft isn’t worried because it’s working on Project Scorpio, a forthcoming Xbox which Microsoft is dubbing “the most powerful console ever”. As well as sparking a new console war, it is set to catch up with its rival. With eight CPU cores and six teraflops of power it certainly won’t be a slouch. The console may offer an optional Virtual Reality headset – perhaps made by Oculus – alongside support for 4K and HDR. And Microsoft is at both an advantage here. It can see what Sony has done with its own console and look to improve upon it. The key is that the company is going to make it an easy upgrade because you’ll be able to take all of your Xbox One games and accessories with you. You’ll also be able to brag that games are being rendered at a smooth 60Hz as standard.

Project Scorpio TBC | xbox.com

A Blu-ray player Greater bandwidth Microsoft has confirmed that Project Scorpio is going to have a bandwidth of 320Gb/s which more than spanks the PS4 Pro which has ‘just’ 218Gb/s

Since the Xbox One S came with a Ultra HD Blu-ray player, you can expect the same with Scorpio. You’ll enjoy 4K streaming of the likes of Netflix too

WHO’S AT THE DOOR?

PROJECT THOSE MOVIES

SOUND BUILT TO LAST

DUAL-LENS WAS ONLY THE START

When the doorbell rings, someone inevitably chimes up, “Who’s that?” but with the Ring doorbell you don’t even have to lift your lazy ass off the sofa. By reaching for your smartphone, you’ll be able to take advantage of the bell’s HD camera, to take a peek. You’ll then be able to speak to your visitor and record what they’re doing. With night vision and motion sensors that trigger an alert if someone’s prowling, it’s more futuristic than your standard ear-piercing bell.

While this projector isn’t Sony’s best beamer, the VPL-HW45ES is still top value for money. It outputs at 1,800 lumens which means you don’t have to draw the curtains, and it delivers vivid colours at 1080p from a couple of source boxes plugged into the two HDMI slots. By seeking to smooth out the action with Motionflow technology so that you don’t suffer the blurs of some lesser projectors, it’ll allow you and your friends enjoy movies and boxsets at up to 300 inches.

If you’re looking to get serious about your music but you don’t want to splash out to the tune of thousands of pounds or dollars, strongly consider the Rega Planar 3 turntable. Developed over the course of two years, it certainly looks the part, and it’s the clear, clean sound that will truly impress you. Its RB330 tonearm has been upgraded and the result is greater detail. Vocals are crisp and you can feel as well as hear the power of the bass.

If you were impressed with this year’s dual-lens camera phones, you’ll be wowed by the Light L16. Offering DSLR camera quality, this compact smartphone is covered in 16 different sensors with varying focal lengths. Every picture you take stitches together photos from ten of these sensors, which Light’s creator claims reduces low-light noise and increases dynamic range, making for some truly superior results. Light is setting a truly shining example for 2017.

Ring Doorbell

Sony VPL-HW45ES

Rega Planar 3

Light L16

£160 | $200 | ring.com

£1,850 | $2,000 | sony.com

£625 | $945 | rega.co.uk

£1,100 | $1,700 | light.co


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


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HOW TO BUILD A SMART HOUSE

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Smart Home TEch

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NO NEED TO FLICK A SWITCH Turn on your smart lightbulbs as soon as you get home without touching a button. With no wires, the sensor can be placed anywhere – on a shelf, wall or even the ceiling using either screws or the magnetic base it comes with. Using the Hue app you can select what light will come on, how long it

is on before switching off, its brightness and you can have different settings for day and night. The Hue is powered by two AAA batteries and lasts two years. The sensor also detects daylight so it will know when it is appropriate to turn on the lights.

Phillips Hue Motion Sensor £35 | $30 | meethue.com

ON DOOR INSTALL A RING Attach the spirit level to the mounting bracket, once lined up you can insert the screws and remove the spirit level. Attach the device and tighten the screws.

I’M THINKIN’ ABOUT MY DOORBELL Ignore unwanted guests or talk to unexpected ones. The Ring’s app lets you know when the doorbell has been rung or when its motion detector is set off. You can see and speak through the doorbell’s built-in HD camera and speakers, so whether you are away on holiday or at work, you will know who is at your front door. Ring Video Doorbell £160 | $200 | ring.com

NO KEYS NEEDED WITH THIS SMART DOOR LOCK The pain of having to fumble with your keys whilst stuck in the rain is now a thing of the past – all you need with the Kevo is a Bluetooth signal. You can send ‘eKeys’ to your family or friends from your phone and receive notifications when these keys are used so you know who is in your house. Kevo £35 | $45 | kwikset.com


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How to build a smart home

ROOST SMART BATTERY While there are smart thermostats out there, if you wanted to save time and money then the Roost would be a viable cost-effective option as it can connect to any smoke detector that uses a nine-volt battery. Using Wi-Fi, it sends alerts to your smartphone when the alarm is triggered or you can set it to alert a neighbour or family member. You can also silence false alarms if you’re particularly bad at making toast…

THE KITCHEN

NEVER FORGET TO PICK UP MILK AGAIN

You needn’t waste money or food again by knowing what is in your fridge at any time. With the Smarter FridgeCam’s wide-angle lens you can see everything in your fridge clearly from your smartphone’s screen – it will even alert you if the fridge door has been left open and it has a rechargeable battery that lasts three months with one charge. The FridgeCam’s companion app will also recommend recipes based on what is in your fridge and notify you if your food is about to spoil, so you can get the best from your fridge food. Smarter FridgeCam £100 | $100 | smarter.am

Roost Smart Battery £35 | $35 | getdrop.com

REPLACING YOU BATTERY When you remove your battery from your smoke detector, do not put it in the bin. There are specific areas in shops where you can recycle them.

THE PERFECT CHEF’S ASSISTANT

KNOW WHEN TO SCALE THINGS BACK If you are someone who enjoys hands-on cooking and baking and only wants a little bit of help when it comes to gadgets, the Drop is more of a personal assistant, rather than a sous chef. The app offers step-by-step recipes with videos, and if you don’t have enough of one ingredient, it offers up substitutions. The scale is wirelessly connected to iOS devices via Bluetooth and it has a button with LED feedback letting you keep your iPad out the way of messy ingre Drop Scale £60 | $80 | getdrop.com

Cooking is a time-consuming process and sometimes you have other things to be doing without having to worry about checking on your food in the oven. That’s where the Actifry Smart oven can help, it weighs your food for you and adjusts the time and temperature accordingly, it also notifies you how your meal is coming along via its app. The app also offers over 200 recipes that can adjust details depending on the number of people needed. The paddles inside the device even stir the food for you. Tefal ActiFry Smart XL £300 | $375 | tefal.com

NO SOCK GETS LEFT BEHIND! Don’t you hate it when you turn on the washing machine only to find when you turn around that you’ve forgotten to throw something in? The WW8500 is here to help; you can pause the wash cycle and open the small door and slide in any forgotten items into the existing wash. To makes things more convenient, you can check on the wash through your smartphone to see how long is left, it also detects problems inside the machine and notifies you of any solutions. Samsung WW6500 AddWash £750 | $940 | samsung.com


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£250 | $250 nest.com

Nest Learning Thermostat Control your house’s heating from you smartphone. The Nest learns from your patterns to eventually work on its own to help you save money on your heating bills.

SMART THERMOSTAT There are an increasing number of smart thermostats on the market, all promising to save you money by only turning on your heating when you actually need it. However, the biggest name in smart thermostats is Nest Labs, the Google subsidary. As well as automating your heating, the Nest Learning Thermostat is a hub for dozens of other products. Nest recommends getting in an engineer, but you can also fit it yourself with our step-by-step.

Let’s look at your wires.

Remove the cover of your thermostat. Which wires do you see?

THERMOSTAT RLV4305 3500 W (NI) @ 240VAC 60 Hz 1750 W (NI) @ 120VAC 60 Hz !

See thick, stranded wires held together by wire nuts? Nest is not compatible

!

Do you have two labels for each wire? If you’re not sure which to use click here

Did you enter all of your wires?

CAUTION HIGH VOLTAGE - DISCONNECT POWER BEFORE SERVICING

Continue...

Compatible with fan equipped convector (s i t l)

1 Check compatibility

It’s possible the Nest isn’t compatible with your heating. To check, remove the cover of your thermostat and note what wires you see. Go to nest.com/widget/ compatibility to check. If they’re not right, speak to a professional heating installer about changing the system.

2 High voltage?

Also, if the thermostat is labelled 100, 120 or 240 volts then the Nest will not be compatible with your system. If you get all these things sorted, however, you are good to go. Switch off the power to your house (or just to the central heating system, if you can navigate your fuse box) and remove the cover to your thermostat.

3 Take a photo

A good tip here is to take a photo of the wires coming into the old thermostat. That way you’ll be able to check throughout the installation to make sure you’re connecting the right wires to the right part of the Nest. Now get the labels that come with the installation guide and attach them to the correct wires.

thermostat thermostat

COOLING

75

COOLING

75 42%

4A level base

Attach the Nest base to the wall with the self-tapping screws that come with the kit – remember to use the base’s built-in spirit level to make sure everything’s nice and straight. Connect up the wires and simply click the main Nest box into place on the base. The DIY part is now over!

5Ready to go

Switch the Nest on, and if everything’s connected correctly you’ll be asked to go through a set-up sequence that includes connecting the Nest to your home Wi-Fi network. This step be problematic so if you get stuck at any point here, then feel free to contact Nest’s helpful technical support for assistance.

6Download the app

Now the Nest is all set up you’ll need to head to either the Apple Store or the Google Play store to download the app. Once done, you will be able to control Nest with your smartphone, whether it’s an iPhone or an Android phone you’re covered. Set up an account and you’re good to go!


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How to build a smart home

THE LIVING ROOM

SUPERCHARG YOUR LAN If you’re going to have lot of devices in the ho all utilising Wi-Fi, it on makes sense to have a router in the home tha can deal with the heav workload. With four LA ports in the back for w connections and two USB ports for printers other network devices TP-Link is suited for y smart home needs.

THE SMARTEST TV AROUND If you’re going to have a smart home you’re obviously going need a suitably smart TV. Powered by Android, this Bravia grants you access to Netflix and other streaming services, and you can also stream video from your smartphone or tablet. It also has PlayStation Now, allowing you to play games without needing a console. Sony Bravia 49XD7005 £640 | $795 | sony.com

TP-Link AC1900 £100 | $130 | tp-link.com

TAILOR-FIT YOUR HEATING Nest is the most well-known smart thermostat and for good reason. It has a simple and cool design, it’s easy to use and it saves you money on your bills. Its most interesting feature is that it learns your routine over the first week after being installed, it then creates a schedule based on your heating habits. The Nest is controlled via smart devices to change heating times or to view a summary of your energy consumption. Nest Learning Thermostat £250 | $250 | nest.com

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KEEP AN EYE ON THINGS WHILST YOU’RE AWAY If you want to ensure all the tech in your smart home is safe, why not do it with a smart device? With facial recognition technology the device can tell the difference between a family member and a stranger. If it detects someone it doesn’t recognise an alert is sent to your phone. All footage captured is saved onto a microSD card, if you don’t have one, Neatatmo includes one with the device. Netatmo Welcome £200 | $200 | netatmo.com

NEST IT WELL Make sure you place the Nest somewhere in your house where your frequent, that way the temperature that the device reads will be closer to the one that you are actually feeling.

A SMART PLUG The WeMo allows you to turn on any device from your smart device. Why buy a whole new smart home gadget to be able to turn something on and off remotely when you can buy a smart plug for a fraction of the price that can turn your upgrade your existing device? The set-up process is pretty simple, all you need is the WeMo switch, a smartphone and a wireless router.

1Plug it in

Plug the WeMo device into the electrical outlet you are going to use and turn the power on the wall. The WeMo’s LED will light up to indicate that there is power being supplied through it. Once that is done, it’s time to download the WeMo app through Google Play or iOS store.

2App, app and away

Open up the app, you will be asked what device you want to setup, select WeMo Switch. Exit the app and go to your Wi-Fi settings and select WeMo’s network, then go back into the app and connect to your home’s Wi-Fi through the WeMo app.

3You’re good to go

Now that your switch is all ready to go, you can customise how it appears on the app. You can give it a name and an icon, so you can tell the difference from your other plugs – after all, we don’t want to be turning on a stereo in the middle of the night when we were fumbling for the lights.


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How to build a smart home

SMART LIGHTS Smart lightbulbs are one of the most common features of a connected home. As well as allowing you to remotely turn your lights on and off (as well as check they are definitely off once you’ve left the house and have a nagging worry they’re not), every lightbulb we’ve ever tested have use LEDs. This means they use less energy, produce less heat, and last much longer While Philips Hue colour-changing bulbs are one of the best-known brands, there are lots to choose from, including LIFX, Elgato Avea and Belkin Wemo. For our set-up guide we opted for Hive Active Lights (available from just £19), but most smart bulb installation follows similar steps, including setting up a bridge or a hub to connect to your home wi-fi.

1 Connect the hub

2 Begin installation

3 Fit the bulb

4Complete pairing

5Dim the lights

6Create a schedule

To begin, you need to set up your Hive Hub, which allows your smart bulbs to talk to each other. Plug it into your router using the Ethernet port, log in to the online dashboard at hivehome.com, and enter the six-character code on the base of the hub once you are prompted to.

Once your Hive Active Light appears on the screen of your/ dashboard, the physical device will flash once more to confirm it’s connected. You’ll be given the option to name the bulb (we suggest ‘Bedroom’ or ‘Living Room’ rather than, say, ‘Bob’) and press Save to complete setup.

Once the hub is set up, you can keep using the online dashboard or switch to the mobile app for added convenience. Select the Menu button, then Install Devices, and follow the on-screen instructions. The hub will then start searching for your Hive Active Light.

Using either the app or dashboard, you now have remote control of your Hive Active Light. As well as being able to turn the lights on and off with a press of the large, circular button in the centre of the app, you can adjust the bulb’s brightness by adjusting the dial round the edge of button.

Ensure the wall switch for the light is switched off before fitting the bulb. Your Hive Active Light is fitted in the same way traditional bayonet or Edison screw bulbs are. Once fitted, switch the light on at the wall and it will flash on and of to indicate that it is trying to connect to the Hub.

Select Schedule and you can also set specific times for the bulb to come on, for example, at the time you wake up in the morning and off when you normally go to work. You can cancel schedules, but the app will remember them so you can set them up more quickly in the future.


Smart Home TEch

THE BEDROOM

WAKING UP WON’T BE SO BAD

SIMPLE STREAMING The Roku Streaming Stick is small and wireless so it can in f iPl wit sm Ro £4 ro

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WAKE UP TO YOUR AVOURITE SONGS reat bedside companion, the Beddi has B ports for charging devices, a wake-up t, and it can connect to other smart ices such as Philips Hue and Nest. Beddi has smart buttons that can be tomised to work with different apps h as Spotify, WeMo switch and more. can set a Spotify playlist to play in the rning to kick your day off in style. ddi 0 | $100 | ttidesign.com

Hue lights are great for the bedroom, as having light gradually appear is the best way to wake up, and these bulbs can mimic a relaxing sunrise. With the companion app you can choose between a wide variety of colours or simply dim the lights to the right level. You can also use the app to see if you’ve left lights on – or maybe if you’re out and want to give the impression you’re in, switch them on from your mobile. Hue lightbulbs can also be turned on and off using Apple SmartHome or Amazon Echo. Philips Hue Starter Kit £60 | $70 | meethue.com

SLEEP SMARTER The Nest thermostat can work with either the Jawbone UP fitness band or Withings Aura sleep tracker to turn down you’re hitting once it knows you’ve turned in

A DUVET OF DREAMS FITNESS, BUT MADE A BIT MORE FUN The VXR 475 has 24 preset workouts each with their own goal, be it increasing endurance or just burning calories. Its cushioned seat with lumbar support allows you sit in a relaxed position whilst you pedal away, and when you are sat back, working out you can watch your tablet device on the provided bracket, it rests at about head height. Or if you’d rather just work out to some music, the device has an audio port for headphones. NordicTrack VXR 475 Recumbent Cycle £600 | $745 | nordictrack. com

This cover will go over any mattress and tracks your sleep data. It works along with other smart devices such as Nest so if it gets too cold the mattress will heat up or cool down if it’s too hot. It learns what time you get into bed so it can adjust the mattress’ temperature to an ideal temperature, ready for when

THE SMARTEST SCALES What sets the Drop Scale apart from other smart scales is its ability to measure cardiovascular health by checking your pulse wave velocity and heart-rate. Yes, it can tell you whether your heart is healthy or not, just from just the sole of your feet. It takes into account your age and, depending on the results, it will give advice on how to improve your livelihood. Along with these stats you can also check your weight, BMI, muscle mass percentage and bone mass. Drop Scale £150 | $180 | withings.com


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How to build a smart home

THE BATHROOM

IT’S A TV AND A MIRROR The key to great smart home tech is its ability to blend into your home’s decor and the Aquatech TV is a master at this. Normally, it looks like your typical mirror but underneath the reflective surface is a fully-functioning waterproof TV. It comes with Freeview HD built in but it also has AV, SCART, HDMI as well as USB inputs so you have plenty of options with your entertainment. Using a fullHD Samsung display, the TV has been engineered to not steam up even when the room gets humid. Aquatech Bathroom TV £500 | $625 | aquatek.tv

THE MOST HIGH-TECH HAIRDRYER YOU WILL EVER BUY The Dyson Supersonic doesn’t just look cool, it has a microprocessor built into it that works to make the hairdrying process easier on your hair. The dryer measures the heat exiting the device 20 times a second, processing the information and adjusts it to the ideal temperature so it doesn’t damage your hair. Dyson Supersonic £300 | $400 | dyson.com

MORE REASON TO SING IN THE SHOWER Singing in the shower is a guilty pleasure we all have, admit it. The Moxie channels this love, allowing you to stream audio from your smartphone, MP3 player or laptop via Bluetooth. The speaker itself is connected wirelessly to the showerhead via magnets and it can be inserted and removed easily from the showerhead and placed in other parts of the bathroom and it has a rechargeable battery that lasts around seven hours on each charge. While Kohler has smaller nozzles that fit the wireless speaker, we like the ‘Rainhead’ – it has an eight-inch diameter and 80 nozzles spraying 2.5 gallons of water per minute. Kohler Moxie Showerhead Large £260 | $300 | kohler.com

FACIAL RECOGNITION BRUSHING The Oral-B Genius monitors the area of your mouth that you are cleaning and tells you if you are brushing your teeth properly.

A GUIDING LIGHT TO THE LOO

A DENTIST IN YOUR HAND The Oral-B Genius is like having a dentist guide you through the cleaning process in real time. It can detect pressure and warns if you’re using too much, it will also slow down the brush speed to protect your gums. By connecting the toothbrush to your phone via its app, you can track your cleaning and receive feedback for the best clean possible. For those who travel often, the Genius comes with a travel case that not only charges the toothbrush but can also charge your smartphone at the same time. Oral-B Genius 9000 £140 | $175 | oralB.com

We’ve all been there, you’ve gone into the bathroom but not wanted to turn on the light in case it wake up your partner, or maybe you don’t want to be blinded by the bright light yourself. The Illumibowl is a nightlight that detects movement and turns on an LED inside the toilet bowl. It has a flexible arm to fit onto any ‘throne’ and has nine colour options. Illumibowl £15 | $20 | illumibowl.com


Smart Home TEch

THE GARDEN A ROBO MOWER THAT DOESN’T NEED YOUR HELP Robotic lawn mowers are not as popular as robot hoovers but they are just as useful. The grass cut by the iMow is returned to the ground, meaning the soil is fed keeping it healthy. This then means that the machine never has to be emptied. You can set up a perimeter with a special wire and the iMow learns where these are to avoid going to any unwanted areas; if it ‘finds’ any obstacles it will simply go around them. Viking claims that the iMow can mow an average garden in two hours. iMow £1,000 | $1,250 | viking-imow.co.uk

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STAY WARM ALL YEAR ROUND Tech hasn’t reached a level where we can change the weather, so garden parties end up with everyone fleeing indoors where it’s warm. The Cronus IV fixes this, however, by outputting heat in 360 degrees with two heating elements. A remote is used to control the temperature so everyone is comfortable. Cronus IV £400 | $495 | chillchaser.co.uk

PUT IT ANYWHERE The Arlo Pro is weatherproof so you can install it anywhere. The suggested height for security cameras is 7ft as it’s just the right height to see people’s faces.

ECO-FRIENDLY WITH A WOW FACTOR

THE PERFECT SECURITY GUARD The Arlo pro may be the most versatile outdoor security camera you can buy for your home, and it’s wire-free. With its motion and audio detection you will be sent alerts via your smartphone if any unsavoury types are lurking around, and you can view the feed through the Arlo app. It saves the past seven day’s worth of footage to its cloud, free of charge. It has a speaker and microphone, as well as a smart siren. Arlo Pro £190 | $250 | arlo.com

These solar-powered lights have a battery life of up to 22 hours. Using its companion app you can control lights individually or, if you have more than one, you can group them and program them as one unit. The lights can change colour and can programmed to pulse a single colour or go through a spectrum. You can make a light show to add to a garden party. Mipow Playbulb Garden £25 | $40 | mipow.com

GARDENING MADE MUCH EASIER Looking after a plant is often more work that you anticipate, and the Parrot Pot fixes this by doing most of that work for you. The pot has four sensors for light, temperature, moisture and fertiliser levels, this data is sent to you phone along with tips on how to best take care of it. The Parrot Pot app has data on over 8,000 plants and gives real-time advice on how to keep them at their healthiest. Parrot Pot £130 | $150 | parrot.com


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High spec, low cost heroes

HIGH-SPEC, LOW-COST

HEROES

YOU DON’T HAVE TO SPEND A LOT OF MONEY TO GET AN iPHONE KILLER ANY MORE


High spec, low cost heroes

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£400 | $440 oneplus.net

Optic AMOLED screen

OnePlus 3T

The AMOLED screen on the OnePlus 3T at FHD resolution delivers perfect blacks and low power consumption with Gorilla Glass 4 protection

With each iteration of the device OnePlus has got incrementally closer to its ‘flagship-killer’ mantra – the company’s latest handset, the 3T, is the best effort to date.

Unprecedented memory size

Supercharged processor

As most flagships move to 4GB RAM, the OnePlus 3T ships with an impressive 6GB of fast LPDDR4 memory and 64GB of onboard storage

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 quad-core processor is a veritable powerhouse. With the latest Kyro cores, the CPU with its Adreno 530 GPU is fast and frugal

Dash charging type-C Like its predecessor, the OnePlus 3T has a USB C port, now supporting super-fast dash charging for a day’s power in 30 mins

F

or phone manufacturers, building a sub-flagship device has always been about compromise. When designing a top-of-the-range phone, the spec sheet virtually writes itself: the latest processor, best camera, highestquality screen, finest materials available etc., but when it comes to devices that sit below the best handsets on the market, getting the balancing act between price and performance right is difficult. While the very highest spec phones now see only incremental improvements with each release, what we have seen in recent times is huge advances in the quality and performance of cheaper devices –which is particularly reflected in the overall experience of using one. Crucially, using a mid-range or even relatively low-end device no longer means having to tolerate poor performance in any regard – all but the most demanding of users could likely easily live with a sub£150 handset. A solid place to start when choosing a new handset, as well as working out a budget, is determining exactly what your requirements are. Is a great battery most important to you, or is it a good screen? How important is the camera? How long do you expect to keep your phone (this will impact the importance of manufacturer software updates)? Do you like to tweak the software on your phone?

“No matter your budget, you can now reasonably expect a modern processor” An interesting option to enable a buyer to get the best performance per pound is to import devices from abroad, from lesserknown manufacturers such as Xiaomi, LeEco, Gionee and many more. This comes with risks of its own around quality control, warranty, and network support but again as low and mid-range devices become far more competitive against their flagship peers, it is a surprisingly compelling option. If there is one thing that the rise of good value, SIM-free phones makes clear it is that unless you really are going for the topend handsets, committing to a 24-month contract with an operator isn’t a great idea. With many incredibly good SIM-only now readily available, buying your phone outright is surely the best option.

THE RAW COMPONENTS Typically the headline features of a phone are the speed of the processor and the amount of memory/storage it has. Until very recently,

picking up a low or mid-tier phone meant getting a slow CPU, 1GB RAM or less and 8GB storage… although 4GB devices like the EE Kestrel really weren’t that long ago! Thankfully, these times are well and truly behind us. No matter your budget, you can now reasonably expect a modern processor, at least 2GB RAM and at least 16GB storage. Realistically, we would recommend these as the minimum requirements for a modern Android device. Less RAM will cause issues with applications being switched out of memory and reduced storage will lead to space problems as built-in applications are updated – and that’s before you start installing your own apps! While a number of phones support microSD expansion, it’s best to avoid this as an alternative to onboard storage. Even with storage adoption in Marshmallow, it’s not a viable solution as not everything can be moved to external storage. At the higher end, the leading processor now is unquestionably the Snapdragon 820. Together with the Exynos 8890 included in some Samsung devices, the CPU is powerful,


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High spec, low cost heroes

ONE PLUS 3 Pros

3.5MM AUDIO JACK

Just like the iPhone 7, Android phones will ultimately lose their 3.5mm headphone socket. But it’s not happened yet!

DUAL SIM SUPPORT

If you want to use a work and personal SIM in your phone, the OnePlus 3T is ideal with two nano slots.

Cons

ONE SIZE ONLY

The OnePlus 3 comes in one size only – 5.5”, the same as the iPhone 7 Plus. Smaller phone fans should look elsewhere.

128GB MAX

While the iPhone 7 is available with up to 256GB of storage, the OnePlus 3T maxes out at 128GB.

Motorola consistently produces budget phones with great build quality

iPHONE 7

Vs

Pros

DUAL-CAMERA LENS

If you opt for the iPhone 7 Plus – which is 5.5 inches, just like the OnePlus – you’ll get the iPhone’s new dual-lens setup with telephoto.

WATERPROOFING

The iPhone 7 features IP67 waterproofing, which means you can dunk it in one metre of water for 30 minutes.

Cons PRICE

Apple is a premium brand that is infamous for its pricing – an equivalent iPhone 7 Plus to the OnePlus 3T is double the price.

LIGHTNING LOCK-IN

While the OnePlus 3 uses the open USB-C standard, an iPhone means being locked into the Apple ecosystem.


High spec, low cost heroes

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Available for just £350, we don’t mind testing the Sony Xperia Z3’s waterproofing claim

“Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) will make a big difference to the quality of your pictures” The demise of plastic presented a challenge around a fledgling technology – wireless charging. Today, Samsung is the only manufacturer that is actively supporting the concept, made possible by its current flagship devices having glass backs. While wireless charging isn’t impossible with metal devices (Qualcomm has demonstrated some reference designs), it is certainly more challenging and the appetite for wireless charging in the market as a whole seems to have been diminished.

KILLER CAMERA If there is one area where the latest, most expensive phones still have a significant lead, it’s around the camera. The most expensive Android device you can buy today, the Google Pixel, has probably the best phone camera ever. Close behind is the S7/S7 Edge, which also attracts a very premium price. The mobile market has replicated that of the compact and DSLR camera, in that the megapixel race

is well and truly over. While 23 or 21 megapixel sensors were not uncommon in recent years, most manufacturers have reduced the resolution of phone cameras to 16 or even 12 megapixels, therefore enabling them to use a larger pixel size with the intention to capture more light, which provides a huge benefit when taking photos in low-light conditions. Only Sony continues to buck the trend with its 23 Megapixel Exmor RS sensor. When choosing a device, if the quality of the camera is particularly important, there are some key things to look for. As well as the resolution and pixel size, Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) will make a big difference to the quality of your pictures – again, particularly in more challenging conditions. A current trend is to have multiple sensors on a device. This can be to provide bokeh/post-photo focusing effects or, as seen on the Huawei P9 and its mid-range Honor 8 sibling, as a secondary monochrome sensor in order to enhance all photos.


Previously a Samsung-exclusive, the panel is now making its way onto devices from other manufacturers – the Mate 9 Pro and Xiaomi Note 2 both bear an uncanny resemblance to Samsung’s flagship. How much value does the technology add? From a usage perspective, none. From a ‘looking cool’ perspective? More! The recently-announced Mi Mix device from Xiaomi takes screen innovation a step further with impossibly tiny bezels and a curved top, but what of the low-to-mid range of smartphones? The main technologies that have filtered down from flagships are 2.5D (curved edge) screens and gorilla glass protection. Some devices do still ship without scratch resistance or even an oleophobic coating to reduce fingerprints, so check carefully for these before purchasing!

SOFTWARE SUPPORT

The Huawei Mate 9 is the first Chinese phone to support Google’s Daydream VR

It’s not uncommon now to find five, eight or even 13 Megapixel cameras on the front of a device and actually, this is one area where the difference between a low end device and a flagship device is less apparent. Selfie cameras are typically ‘good enough’, with innovation often being provided via software – Chinese devices in particular are more likely to include beauty modes, age prediction features and fun effects.

STUNNING DISPLAY Thankfully, if you buy a phone today, you are unlikely to get a resolution lower than 1280 x 720, regardless of the screen size – which is just fine by us. In addition, you will get an IPS screen, perhaps AMOLED on higher-end

devices and for all but the most discerning of viewers, you are very unlikely to be dissatisfied with the display. It used to be the case that you could pick up a low-end phone and have poor touch performance or poor viewing angles, but that simply isn’t the case any more – and for that we are thankful! While many entry-level devices have 720p screens, 1080P and QHD can be found on more expensive devices. So how important is the higher resolution? This depends on the size of the screen, of course, but Huawei’s newly-announced flagship Mate 9 packs a 1080P screen at a size of 5.9 inches – that should tell you all you need to know. At the high end there is some genuine screen innovation, with the S7 Edge and nowdeparted Note 7 featuring a curved screen.

“If you buy a phone today, you are unlikely to get a resolution lower than 1280 x 720”

The reality of life as an Android user is that software support, particularly around future OS updates, is unfortunately something of a lottery. This is true even if you buy a flagship, but it is particularly true at the low end. Some manufacturers are better than others, but with the lack of any cast-iron guarantees, when picking up a cheaper device, it’s often wise to assume that the Android version it ships with is where it’ll stay. It is worth checking on past performance from the manufacturer however as an indication to likely future commitments! Surprisingly, Huawei’s online sub-brand Honor has shown to be particularly good in this regard, with all devices since the aging 4X updated to Marshmallow. Motorola, too, has done well with its range, although the rate of updates seems to have slowed since its acquisition by Lenovo. Samsung’s record is patchy at best, which is particularly disappointing given the resources obviously at their disposal. Choosing a device that’s not a Nexus or Pixel invariably means choosing a customised version of the Android operating system. Some manufacturers have a lighter touch (Lenovo, the now-defunct CyanogenOS, modern HTC Sense) while others effectively reskin Android completely (Huawei/Honor’s EMUI, Xiaomi’s MIUI). Opinion on these tweaked Android builds is very much a case of personal preference – while often a number of useful features are added to the OS, it can be at the expense of a true Android modern (material design) look and feel, particularly in the area of the notification pull-down. This isn’t limited to the lower-end devices, of course, even flagship devices are at the mercy of manufacturers’ insistence that they have to put their own stamp on stock Android.


High spec, low cost heroes

045

THE BEST SUB-£150 BUDGET SMARTPHONES

BARGAIN CYANOGEN OS

SURPRISINGLY CAPABLE KIRIN

THE LATEST G

Wileyfox Swift £100 | $125 | wileyfox.com

Honor 5C £135 | $170 | hihonor.com

Moto G4 £150 | $150 | motorola.co.uk

THE OPERATOR OPTION

RETURN OF A LEGEND

THE ARGOS PHONE

Vodafone Smart Ultra 7 £135 | $170 | shop.vodafone.co.uk

ZTE Blade V7 Lite £120 | $150 | carphonewarehouse.com

Bush Spira D3 £150 | $185 | argos.co.uk

Cyanogen OS is as close as you’ll get to ‘stock Android’ without buying a Nexus, and the Swift is all the better for it. With a great screen, capable processor, expandable storage and a OnePlus-like sandstone finish, it’s impressive.

Vodafone’s Smart Ultra 6 gained a cult following amongst Android fans with its 5.5inch screen, speedy CPU, ample RAM and storage at a small price. The Ultra 7 is more of the same, with improved specs, build and feel.

The Honor 5C is Honor’s entry-level device, but has a surprisingly capable Kirin 650 processor and a great camera. The UK model loses the Chinese variant’s fingerprint sensor, but it’s still an decent device at the price.

In the early days of Android, the Orange San Francisco was legendary as a great value device, and it was a rebranded ZTE Blade. The brand returns with a great spec at an impressive price, including a fingerprint reader.

The Moto G was perhaps the first device to really show that buying a cheaper phone didn’t have to be a poor experience. The latest version grows to a 5.5-inch screen and, like the original, punches above its weight.

Bush is now an Argos-owned brand and has a range of Android devices which are surprisingly good. The D3 has a large screen, capable camera, expandable storage and dual-SIM support together with a sleek metal body.


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048

Party ON

25 gadget to supercharge your next shindig Compact control At the heart of your DJ experience is your DDJ-WEGO4, a sophisticated controlling unit that’s got everything you need in one compact little package

Tweak that tune It’s not just about fading in and mixing your tracks either – why not show off your newly-adopted hobby/career with an in-built set of jog wheels for scratching?

KICKSTART THE PARTY (AND YOUR DJ CAREER)

Whether you’ve always wanted to become the next Eric Prydz or simply the best wedding disco maestro in town, the thought of taking to the decks can still be a little intimidating at first. That’s why turntable expert Pioneer has come up with an all-inone Starter Pack that has everything you need to be dropping beats and raising roofs like a pro. Including powerful speakers, headphones, a controller deck and all the relevant software, the Pioneer DJ Starter Pack doesn’t need anything else to get going either – just connect everything up, download your included software and you’re ready to start spinning those discs...

Pioneer DJ Starter Pack £375 | $460 | pioneerdj.com

Mix like a pro Reduced in size it may be, but the DDJ-WEGO4 has all the faders, tempo sliders, EQ knobs and crossfader you need to mix tunes


NeW Year’s Eve Tech

Sultry surround sound

049

TURN IT UP

Along with a front-loaded bass feature, each DM-40 has a soft dome tweeter fitted with DECO convex diffusers that enables the speaker to project sound in all directions

Turbosound Milan M10 The best loudspeakers bring the best audio that can make your bones rattle, but they are often clunky beasts that take a serious amount of muscle to just load them off a van. The Milan M10 changes all that, creating a powerful ten-inch loudspeaker that packs a switchable 100Hz high-pass filter, 600-Watt power and two-way range.

£335 | $340 | music-group.com

Sony PS-HX500 These days, DJ mixers and controllers are designed and built with digital media in mind, but once upon a time vinyl was the musical platform of choice. So with vinyl receiving something of a revival at the moment, why not invest in a sleek, slick turntable that enables you to play records and capture audio in super high quality?

Double the trouble The Pioneer DJ Starter Pack doesn’t come with one, but two DM-40 speakers to bring your monster mega mix to life – giving you twice the audio power in one package

£450 | $600 | sony.com

Pioneer Pro DJ HDJ2000MK2-K DJ Headphones While the headphones included in the Pioneer DJ Starter Pack are fine, if you start taking DJing seriously then it’s time to invest in some good cups. Pioneer’s flagship set, the HDJ-2000MK2-K, offers lowvolume air chambers for great sound.

£230 | $400 | pioneerdj.com

AKAI Professional MPD218 Synth Pad

Comfort and rotation These headphones are lightweight so they won’t pinch from long periods of use, while the 60-degree twisting arm means you can go for the classic one-ear setup at the flick of a wrist

Want to do more than just play a few tunes and fade them in and out? Then you need a synth pad that looks professional but is easy enough to use yourself. The AKAI MPD218 is portable, making it perfect for a party, and has 16 fat MPC pads for creating the ultimate beat fest.

£80 | $100 | akaipro.com

Soundboks Speaker

Optimised for dance The HDJ-700 headphones have been built with dance music in mind with narrow ear pads and 40mm driver units to give you a powerful bass and great sound insulation

Not every party is going to be contained within four walls, so if you’re going external with your tunes you’re going to need a speaker that’s built to operate in the wild. The Soundboks, which had a successful Kickstarter campaign at the start of the year, offers a battery-powered speaker with an incredible 119dB of audio oomph.

£575 | $760 | soundboks.com


050

Party ON

MUSIC WITH COLOUR Sure, it’s great to be able to hear your tunes pumping away, but surely you’d want to see them as well? Well, you’re in luck because few speakers come as party-ready as the JBL Pulse 2. With two 40mm drivers you get serious punch in the audio department, while its in-built multi-LEDs, Bluetooth connectivity and splashproof design make it perfect for parties.

JBL Pulse 2 Speaker £130 | $200 | jbl.com

LIGHT UP THE PARTY Are you taking your shindig into the great outdoors? Well, you’re going to need to keep things illuminated when night descends, so why not add a little sparkle to proceedings with the Solar String Lights from Panpany? For a start all 50 bulbs are waterproof, so a little drizzle isn’t going to dampen your party parade, and since they’re solar charged, the firm promises up to eight hours of illumination on one full charge. Not bad, eh?

Panpany 50 LED Solar String Lights

ADD A LITTLE DISCO FEVER

£10 | $15 | ipanpany.com

Disco balls might be a little retro, but they can transform any room with a wash of colour and light so they’re well worth adding to your party plans. With the Audio Party Ball from ION, you don’t have to set up a painful rig either, simply fit it into any ceiling light socket and the clever little device will start working from the off. There’s even an extension cable and hanging hook included, meaning you can still use it anywhere in the home.

ION Audio Party Ball £50 | $50 | ionaudio.co.uk

Philips Hue Go Smart light bulbs have been around a while, and Philips Hue range stands as one of the most innovative. With a choice of 16 million colours (no, really, there are that many colours), you can adjust multiple bulbs from your phone at once and make every party or casual gathering feel perfectly lit. The Hue Go is a portable lamp version, so can use it indoors or out.

£80 | $80 | philips.com

DUSIEC Mini LED RGB Crystal Magic Ball

RockJam Fog Machine SuperKit

When using a disco ball isn’t possible, how about investing in the next best thing? LED RGB domes are a sure-fire hit at parties. This one from DUSIEC, offers a three-colour setup with the ability to control its rotational speed from a small control panel on the side or with handy voice commands.

Whether you’re having a themed party, adding a little atmosphere to the wedding dance floor or simply attempting to recreate the Thriller video in your own home, a fog machine such as this one from RockJam is a must. The Super Kit comes with a multicoloured light projector, one litre of fog fluid and both wired and wireless remotes.

£15 | $25 | amazon.com

£40 | $50 | amazon.com

Fortune ST-15R Super Lighted LED Serving Tray Parties often mean food and nibbles, but who wants to serve out much on boring old trays and plates that disappear into the background? So add an extra lit-up dimension to your party venue of choice with these 15-inch serving trays which cycle through random colours for a gastronomic rave of the senses.

OMO+ Optical Musical Object Here’s a party piece that nobody is likely to forget – the OMO+ (or Optimal Musical Object). For a start it floats on water (so it’s totally waterproof), and boasts a multicolour LED light show that shifts to the beat of the music. It’s powerful t00, with four speakers and two subwoofers, so your Bluetoothed tunes will get all the oomph they need.

£90 | $25 |bit.ly/fortunelight £155 | $195 | amazon.com


New Year’s Eve Tech

051

THE BARTENDER’S SWISS ARMY KNIFE We’ve all been through this one – finding yourself stuck with a bottle without a bottle opener or corkscrew in sight. This is when the Bar10der comes to the rescue. Each one is fitted with ten utilities (muddler, knife, reamer, stirrer, channel knife, strainer, jigger, corkscrew, zester, bottle opener) and is made from high-grade stainless steel, so it won’t go rusty on you.

Quench Bar10der Multi-Tool £35 | $40 | thebar10der co uk

Panasonic MJ-L500 Blender

John Lewis Glass Recipe Cocktail Shaker

If you’re making a perfect punch or a naughty smoothie, then you need a great juicer to make all that fruit count. The MJ-L500 from Panasonic uses a stainless steel crew that twists and presses the fruit, while the slow juicing feature prevents juice discoloration, separation and while maintaining flavour and vitamins. This one comes with a neat frozen treat attachment for whipping up cool desserts.

Making cocktails is great fun, but remembering the right measurements for your favourite combo can be a struggle, especially if the party is already in full swing. This classy little shaker from John Lewis will have you covered though, thanks to the measurements for six different cocktails marked directly on the glass itself. The shaker also comes with a stainless steel lid and collar, so it’ll keep your chosen tipple and mixer contained while you’re shaking it into sophistication.

£200 | $310| Panasonic.com

£15 | $20 | johnlewis.com

Somabar The Somabar really is something else, shaking, straining and mixing professionally-made cocktails right in your kitchen – and at the touch of a button. It comes with six refillable ‘pods’ on either size for filling with booze and mixers, and washes itself after every serving. You can even set new cocktail recipes via your tablet or smartphone!

£350 | $430 | somabarkickstarter.com

SING YOUR HEART OUT No self-respecting shindig can even consider calling itself a party without a good ol’ singsong, so adding a karaoke machine to your party mix is a great idea. This one from Singing Machine has a top-loading function for CDs as well as the ability to stream music via Bluetooth from your device of choice. It has a builtin LED light show, jacks for two mics and much more. Singing Machine SML385BTBK £70 | $60 | singingmachine.com


052

Party ON

PLAY JENGA - BUT WITH ANIMALS Combining a regular stacking board game with a videogame, Beasts Of Balance aims to create a true cross-media experience that’s both innovative and extremely satisfying to play. The game comes with a smart base, with each piece carrying an NFC chip that’s read before it’s stacked. Said piece, be it an animal or an artefact, suddenly appears on your tablet, with new pieces helping them evolve or breed with one another as you add more pieces.

Beasts of Balance £70 | $100 | Beastsofbalance.com

‘KEEP TALKING AND NOBODY BEAR PONG… WITH A EXPLODES’ ROOMBA Easily one of the most innovative games to come to the new frontier of virtual reality, Keep Talking And Nobody Explodes has a simple concept: one player wears a PSVR headset, through which they can see an elaborate bomb that needs disarming. However, only those not wearing the headset can see the instructions (via the TV or actually printed out) to stop it going boom. Cue a scrambled lesson in communication and lots of simulated explosions!

A Roomba from iRobot might have been designed to clean the floors of your home, but add in a few cups and a couple of ping pong balls and you’ve got yourself one extra fun way to play the age-old game of beer pong. All you need to do is place the Roomba on top of a table, and since its sensors will stop it from plummeting to its untimely end, it’s up to you to sink a ball in one of its now-moving targets.

Keep Talking And Nobody Explodes

iRobot ROOMBA980

£10 | $15 | playstation.com

£780 | $895 | www.amazon.com

GET YOUR GROOVE ON Come on, if you’re going to a party, there’s a good chance with all that booze and free food going around that someone is going to start throwing a few shapes. So why not make a proper game out of it? The long-running Just Dance series’ latest incarnation can be used with a PlayStation Camera or with a special app that turns your smartphone into a controller! The 2017 edition comes with modern hits from the likes of One Republic and Maroon 5 alongside the likes of classics from Queen and Wham!.

Just Dance 2017 £50 | $50 | www.amazon.com


P L X- 5 0 0

DM-40

V E R S AT I L E D I R E CT D R I V E T U R NTA B L E

C O M PA C T D E S K T O P M O N I T O R S P E A K E R S

– High quality, analogue sound

– Soft dome tweeters with convex diffusers for a 3D stereo sound

– Professional layout inherited from the PLX-1000 turntable

– Front-loaded bass reflex system

– Line output to connect direct to speakers

– Class AB amps deliver perfect clarity across the frequencies

– USB output to record to digital files

– Multiple inputs and headphone output

– Cartridge, stylus and slip mat included

– Available in black or white

– Available in black or white

SRP £299

S R P £ 1 2 9 ( PA I R )

PIONEERDJ.COM


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More infographics

You told us that you love our unique visual explanations, so we’ve made a point of making them bigger and better.


056

Nintendo’s Nostalgia Trip

Visual filters The console can display games in three styles – CRT and 4:3 for authenticity or ‘Pixel Perfect’ to make the games look as good as you remember them

NOSTA TRIP I

The NES Mini is a gamer’s dream co Three decades after Nintendo’s first home console the Nintendo Entertainment System (or NES as it’s more commonly known) was released in Europe, the Japanese powerhouse has released a miniature version of the console, the Nintendo Classic Mini: NES (or NES Mini), with 30 built in games. Designed to look as identical to the original as possible this isn’t simply an NES that has been shrunk, it has been modernised by outputting its visuals at 1080p via HDMI, as well as including save states and visual filters for its games. While the NES didn’t make as big of a splash in Europe as it did in Japan and North America, today it is remembered fondly as it was the launching platform for some of their most beloved franchises in gaming, such as Super Mario Bros., The Legend Of Zelda and Final Fantasy. Every aspect of the console is tailored to have a retro appeal, even down to the box it comes in which is styled after the original NES’s packaging. The controller is practically the same as it was when the console was first released, even down to the fact that the rectangular shape of it makes your hands feel sore after a while. The 30 games built into the Nintendo Classic Mini: NES cover all genres from side-scrolling platformers,

to le Fa na tim ea W p no fe ba is it, fr SD ca Ni re M as yo

A n W fo ov bu

A relic from a bygone age Although the console has shrunk, the NES controller has remained the same size and feels authentically jagged, the cable is a too short for a home console, though


Nintendo Classic Mini: NES

057

8-bit heaven 30 of the best games from the NES’s library are built into the console: including the likes of Super Mario Bros., The Legend Of Zelda, Castlevania and Final Fantasy

£50 | $60

Playing with power

Not really a Reset button To bring up the menu screen you just need to press the ‘Reset’ button. From there, you can select a new game, save the one you’re playing or change visual filter

Classic compatibility One controller is included and an additional one will cost £8 – if you have a Wii Classic Controller, however, that can be used instead


058

Nintendo’s Nostalgia Trip

HOW MUCH WILL YOU SAVE? The majority of the games on the NES Mini were released in the UK so they’re obtainable on eBay, however buying them up with a NES console may be costly. So how much does the Nintendo Classic Mini: NES actually save, and would it be worth just buying the original cartridges or downloading them on the Wii U’s Virtual Console?

01. Balloon Fight

02. Bubble Bobble

03. Castlevania

■ £36 ■ £3.50

■ £30 ■ N\A

■ £30 ■ £3.50

04. Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest

07. Double Dragon II: The Revenge

08. Dr Mario

09. Excitebike

■ £9.50 ■ £3.50

■ £10 ■ £3.50

13. Gradius

14. Ice Climber

15. Kid Icarus

■ £25 ■ £3.50

■ £16.50 ■ £3.50

■ £25 ■ £3.50

19. Metroid

20. Ninja Gaiden

21. Pac-Man

■ £60 ■ £3.50

■ £12 ■ £3.50

■ £15 ■ £3.50

25. Super Mario Bros.

26. Super Mario Bros. 2

27. Super Mario Bros. 3

■ £8 ■ £3.50

■ £17 ■ £3.50

■ £15 ■ £3.50

■ £12 ■ £3.50

EBAY TOTAL GAMES NES CONSOLE FROM EBAY TOTAL EBAY COST

NES SAVING

05. Donkey Kong

06. Donkey Kong Jr.

■ £33 ■ £3.50

■ £35 ■ £3.50

10. Final Fantasy

11. Galaga

■ £N/A ■ $N\A

■ £21.50 ■ £3.50

12. Ghost and Goblins

16. Kirby’s Adventure

17. Mario Bros.

18. Mega Man 2

■ £55 ■ £3.50

■ £24 ■ £3.50

23. StarTropics

24. Super C

■ £15 ■ £3.50

■ £40 ■ £3.50

29. The Legend Of Zelda

30. Zelda II: The Adventures Of Link

■ £45 ■ £3.50

■ £30 ■ £3.50

■ £25 ■ £3.50

■ £30 ■ £3.50

22. Punch-Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream

■ £16 ■ £3.50

£725.5 £50 £775.5

£725.5

28. Techmo Bowl

■ £N/A ■ £3.50

VIRTUAL CONSOLE TOTAL GAMES

■ £35 ■ £3.50

£98

COST OF WII U

£250

TOTAL VIRTUAL CONSOLE COST

£348

WII U SAVING

£298


Nintendo Classic Mini: NES

12.6cm

>

4.2cm

<

059

Smaller IS better The NES Mini is incredibly small when you compare it to the original console, it is even smaller in width and length than the NES cartridges. This is because the only thing inside NES Mini is a small circuit board with a system on-chip, memory and RAM. Despite its diminutive size, it’s significantly more powerful than its Eighties ancestor.

Nintendo has created its first plug-and-play console with ease-of-use and authenticity in mind. Its menus are easy to navigate and adding save states or switch come as naturally as, say, na smart TV. While the console near-perfect renditions of th using the Reset button on th up the menu over simply cre button on the controller left head a bit. Nintendo’s uncom (and commendable, don’t g wrong) assault to appeal to y nostalgia extends to its gam 30 of NES Mini’s games are perfectly, warts and all. It’s b years since some of these g first graced our shops, and g has come along way – thing limited continues and a dem pixel-perfect jumps will alien newcomers. The games also a case of ‘sprite flicker’, just days, when the action in the hectic. Some purists will lov however it’s certainly not fo

So is the NES Mini worth my money? Inside the system itself is a single circuit board

such as the option save your progress and do away with passwords. While purists may see this as cheating it is an helpful feature


060

Nintendo’s nostalgia trip

THE RETRO REVOLUTION Mega Drive 01Sega Retro Console

01

02

03

04

05

06

This comes with 80 built-in games including Sonic and Mortal Kombat, as well as the ability to use your own cartridges, however the overall sound quality is not great. £60 | $75 | atgames.net

02Retron 5

With five cartridge slots you can play games from nine different consoles including NES, SNES Mega Drive, Game Boy and they’re all region-free and upscaled to 720p. £160 | $200 | hyperkin.com

XD Retro 03GPD Gaming Pad

Able to emulate a wide array consoles from the ZX Spectru to the Dreamcast and Playstation, the GPD comes with either 32GB or 64GB of memory and the battery lasts up to ten hours. £190 | $200 | gpdxd.com

04Atari Flashback

Frogger, Space Invaders, Centipede, Pong are all classics made by Atari, the king of videogames in the late Seventies early Eighties. The Flashback includes these classics and 97 other games. £50 | $70 | atgames.us

05Cupcade

The Raspberry Pi-powered arcade case comes in a kit with everything you need to build your mini cabinet and start playing some classic games… except the Pi itself. £95 | $120 | adafruit.com

06ZXVegaSpectrum

Designed and made in the UK, just like the original Sinclair computer, the Vega has 1,000 Speccy games built in, and even more can be downloaded and added to the console through its microSD card slot. £80 | $100 | retrocomputerslimited.com


062

Never kill a plant again

NEVE KILL PLAN AGAI

This smart flowerp care of your plants Do you wish you had green fingers, but don’t have the time? With the Parrot Pot you’ll never have to worry about your plants wilting again. Its ‘Perfect Drop’ irrigation system means that you never have to water your plants, just top up the flowerpot itself. The self-watering pot also consults a database to know how much water your particular type of plant require so it doesn’t drown even the most delicat flowers. If you’re on holiday, the ‘Plant Sitter’ mode automatically waters your plants for up to a month. The Parrot Pot has four sensors which monitor light, temperature, soil moisture and fertiliser levels. It then sends you alert to your smartphone in order to let you know if you need to move your plant into the sunlight or add fertiliser. All you need to do is insert four AA batteries into the flowerpot, download the Parrot Flower Power app and you’re ready to garden! The companion app has a database of over 8,000 plants and is bolstered by expert advice from some of the world’s best botanists so you can find out all abou your plants and how to look after them. The Parrot Pot is easy to clean and has a simple, modern design. The only downside is, because it works using Bluetooth, you need to be next to your plant to download data. But if you want t bring your plants to life without needing t be a gardening expert, then this gadget is blooming marvellous!

£130 | $150 parrot.com

Parrot Pot This smart flowerpot looks after your plant for you by providing it with the right amount of water at the right time, monitoring light, temperature, fertiliser and soil moisture.


Parrot Pot

063

Walking on sunshine The pot has inbuilt sunlight and temperature sensors so the app can alert you when you need to move your plant to face the Sun or when it needs more shade

Instant irrigation The Parrot Pot waters your plant for you, providing it with the right amount at the right time. Its Plant Sitter setting lets you go on holiday as it waters your plant automatically

Plant food The soil moisture and fertiliser sensors let you see when your plant needs more water or fertiliser and will send you an alert to let you know

Garden friendly The Parrot Pot can be used indoors or out as its entireless autonomous, wireless and runs off four AA batteries

Tanks very much The water tank can hold 2.2 litres of water, which can last for about 30 days. The pot also holds 2.4 litres of soil

Flower power The Flower Power app is easy to download and allows you to monitor your plantâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s health. With a database of more than 8,000 plants, it is also a great resource for gardeners

Style in spades The stylish plant pot comes in slate black, white porcelain, and brick red. Measuring 31.2cm tall, with a 20cm diameter, it can hold small to mediumsized plants

Number of days it ca last without watering

OW LONG CAN PLANTS GO WITHOUT WATER? 2 years 1 year 1 month 10 days 5 days 1 day

Aloe

Squash

Water Lily

Air Plant

Yucca

Desert cactus


064

Meet the world’s smallest folding stroller Easy to fold To fold the stroller, press the handle buttons and push down

£150 | $195 gb-online.com

GB Pockit With its exceptional design innovation, the lightweight GB Pockit is the world’s smallest folding stroller. It also packs up into a hand luggage shape for added portability.

Weight limit The Pockit weighs only 4.3kg but it can carry a maximum of 17kg

Self-standing Once folded up, the portable pram’s unique design means it will also stand up on its own

No swivels The wheels can be locked to stop them from swivelling

MEET THE WORLD’S The Pockit is compact, but does that make it a must-have?


GB Pockit

A pram that can fit into plane or train overhead storage sounds ideal for family holidays. The GB Pockit stroller has an innovative design that allows it to shrink down to around 30cm long, actually setting the Guinness World Record for the world’s smallest folding stroller. As well as being small, at 4.3kg (think four bags of sugar) it’s very light. However, sacrifices have been made to make the Pockit so compact. While the buggy does come with its own storage space under the seat, this area is very small and doesn’t

hold a lot of weight. This isn’t great, especially when you think of all the extra stuff babies need when you’re abroad. The Pockit also isn’t quite as comfortable as other prams, as it doesn’t recline and the sunshade (again a perquisite for family-friendly fun in the sun) doesn’t actually provide much shade. The Pockit is intended for everyday use, but it’s standout feature also means it isn’t as fullyfeatured as similarly-priced strollers. So we would recommend using it only as a backup for when you’re taking a long trip.

FOLD IT UP FAST

065

ESSENTIAL PARENT TECH

Motorola MBP856 Connect

01

Unfolding the Pockit

To use the stroller you unhook the two legs and it should unfold – all that is left to do is raise the handles. It was supposed to just fold out and lock into place but it required two of us to get it to unfold completely. Without a friend, we had to stretch a leg around the Pockit to kick it out. To completely set it up, it took two minutes.

02 Strolling around

This Wi-Fi camera can stream 720p video to an in-home monitor, smartphone or computer, so no matter where in the world you are, you can keep an eye on your child. £150 | $175 | motorolahome.com

Philips Avent Microwave Steriliser Simple to use and it’s quicker than dishwashing. Simply add water and place in the microwave for as little as two minutes. Your bottles will stay sterile for 24 hours. £15 | $20 | xphilips.com

To see how it felt when in use we took a stroll (no pun intended) into town and through some shops. It didn’t exactly feel robust when we were pushing it – the stroller tends to wobble from side to side, even when on a smooth surface and that was even with the wheels locked, but we adapted to it after a while.

Beaba Babyfood Food Processor Add the food and it can cook a meal in 15 minutes. Select between steaming cooking, blending, defrosting or reheating food. It also comes with handy a recipe book. £120 | $150 | beaba.com

03 Packing it up

To fold the stroller, press the button on each of the handles and push downwards. Push the legs inwards and connect the hook to lock them together and it’s all done. Folding it back up took about two minutes – it was easier than unfolding, but, again, it took a lot more effort than we expected.

Pacif-i Measure your baby’s temperature from your smartphone with this Bluetooth-connected pacifier thermometer. You can record the time of the temperature reading as well as when you give your child any medicine. £40 | $50 | pacif-i.io


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The smart speaker tackling Sonos and co head on

£370 | $460 musaic.com

Musaic M10

Music at your fingertips Pair your favourite streaming service with your Musaic M10 through the free app and you get a world of music at your fingertips. The app even holds podcasts and internet radio stations

A speaker that pumps out high-fidelity audio and a smart-home connected device rolled into one. Stream from your streaming service and automate everyday tasks with IFTTT.

Booming bass What separates the M10 from its little brother? That’ll be the pumping built-in subwoofer that gives off a serious thump and helps to easily fill any listening environment

Compatible with the lot You can play any of your stored music libraries, whether they’re on a Windows laptop, Mac, PC, UPnP/DLNA server or NAS drive. It’s an audiophile’s dream

Wireless wonders The M10 is built to work over Wi-Fi. This offers better sound quality and the ability to stream all over your home. There is also Bluetooth and Auxiliary outputs for maximum exposure

TACKLING SONOS AND CO HEAD ON

The Musaiic M10 is an Internett Of Things-c connected device


Musaic M10

067

Home control The world’s only purpose-built wireless Hi-Fi system that’s smart home ready from the off. As an Internet of Things device you can control your smart home via your phone or tablet

A GENUINE RIVAL TO AMAZON ECHO?

Maximised sound True audiophiles will appreciated 24-bit support while more casual listeners will enjoy sound quality that is maximised whatever file type you use. There’s no compromise here

In such a crowded marketplace, being able to differentiate yourself from the competition is a must. So combining two standout features, as the Musaic M10 does, is particularly welcome. Not only is the M10 (the M5 makes up the rest of the Musaic family) an impressive high-res speaker steeped in years of industry know-how, but it is also integrated with smart home technology – or what we like to call the ‘Internet Of Things’ here at Gadget. “What does that mean?” we here you ask. Well, the Musaic family is compatible with the brilliant automation service IFTTT, which enables users to automate everyday tasks by building

recipes (or Applets) to trigger background outcomes. But what about sound quality, invariably your primary reason for splashing the cash on either the M10 or M5? It’s fair to say that sound output is much bigger and better than you’d expect from something that is essentially pretty small. Thankfully, it’s well reproduced too, creating a wide soundstage that focuses on vocals and instruments perfectly, while the built-in subwoofer ensures no low-end is missing. Musaic works with virtually any device and maximises the sound quality of almost any file type, including the lofty, high-fidelity 24-bit notes.

The Musaic speakers are truly smart home devices, opening up a world of intuitive control and time-saving automation. First and foremost, the M10 speaker we’ve tested is just that, a speaker – and a seriously good sounding one. It’s built by a team with 20 years of audiophile experience and it shows the minute you listen to your first track. The smart home compatibility is more of a bonus, and does lack the digital assistance that the everimproving Alexa gives the Amazon Echo. On the other hand, the Echo can’t offer anything like the M10’s high-res audio.


068

The smart speaker tackling Sonos and co head on

AUTOMATE YOUR MUSIC COLLECTION WITH IFTTT If we were to list the most influential apps of all time, IFTTT would rank highly. The service enables you to chain together simple commands called ‘Applets’ (they’ve just been name changed from ‘Recipes’ in a recent update) based on the ‘if this then that’ premise. Compatibility is almost universal among the most

commonly-used apps (or ‘services’ as IFTTT calls them). So, at an advanced level, marketing companies could trac mentions of companies in real-time in RSS feeds. The opportunities are endl No wonder Musaic was quick to get involved. Here’s how to set up a Musaic-related Applet.

01 Set up Musaic account

02 Load up IFTTT

03 Search the channel

04 Turn on

05 Access granted

06 In use

If you don’t do this part then you’ll come a cropper later on in the tutorial. From the Musaic app, tap More in the bottom-right, then Settings and register yourself for a Musaic Web Account. Verify your details by clicking the link in the email Musaic sends.

With the Applet loaded up, tap on Turn on to start the pairing process. This needs a few accounts to be accessed, but is necessary to get Spotify and Musaic talking together. It only takes a few seconds anyway, so enter any account details when you’re prompted too.

Open up IFTTT, or download it from your device’s app store if you’re new to this brilliant service. Create an account, sign in, and you’re taken automatically to the Discover tab, which shows off the most popular Applets. Tap Search at the bottom to hunt for Musaic.

Once access to both accounts has been granted you’re whisked off to the simple Configure screen that lists the details of the Applet. You can choose to receive a notification when the Applet runs by flicking the green switch to ‘on’. Tap Save when you’re done.

Type in Musaic into the search bar at the top of the scree. The Musaic channel will load underneath, giving you examples of Applets that have already been created by IFTTT users. Let’s activate automatically adding songs you like on Musaic to a Spotify playlist.

Now whenever you like a track in the Musaic app, IFTTT runs the Applet and makes sure that track is added to an appropriately named Spotify playlists. So, next time you’re on the move with Spotify you can enjoy a playlist of all your loved songs. It’s well worth the effort.


FOR THE GNU GENERATION

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070

360° Cameras

S A R E M A C 0 6 3

cameras n io t c a e iv f immers l as a 180-degree vertical rofullytatio-wnorking o e v a w w at the ne otos and videos that yoelu lcaasn asallowweling the user toof getheinerr suaterroaundings. do k o lo ic m how ical ph e view as w aining are; with spher 360-degre d YouTube, A panora stions rem treme et. ge? cebook an e only que market, ex oard heads d of foota lore on Fa as hit the were on camer viemakers When acti dheld mo an h f d o an al s ti sports fan the poten e new e mouth at n o th , at w o g N in froth V videos. ty ntastic PO e: the abili creating fa d the gam ge an ch hing as yt h er n ev tio f o va inno d ee view

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Nikon KeyMission 360

³

As well as being designed for extreme conditions, this camera has two lenses with f/2.0 apertures and 20MP sensors, plus does all of its own stitching in-camera. £420 | $495 | nikon.com

 ³

Kodak PixPro SP360

³

As well as shooting 4K video at 30 frames per second, this action camera is built for your rugged lifestyle as it can survive two-metre falls. A non-4K version is available for around £100 less. £350 | $450 | kodak.com


360° Cameras

 ³

Ricoh Theta SC

The latest model in Ricoh’s Theta range i £100 cheaper, but has ne identical specs with a 14M lens. But video lengths h been reduced from 25 mi to just five minutes. £250 | $295 | ricoh-imaging.eu

071

ARE TWO LENSES BETTER THAN ONE?

Convex and concave, two words that always get confused but, in this instance, can’t. Theta’s use of massively convex lenses and clever processing takes warped imagery and ‘folds’ it over into a spherical forma t. There are two distinct styles of camera, the singular-le ns body, or the dual lens. The single-lens appro ach will allow you to capture a vast array of imagery that will be sent for processing, whereas the duel-lens syste m will take both sets of data and stitch the two files into one. As the actual image created will look like a mass ively distorted and bulbous version of what you are seein g, the real beauty comes when the image is converted by software or a platform like Facebook which will recog nise within the file’s metadata that it is a 360 image and processes it accordingly, allowing you to scroll and move the image.

 ³

360°

360Fly 4K

Another rugged little device for extreme activitie the single-lens 360Fly 4K promises water, dust and sho resistance along with

³ Insta360 Nano

³

This smartphone accessory allows you to shoot 360-degree videos in 3K. The device it also has its own microSD slot so that you can use it independently from your phone. £200 | £200 | insta360.com


072

360° Cameras 4K video As well as taking 360 videos, the PixPro will shoot in ultra HD that is 2160 pixels

Easy Attachment A socket on the base of the camera makes it easy to attach to other devices, including tripods and drones

POINT-AND-SHOOT SIMPLICITY The double-lensed Richo Theta SC is quite possibly the least imposing, most user-friendly camera in the group. This pocket pal the latest model in the range, and is designed specifically to be a lighter, mid-class model that utilises the same technology, body design and lens built as the original Theta S. And, like the S, the SC sits proudly in the compact, pocket-sized and simple-to-operate band, while delivering full orb, 360-degree photos an videos than to its duel-lens system. The camera also has a built in Wi-F module that you can connect your smartphone or tablet to in conjunction with the Theta companion app, you can view shoot still imagery as well as remotely-control your 360-de filming (there’s no in-app preview for filming, though, sadly Theta isn’t designed to be worn, and the inbuilt storage is and video will only record in up to six-minute segments – though, the app is very intuitive and allows for split-screen as well as the actual stitching of the stills being among the we have seen. All in all, this is a brilliant all-in-one, general 360-degree camera.

A SHOCKPROOF EXTREME CAMERA With more than a passing likeness for some kind of technological fondant fancy/camera hybrid, the 12MP Kodak PixPro SP360 4K is the kind of 360-degree camera that you will achieve a rotational 360-degree surround image with. But due to the single lens build, you won’t achieve the full orb 360-degree image created by the likes of the Theta. There are accessories aplenty to help you attach the PixPro to bikes, helmets and tripods, though. As well as snazzy-looking GoPro-inspired housings, there is the curious full-360 attachment, which is basically an accessory that allows you to attach two cameras together using a bracket. That is one way to get around your 360 camera not allowing you to achieve full360 viewing in all directions. The PixPro is compact, versatile and durable, boasting a dustproof and splashproof body designed to withstand falls from a distance of roughly six feet, though it’s not as waterproof as the Nikon Keymission. Its Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity as well as YouTube and Faebook 360 support for easy uploading to socal networks, but Kodak’s bundled free video editing software for Mac and PC isn’t sophisticated enough for pro users it’s aimed at.

Push the button To capture a 360 degree image, with the Theta SC, you just press the big button on the front of it. It’s really that simple


360° Cameras Besk for bikers

073

With its upwards pointing lense, the Fly360 is best suited to being worn on a helmet

FILMING IN ACTUAL VR WILL COST YOU... SPHERICAM 2 Six eyes are certainly better than two. Flash the cash on the Sphericam, and you needn’t be ‘there’. With raw capture and seemless stitching for VR playback, it would be as if you were amidst the action all along. £2,000 | $2,500 | sphericam.com

GOPRO OMNI Water woes

FLY360 KNOW WHAT’S UP

While the non-4K Fly360 was waterproof to 130 feet, the 4K model can only go down 30 feet

The all-seeing-eye approach works brilliantly with the 360Fly’s intriguingly-designed spherical camera. This device is built for rugged use – it’s waterproof up to one meter, not to mention dust and shockproof as well. This 16MP action cam is certainly the cyclist’s choice. Utilising an upward-facing lens to give you a fully-rotating 360-degree surround view and a 240-degree vertical view, all in crisp 4K, the one thing you will need to be conscious of is the camera’s positioning. With the single-lens iterations of 360-degree cameras, any off-kilter placement can and will result in a rather skewed position and a dizzying result when used in video mode, especially when filming cycling, or any other movement based activities, for that matter. To get a more immersive experience, the 360Fly also features dual microphones to add more realism into your VR experience, and there’s no real need to worry about storage as the unit itself contains a massive 64GB of internal storage. It also has Wi-Fi functionality for smartphone connectivity as well as doubling up as a standard point-andshoot camera with its POV mode.

Add six GoPro cameras, a reinforced shell for tough environments and the software powerful enough to stitch it all together nearperfectly and you get the Omni, the VR-ready face of extreme sports of tomorrow. £4,200 | $5,000 | gopro.com

GOOGLE JUMP ODYESSEY Google is jumping into the market big with 16 GoPros gathered in a spool to give you seamless 360 stereo vision helping you experience depth as well as 360 vision. £10,000 | $15,000 | gopro.com

FACEBOOK SURROUND 360 Open source with 17 cameras, capturing 3D 360-degree stereo imagery – this is everything you could ever need for 360 imagery, except the finances to buy it. £25,000 | $30,000 | facebook360.fb.com

NOKIA OZO Eight cameras, full360 VR capability, this anthropomorphic device screams ‘adorable’ in its design and, unlike the other devices in this list, creates one video file that is already to go. £34,150 | $42,530 | ozo.nokia.com


074

360° Cameras

CUT OUT THE MIDDLEMAN

Shoot in slow-mo As well as shooting in 4K and 360, you can film slow-motion and time lapse video

mewhere between the PixPro and the Theta SC, the KeyMission 0 is a compact double-lens unit that will fit in the pocket easily, ach to a bike helmet or tripod just the same, as well as shooting video. Designed with exploration and extreme sports in mind, e KeyMission is waterproof up to 30 meters, freezeproof down -10 Celsius, as well as shockproof up two metres. It accepts croSD so you aren’t limited by its internal memory. You have option of one-touch recording for stills or video on the unit elf, or via smartphone control using the KeyMission’s inbuilt Wi-Fi module. This said, connecting to the SnapBridge companion app wasn’t as smooth as we would have liked and there were a few problems in establishing a link, so, sadly, if the KeyMission was to lose marks, it would be because of its app and the stitching of the imagery. When looking back through the captured footage, the join was jarringly noticeable, and not a patch on the less-costly Theta. Although, this isn’t all doom and gloom for this 360-degree adventure cam – as its storage is removable, and control is manual, you can bypass the need for the smartphone app and take the footage directly to your computer.

TURN YOUR PHONE INTO A 360 CAMERA Purchasing and using a dedica quite a commitment – especia attachments and, in many insta don’t need worry as the Insta3 into a fully-working 360-degre to the Theta camera, this lightw simply attaches to your phone microUSB, and, with the help o app, you can use your phone t straight away. Yes, the Insta360 device, but it delivers 30fps at independently of your phone, j the app and the headset the u instantly review everything in V a removable microSD card for and a Micro USB for power, the Nano certainly helps make things easier to get that shot, although sadly not 4K, and resolution in low light is a little lacking – also, the unit we used had a tendency to overheat; you would want to be upgrading very quickly. Initially just for iPhones, an Androidfriendly Nano just launched.

connector or microUSB


360° Cameras

SHARE 360 VIDEOS ON FACEBOOK

How to give your selfie feed an upgrade

So you have gone out and taken your films and your photos, now you want to share it with the world, where can you upload this content? Facebook is perhaps the biggest user of 360 content, YouTube is also a good option as they support 360 spherical videos and you can use Google Cardboard for a more immersive experience. Uploading 360 media to these websites is nearly as simple as adding any other content, but there are a couple of extra hurdles to jump through and boxes to tick before these images can be shared. Be aware as well that a 360 image or video file is going to take longer to upload than a standard post as the file size is greater.

Connect them up

01

After loading up the app you should connect your phone to the Theta device. You can either go to settings to connect to it or press the camera button in the bottom-right corner. Turn on the Theta, hold the Wi-Fi button and locate the device under the phone’s Wi-Fi settings. The Theta’s ID will be THETA followed by the serial number. The default password for the device’s network is its serial number.

Can n I upload the filess from m my computer? Indeed you can import the files from yo our computer. Facebook will recognis ise that it is a 360 image from m the file’ss ow wn metadaata.

Is there a time e limit to videoss? Yes. 360 videos are limited to a maximum length of ten minutes andd there is also a maximum file size of 1.75GB.

My video file doessn’ n t have 360 meta adata… Upload itt as normal but before publishin ng the video click on advancedd settings tab, click on ‘this viddeo was recorded in 360 formaat’, edit the settiings and publissh ass no orm mal.

I ca an’t conne ect the cam mera to my y phone Ensurre you have the correct app, for examp mple Nikon has itss SnapBridge app fo or connecting to cameras, but it also haas a SnapBrridg ge 3660 app..

Choose your method

02

075

There are two ways to upload the files but they are very similar. You can either upload from the Theta app or download the images onto your Smartphone and then go to the Facebook app and upload through there. If you choose to upload the content from the Theta app you will have to accept Theta’s terms and conditions before sharing but this saves memory on your phone.

The final touches

03

If you are uploading images, now you can decide how you would like to upload the image, you choose to have it displayed as a full 360-degree image or you can select to upload it as a panoramic photo. When you are about to publish the image, at the bottom right corner there will be a number 360 with a globe, if it has a line through it then it will not upload in 360.


076

best case scenario

Self-heating skin If you picked an iPhone for its colour you don’t want to then buy a case that will cover it – and with the new jetblack iPhone, it looks cool but scratches easily. TENC (an abbrevation for The Emperor’s New Clothes) is clear, scratch resistant and has a tight fit over the phone so you’ll barely notice it. It has an AutioHeal coating that repairs itself when scratched, you can rub a key against it a few times and then watch the marks disappear. Just Mobile TENC | £20 | $25

BEST SCENARIO

Wrap up your phone in something pretty and protective

Leave your wallet at home If The Mujjo Wallet Case has an incredibly simple design with one feature on the back: a slot with enough space to fit two or maybe three essential cards, such as your driving licence. Designed to withstand rough fabrics so you can take it in and out of your jean pockets without worrying about damaging it. The case leaves the iPhone’s volume and power buttons free, but Mujjo assures us that the case will protect the phone even in its most fragile areas. Mujjo leather wallet case | £35 | $45


Phone Accessories

077

Shotgun-proof protection Made of shotgunproof carbon fibre and leather, the inside of the case has a red race stripe which is magnetic and allows it to be folded into a standing position when the phone is attached. Proporta also has a car mount that connects to the magnetic case but is sold separately. The inside shell of the case is also magnetic so when the case closes it is secure – meaning if the worst happens and you drop the case, the front wont open leaving the screen exposed.

ENHANCE YOUR PHONE

Proporta Carbon Fibre Edge Edition | £35 | $45

Add extra memory iPhones never have enough memory, and the leef is here to help. It’s a hard drive that you can directly save images, apps or movies to. It is also password protected in case it gets lost. Leef iBridge 3 | £40 | $50 | leefco.com

Supercharge your battery For those of you who like to go on outdoor adventures, this outdoor charger is shock and splash resistant thanks to its rubberised case. It also has a powerful LED flashlight. PNY Outdoor Charger | £30 | $40 | pny.com

Upgrade your camera This wireless 18MP lens from Sony can be attached to the phone or it can be placed anywhere and controlled using your smartphone so you can take great group photos or selfies. Sony DSC-QX10 | £170 | $190 | sony.com

Play games the proper way Compatible with any controller-enabled game in the iOS app store, SteelSeries’ Nimbus allows you to play your mobile games without fingers getting in the way of the screen. Nimbus | £50 | $50 | steelseries.com

Get a grip The Bitplay has changeable grips for when you need a better hold whilst taking photos or maybe a slimmer one to help it fit in your pocket. There are bumpers to provide better protection from drops. The case even comes with interchangeable lenses for different photography needs that you simply insert and remove. The shutter button simply presses on the phone’s volume buttons, there’s no need to pair anything to you’re phone you can simply use the standard camera app. Bitplay snap pro | £50 | $60

No more tangled earphones Never have to worry about your earphones getting tangled in your pockets again as you can wear the Wraps around your wrist and then lock it in place with its slider. Wraps Limited Edition Berry | £20 | $25 | mywraps.com


best case scenario

MISE ASE for Google Pixel or s have a NFC chip that s wallpaper as well as a that can be customised r one you must go to ct the model you want for you. There are f Live Cases: Artwork, Artwork cases have and the NFC chip per so you can choose m the artist’s collection. e name suggest let mages when ordering. ets you find a location se a style as well as escreen shows your same style as the case.

A MACBOOK The backlit keyboard comes built into this iPad case, and there is also a holder for the Apple Pencil. The level of the backlighting can be adjusted and can be set to turn itself of if it isn’t used for a short while in order yo to save battery life. The Create is connected via the iPad Pro’s smart connector, this is what also powers the device meaning there are no power cables and no Bluetooth connection is needed. What makes the iPad feel like a Mac is the row of iOS shortcut keys that enables you to adjust volume and brightness settings without having to touch the screen. The auto-wake feature turns on the iPad when the case is opened so you can get straight to work.


080

Tech We Love Laser accuracy The Battle Quads use Li-Fi technology that allows it to share data through each laser blast, ensuring the score and positioning is accurate and up to date. As well as tracking how many lives you have left, your smart controllers understand the battle and prompt you when to attack the weakest ship

s

Though each quadrocopter is no larger than your hand, they can reach a top speed of 40mph, with 35mph coming up in under three seconds

War games £230 | $230

The best gadgets on our radar this month

Punch it, Chewie!

propelswcom

Start Wars Battle Quad

Though you steer the drone with a dedicated controller, this can pair with a free app for your phone. This includes a ‘virtual drone’ to practice with and a number of game modes for your actual drone

REENACT THE BATTLE OF ENDOR WITH STAR WARS LASER DRONES ‘This is a rebellion isn’t it? I propel.’ This is what Jyn Erso, the hero of new Star Wars film Rogue One, might have said if she’d had access to the new Battle Quad drones. Available in iconic designs, including X-wing, TIE Fighter, and speeder bike, these quadrocopters whizz around at speeds of over 35mph and you can enjoy epic laser tag dogfights with up to 24 players. A Millennium Falcon model will launch in 2017.

A ‘DUMB’ WATCH FOR SMART PEOPLE Strictly speaking, the Klok-01 isn’t smart as it doesn’t do anything other than tell the time. But it certainly looks smart. Inspired by a slide rule, instead of just the hands, the whole dial moves. Three concentric circles line up, displaying the correct time vertically. Klokers Klok-01 £342 | $435 | klokers.com

£100 | $100 amazon.com

Amazon Fire Kids Edition

THIS CASE PRINTS MOVING PICTURES Prynt’s clever case might just convince us to starting printing our smartphone snaps. This portable printer embeds its instant photos with hidden codes, so when you scan them with a free companion app they play magical AR videos. Prynt £130 | $160 | prynt.co

BUST BOREDOM WITH AMAZON’S TOT-FRIENDLY TABLET With a toughened case to protect against bumps and falls and a simplified interface, you might think the Amazon Fire Kids Edition was just for children. But it was also made for mums and dads with added parental controls, two-year guarantee, and access to thousands of books, videos, educational apps and games for just £100 per year with a Fire for Kids Unlimited subscription. Not just a toy, the Amazon Fire Kids Edition is a real tablet with a quad-core processor, front and rear cameras and IPS display.


s

081

ENJOY HARDCORE SOUND WHEREVER YOU GO £250 | $300 lego.com

Lego Technic Porsche 911 GT3 RS

B&O Play’s stylish Bluetooth speaker range just got a rugged new addition. The A2 Active is dust and splash resistant and has a durable NATO watch strap handle. As well as offering a 180W panoramic sound, it has a USB-C port so you can also connect it directly to your phone. B&O Play A2 Active £300 | $400 | beoplay.com

A PORSCHE KIT CAR YOU CAN AFFORD (WELL, MAYBE) This ain’t your childhood Lego set. With more than 2,700 pieces, including detailed orange bodywork, red suspension springs, detailed headlights, taillights, brake callipers, functional steering and transmission, the Porsche 911 GT3 RS Lego Technic set is nearly as complicated as the iconic car on which it’s based. The 500-plus-page instruction manual might make your head spin, but at also doubles as a coffee table book that examines how the project came to be. A must-have for any car or Lego enthusiast.

Super thin The Yoga Book is just 9.6mm thick, that’s just two millimetres more than an iPhone 7 Plus. Fortunately, this extra width means the Yoga Book can fit a headphone jack – but only just!

Digital doodling When you don’t use the keyboard, it vanishes. The sheet of Gorilla Glass then works as a Wacom digitiser for doodling. What’s more, the Real Pen allows you to write on physical paper and back up notes

VR DRONE LOOKS GOOD ON PAPER If X-wings aren’t your thing, check out the new PowerUp drone instead. Consisting of a camera module and motor, you can attach it to any paper plane and pilot it with your phone. It also comes with a Google Cardboard headset so you can watch live video in first-person view (FPV). PowerUp FPV £160 | $200 | poweruptoys.com

£450 | $500 lenovo.com

Lenovo Yoga Book

COULD THIS BE THE LAPTOPTABLET HYBRID’S FINAL FORM? Lenovo’s latest makes laptops with touchscreens seem quaint. As well as a touch display, the Yoga Book has an entirely digital keyboard. Blurring the line between laptop and tablet further, it can run either Windows 10 or Android 6.0. Available in black, gold or grey and with almost iPhone thinness, it looks supremely stylish. The downside is that the Yoga Book is light on specs, with only 64GB storage and an Intel Atom processor, making it more of a futuristic netbook than a full laptop replacement.

NOTHING BEATS THAT NEW DEVICE SMELL

Of the many things we enjoy about testing tech for a living, sniffing it fresh out of the box doesn’t rank all that highly. But if you want to enjoy ‘New Mac’ smell all year round, try this candle. It has scents of mint, peach, basil, lavender, mandarin organge, and sage, but, ironically, not apple. New Mac Candle From £20 | $25 | twelvesouth.com


082

Call for Backup

From portable hard drives to cloud storage, keeping your files safe has never been so easy We all own devices that include certain files that we really don’t want to lose. No matter if it’s an important work document, a movie you’re dying to watch, or perhaps a photo close to your heart, we’ll want to make sure these files remain safe and sound. It’s therefore surprising that more people aren’t taking the necessary precautions against unexpectedly losing their files. Accidents can happen, so if your device ever broke down, you could be left scratching your head with how to retrieve its contents It doesn’t need to be like that, though, and users

should look to the world of file backups. We admit it doesn’t sound the most exciting of tasks, but backing up your files is one of the easiest, but most overlooked, ways of protecting your data. It’s not a process that’s solely used on desktop computers either, as there’s a growing trend of apps available for both smartphones and smart TVs that also have backup support. Heck, even game consoles now enable you to back up your saves – a good way of protecting yourself from file corruption. Want to improve your file management? It’s time to call for backup.


Call for Backup

083

START BACKING UP NOW We can’t emphasise this enough, but every person who owns some sort of electrical device needs to start backing up their data in case something goes wrong. There really is no alternative for making multiple copies of your files, especially when backing up to an online cloud server, or an extra piece of storage-based hardware. Due to the importance of backing up your data, there

01Connect it up

Put one end of the Meem into your device, while connecting the other to your charger. The Meem app will then automatically download onto your device.

are more options for users than ever before, based on your requirements and budget. When you’re then taking the first steps into the world of file backups, you may find it a pretty boring task. Again, advancements in the filed mean that many of these services now do the work for you, so you can put your feet up while devices like the Meem cable automate the backup process.

some 02Add security

You’ll be prompted to create a security PIN. After this, confirm the areas of your device you want to back up to the app.

Time Machine

CrashPlan

This handy piece of software from Apple backs up all of your files to an external hard drive, so if your device gets ruined, then users can restore their files at a later date and essentially restore the device to how it was. Free | apple.com

Running in the background on your computer, CrashPlan automatically backing up any file that’s placed in a specified directory. Best of all, it works in sync with any number of USBbased external drives. £50 a year | $60 a year | crashplan.com

If you prefer getting hands-on with your backups, then make sure you’re backing up regularly. Those with a sprawling amount of devices should be backing up once a month, but if your entire life is stored on one device, backing up once a week is of paramount importance. Backing up your data is a is an essential part of your digital life, so make sure you do it properly.

03Automated backup

The process will now begin. When it’s done, you’ll receive a notification giving you an overview of what was backed up.

pp g users to create Applets that automate different smartphone features. Link IFTTT with your cloud account and let a created Applet do the work for you. Free | ifttt.com


084

Call for Backup

WHICH BACKUP IS BEST FOR YOU?

Using Synology’s Cloud Station Backup, the DS115J can be tailored to consistently back up directories on your PC as soon as changes have been made to it, without you needing to do a thing

synology.com

Front-mounted indicators will alert you to any issues. Keep track of these to see if your LAN connection in particular is working well. Any issues? Dig into the bundled diagnostics software

There are a lot of options out there when it comes to backing up, and each differs in terms of the usability and suitability for each user. Portable storage is great for taking your files on the go, while larger NAS drives are ideal for businesses and largescale file storage. Don’t forget the likes of cloud storage, perfectly tailored for those seeking a way of backing up from any PC or smartphone. There really is a backup solution for everyone.

Cloud Station Backup

£75 | $115

Is it connected?

Synology DiskStation DS115j The DS115j is an entry-level NAS server, aimed to help users easily back up their documents and files into an online and personal, cloud vault.

File management The DS115J includes a file management system, allowing you to take control of any stored files. Photos can even be edited within Synology’s basic photo-editing suite

THE PERFECT BACKUP FOR DEVICE HOARDERS Network-attached storage, more commonly known as NAS, is a wireless storage system that allows for multiple devices to be connected to it simultaneously. This means that you can have different devices all backing up to your NAS drive at the same time. The drives themselves are big and bulky, but the size allows them to include a

ridiculous amount of possible storage – multiple terabytes in certain instances. Away from your PC or printer, NAS drives can also wirelessly link with your smart TV, so it’s also possible to backup 4K content, or link with your games console to store additional file saves. Expensive? Definitely, but NAS drives are ideal for those with multiple devices.

No need to faff with menus Back up data and stream content The HS-210 blends together a secure storage facility with a range of high-end movie streaming features, meaning it’s the perfect accompaniment to any living room.

After initially setting it up, the AirPort Time Capsule automatically backs up your files into an encrypted vault over a specified schedule that benefits you.

QNAP HS-21

Apple AirPort Time Capsule

£410 | $515 | qnap.com

£300 | $300 | apple.com


Auto-backup feature Set up a timed schedule within the included WD Backup software so that your files are automatically backed up when you need them to be. Everything from music, folders and movies are compatible

Call for Backup

PLUGAND-PLAY STORAGE AT ITS BES There’s a lot of similarities between portable hard drive and flash drives, with both offering a highly-convenient way of storing files and folders. With portable hard drives, however, you do get more bang for your buck. Their bigger size enables them to offer a far superior amount of internal storage compared to their smaller counterparts, while they also tend to have a deeper lev of file encryption in place for every backed up file. Plus if the latest WD My Passport range is anything to go by, their revamped design will save any embarrassment when using them on your daily commute.

085

Password protection Users can be safe in the knowledge that each WD unit is secured with 256-bit AES encryption, helping to keep your files private. You’ll even get notified if someone tries to access your account

£150 | $130 wdc.com

WD My Passport Built to last e nature of the My eans it needs to the rough and veryday life. The s shock-tolerance rced shell that can ps and scrapes

WD’s My Passport drive is a USB-powered portable storage bank. It plugs directly into your computer, with full cross-compatibility on all major desktop operating systems.

BACKUPS THAT FIT IN YOUR POCKET

Super-fast SSD storage This portable SSD is equipped with a lightweight, compact design and super-speedy USB 3.0 connectivity. Its drag-and-drop file transfer system is a big help.

SanDisk Extreme PRO Flash Drive Boasting 128GB of storage space, the Sandisk Pro is a traditional USBbased flash drive that is capable of transferring around one thousand photos in less than 40 seconds. £70 | $65 | sandisk.co.uk

Transcend ESD400K £200 | £180 | transcend-info.com

eep data cked down e diskAshur Pro is uipped with a full ne-character keypad, signed to help users otect their stored s through a complex ssword procedure.

torage skAshur Pro 70 | $430 | orage-uk.com

Verbatim PinStripe USB 3.0 While also being one of the cheapest flash drives on the market, the PinStripe also offers a unique pushprotection feature to help keep the USB connection safe. £5 | $10 | verbatim-europe.co.uk

Samsung T3 SSD (1TB model) Samsung’s T3 SSD is one of the world’s smallest portable storage drives, which also manages to achieve transfer speeds of up to 450 megabits per second – that’s fast! £300 | $495 | samsung.com


086

Call for Backup

WHICH CLOUD STORAGE IS BEST FOR YOU?

Cloud storage has fast become one of the easiest ways for users to back up their files securely. But, as is the case with most emerging tech, there’s a lot of misconceptions about it. First and foremost, cloud storage is equally as private and safe as nearly any hardware. Most cloud storage facilities offer their users an encrypted vault for their files, with then passwords and two-step authentication systems then applied to it. You can make it as secure as you like, the choice is really all down to you. Some people think that files stored in the cloud will eventually disappear, again, that simply isn’t true. Those files will stay in the cloud for as long as you need them, and the benefit of their online presence, is that you can access them from any smartphone, laptop, or in some cases, game console whenever you like. But it’s important to stick to the well-known cloud facilities, as wannabe hackers are known for creating spinoffs of successful brands. Pick the right cloud client, and your files will remain completely safe online.

Tapiriik Tapiriik synchronises your fitness activities between all of the leading fitness-based apps on the market. All of these can then be viewed and compared within the Tapirik software.

Best for… Fitness data

My Music Cloud

Google Photos

SpiderOak

For mass photo uploads, look no further than Google Photos. Not only do users get free unlimited storage, the app has an embedded editing suite where you can customise any of your uploads.

SpiderOak uses its own ‘Zero Knowledge’ policy, which puts every uploaded file through a encryption process. A series of two-factor authentication and password systems are required before any downloads.

Best for… Large-scale photo uploads

Best for… Sensitive files and folders

Degoo

Unclouded

Offering users unlimited free storage, My Music Cloud allows you to upload and sync your music across any and all devices you may own. It works across many devices, such as phones and PCs.

This offers a whopping 100GB of free cloud storage, with 2,000GB for those who don’t mind paying. It has an independent movie uploading feature, which helps keep upload times to an absolute minimum.

Unclouded enables users to connect and analyse all of the cloud accounts that hey may own. Using the app, you can scan for files, find duplicates, sync folders between certain accounts and manage downloads.

Best for… Your music library

Best for… Movie uploads

Best for… Managing your cloud accounts


From the makers of

3D Make & Print is a comprehensive, inspiring manual for one of the most exciting fields of modern technology – 3D printing. With th s stunning publication you’ll learn how to pick a new 3D reate your own 3D models.

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PROJECT

01

THE SMART WAY TO STACK DISHES

Loading a dishwasher isn’t exactly what we could call ‘work’, especially when you compare it to the manual alternative. Inevitably, though, we all pull out dishes after a wash and are horrified to find that the results aren’t as good as we had hoped. Your first thought may be that the dishwashing salt or rinse aid has run low, but a lot of the time it simply comes to how you have placed everything on the racks. If you want to get the best result every time, there is a surprising amount of strategy that should go into organising your plates, bowls and cups when putting them into the dishwasher. If dishes are

The scientific approach to getting sparkling results pressure 01The is on

“Some items are best on the top shelf and not the bottom”

There are two areas: the inside where the pressure of the water will do the cleaning – this is best for carbohydratebased stains, such as potato. The outside area allows cleaning agents longer to soak, so this is where dishes with protein-based stains should be

things 02Mix up a bit

If you have different sized plates, mix them up on the rack – if you have a row of the same, uniform size, then they are likely to stack against each other and water won’t reach in between them

03Safety first

In the cutlery basket, knifes should be resting in a facedown position in order to avoid injury. Forks and spoons should be mixed as, similarly to plates, they can easily clash against each other and not be cleaned

too close to each other, for example, then there is not enough space for water to travel and clean everything properly, and some items are best put on the top shelf and not the bottom. Dr. Raul PérezMohedano, a chemical engineer from the University Of Birmingham, has developed a comprehensive method for the best results. Even though all dishwasher racks are different, this guide will show you how to get sparking results with every cycle.


the smart way to stack dishes

it on 04Keep the top rack

Items, such as bowls or cups, should face down and at an angle. This allows water to drain from them. Any plastics should be kept on the top rack as it keeps them away from the heating element in the dishwasher and avoid them warping

5

091

THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW WHERE DISHWASHER SAFE

01 Baseball hats Check the labels on the hat before doing this, but they are safe as long as they are on the top rack of the dishwasher. Just don’t put them in the same load as the dirty dishes.

02Toys

Just put on a cycle with no detergent and they’ll be germ-free. There is always a slight risk of damage so be sure avoid this method for any sentimental items. Obviously, do not do this with batterypowered toys.

Makeup 03 and hair brushes This only applies to plastic brushes, ones with wooden handles should be hand cleaned. Remember to remove as much hair as possible to avoid any clogging of the drains.

04Cleaning Supplies Even cleaning tools needs cleaning themselves once in a while. Dustpans, dusters, sponges vacuum accessories and plastic brushes can all go through a cycle as long as they are plastic.

05

No need to rinse

Some people like to rinse their dishes before sticking them in, but this isn’t necessary. As long as you scrape the majority of food from the plate into a bin then there is no need for good rinsing

06

Turn up the heat

Before you start the dishwasher, run the hot tap nearby until the water is heated. A Dishwasher can heat the water itself but this method will save time and possibly energy

05 Bathroom Items Soap trays, plugs, rubber mats, showerhead and toothbrush holders can be cleaned along with dishes on a normal cycle.


PROJECT

02

MASTER ALLO

Let Google talk to your friends for you Google’s Allo may seem like the latest in what feels like an endless sea of messaging apps but the inclusion of Google Assistant make it stand out amongst its stablemates. Messaging on Allo is a bit easier than other apps and, in some cases, it can even make replying quicker. The app can be downloaded to Android and iOS devices or if you have the Google Pixel phone then it comes preinstalled. Photos can be doodled on before sending but if that isn’t your thing then Allo has a variety of stickers, for when an emoji doesn’t say enough. There are some other helpful features: for example, at the home screen is a search icon, so if you remember a conversation but not who it was with, then you can look for words to try and find the chat. You can also assign different notification sounds for different contacts so you know who has messaged you before you’ve even picked your phone up. Allo has an uphill battle ahead, but with some smart and useful features it may be worth switching to – most notably of which is its integration with Google Assistant. What really sets Google Assistant out from the likes of Alexa and Cortana is that it can be used with texting. All others are solely voice controlled, and sometimes the location we’re in prohibits this but with Google you can type freely and get responses.

“Google Allo has an uphill battle ahead but it may be worth switching to”


Master Allo

093

01Access all areas

02Start chatting

03Suggested messages

04Background information

05Tweak the text

06Going incognito

When the app is booted up for the first time it will ask for permission to send SMS messages as well as access to your contacts and media. Allo uses your existing mobile phone number, so it will ask you to confirm this, once done it will send a six-digit code that you must type in to prove that it’s your number. Set up a profile image and name then you are good to go.

During conversations, if a question is asked such as “Where can we get food?” an Assistant icon will appear to let you know that it can make suggestions. At any point in the conversation you can type @Google followed by a question and Assistant will get to work. Information, such as what films are in cinemas, can be searched and Assistant will ask if you want to see the trailer.

Now you can start messaging. If you want to familiarise yourself with most of the features you can open a chat where you only talk to Google Assistant. If you want to see what the program can offer, say or type: “What can you do?” and a list of options will appear. If you have some spare time to kill you could play one of the games offered by Allo such as guess the movie being described in emojis.

If you want your text to be bigger to get your point across, instead of putting the text in all caps, hold the send icon and a slider will appear. Slide up to increase the size of the message or slide down if you would like the text to be smaller. If you want something different, there are a wide variety of stickers on the app. There’s bound to be something that expresses how you’re feeling.

The Smart reply feature in Allo analyses the messages sent to you and gives responses that it thinks are appropriate. When you receive a notification from Allo, it will show two suggested responses, if you go into the chat and there will be plenty more. It learns from what you type and changes its responses based on that, so it can recommend the right things in the future.

You can open an incognito chat to talk privately, these are encrypted so that not even Google can see them. Because of this, the smart reply feature and Google Assistant cannot be used in this mode. In the options you can set it so you receive discreet notifications or have them not appear at all. The messages can be set to delete after a set time, like Mission Impossible… but less cool.


PROJECT

03

USE IFTTT TO AUTOMATE YOUR LIFE IFTTT can take much of your daily hassle away

IFTTT is a very clever app that is designed to let you connect services you use often. You will find that you perform certain activities every day and this is where IFTTT can help because it automates a lot of these tasks in the background. The app has undergone significant changes over time, and improvements include the addition of Applets, which are designed to take away all of the complexity, and it is also visually more obvious than ever before. Setting up complex rules can, at times, feel like computer programming, but in IFTTT you can use its natural interface and simplistic buttons to create complexity in the simplest of ways. We will show you how to use IFTTT and how to make the most of the service, but the best advice is to experiment with what it has to offer and to spend time pushing it to the limit.

Create 01 a new Applet

Select a 02 trigger service

At the bottom of the screen, tap ‘My Applets’ to see which, if any, are already active. This screen will display any automations that have already been created, but to build a new one tap the ‘+’ icon in the top-right-hand corner. You should find as you work with IFTTT that every single screen is as obvious as can be. You will now see a new screen with ‘if, this, then, that’ listed. Tap the highlighted ‘this’ option.

You now need to select the trigger service which means the app or network that has a specific action performed against it, which then triggers the Applet. There is a search bar at the top to quickly find one or you can tap a tile to select it. Once selected, you need to specify a trigger of which the options will be listed. After you have done this, you can choose the next service in the Applet process.


Use IFTTT to automate your life

095

AUTOMATION ACCESSORIES

01

01. Track your weight

02

Using IFTTT with the Withings Body Cardio scales, you can automatically sync your weight with Fitbit when you weigh yourself or save your weight to a dedicated spreadsheet or on Google Calendar, so you can track your fitness over time. £120 | $180 | withings.com

02. Wake up well

03

Automating your LIFX Color 1000 smart bulbs with IFTTT means that you can set them to flash when you door bell rings, or make it turn on slowly at the time of your choosing for a more gentle morning wake up. £36| $45 | lifx.com

03. Use the Force The Force Band is designed to control the Sphero BB-8. But the wearable has recently been integrated with IFTTT, so with a Jedi-like wave of your hand you can mind-control any compatible smart device, such as getting your Wi-Ficonnected kettle to make you’re morning brew. £70 | $80 | sphero.com

04.Get a warm welcome f you own a BMW with Connected Drive and a Garagio, you can use an Applet to open the garage door when you get home and set your thermostat to your preferred temperature. How clever is that?

04

£160 | $200 | garageio.com

05.Spy on strangers

05

Another gadget that will work with your doorbell via IFTTT, but designed for when you’re not there, is the myd-link Home Wide Eye Panoramic HD Camera. Pressing your doorbell will trigger the camera to start recording for an added level of security. £167 | $140 | dlink.com

The ‘That’ 03 step is crucial

Time to 04 let the Applet run

A screen appears with ‘That’ highlighted. Tap it and you will be taken to a familiar screen to choose the action service. Either use the search bar at the top or tap a tile and then follow the process to choose the action that occurs. For example, you can set the temperature dropping below a certain temperature in the Weather app as a trigger with the action being to automatically send yourself a direct message in Twitter.

The final task is to double-check and accept the way the Applet will run in the future, and to then enable it. You will also be offered the opportunity to receive notifications when the Applet runs, but you will likely find that it is easier to just let things run in the background and to let the action app notify you as it would do normally. You can change or disable the Applet anytime from the ‘My Applets’ screen.


PROJECT

04

CHOP WOOD LIKE A CHAMP Get pro tips from a competitive lumberjack

Maybe we’ve watched too many horror movies, by the whirring blades of a chainsaw can be pretty intimidating. Looking to chop fire wood for this winter without losing a limb, we spoke with Spike Milton, Britain’s most experienced timbersport competitor Milton has been in the foresting industry his whole life and has taken part in several STIHL Timbersports World Championships. This year’s competition took place in Stuttgart, Germany, and around 6,000 people attended to see 22 teams from around the world compete. Milton’s first rule for any aspiring lumberjack is, “You must get the proper training, even if you’re doing it just as a hobby. Each model chainsaw is different, so before you use a new one read the manual. And make sure you have the proper protective equipment, even timbersport competitors wear the gear. Also, if you are buying a chainsaw just for occasional use, don’t get a competition-grade model. That would be like jumping into a Ferrari as soon as you pass your driving test.” Here’s Milton’s top tips for chopping wood like a champ.

Economical engine The MS180 uses 20 percent less fuel than other STIHL models in the same performance class and its emissions have been reduced

£190 | $230 stihl.com

STIHL MS180 Mitlon’s top pick for amateur woodcutters, the MS180 has a single level master control so all the essential functions are easy to access and it’s simple to maintain.

Light for its kind

No bad vibrations The MS180 has an anti-vibration system to reduce oscillations from the engine to the handles, making the job easier on your hands

Petrol chainsaws tend to weigh considerably more than the wired models but the MS180 is light, weighing only 4kg

01 Inspect the workspace

“Have a partner with you before you do any kind of chainsaw work, as you never know what could happen,” Milton says. You need to ensure that the workspace you will be cutting in has no obstacles that could get in your way. If you are cutting a piece of timber, place the wood on a secure, flat surface to prevent it from moving. Always start the chainsaw while it is on the floor, the chain itself should not touch the ground as this couldn’t cause blunting.


Chop wood like a champ

097

WHAT ARE ‘TIMBERSPORTS’?

01Underhand chop

Competitors stand on top of a trunk and have to cut through it by chopping at both sides with an axe. Wood chopped: 13-inch thick White Pine

02Stock saw

All woodcutters use a STIHL MS661. They must cut two disks of wood, one downwards and one upwards, each within a four inch mark. Wood chopped: 16-inch thick white pine

03Standing clock chop

Using an axe, contestants must cut through a vertical block of wood by chopping at both sides. Wood chopped: 12-inch thick white pine

04Single buck

One person must cut through a piece of wood using a two-person, six-foot long cross-cutting buck saw, all on their own. Wood chopped: 19-inch thick white pine

05Springboard chop

Contestants climb a nine-foot high pole by cutting gaps and inserting boards to reach the top and cut down the peak of the pole. Wood chopped: 11-inch white pine

06Hot saw

Similar to the stock saw event, except motorbike engines power the chainsaws. Contestants must cut three disks inside a space of six inches. Wood chopped: 19-inch white pine

02 Starting the engine

Hold onto the top handle with one hand and have one foot through the rear handle to keep it stable. Engage the chain brake and put the master control into the full choke position. Pull the starter rope slowly until you feel resistant and then pull hard upwards. You will have to pull the rope a number of times before it starts. At the end of each pull do not release the rope, guide it back to the chainsaw so it doesn’t get damaged.

03 Warming up the saw

After a few pulls you will hear it make a noise like a burp, flip the master switch to warm-up and then pull the rope a couple more times until it starts. Once it has started gently squeeze the throttle. Once it is fired up you can lift it, but never lift a chainsaw above shoulder height. Accelerate the chainsaw a few times to warm it up. “Put one leg forward and plant both feet on the ground, keeping a strong centre of gravity,” Milton adds.

04 Cutting wood and stopping

“When you are cutting make sure the chainsaw stays straight and use the bar of chainsaw, not the tip,” says Milton. “Be patient, don’t try to rush the job by putting pressure on the saw and don’t tilt it back and forth, the chainsaw should be doing all the work.” To stop the chainsaw first engage the chain brake with your wrist and flip the switch to the off position with your thumb, keeping both hands on the chainsaw at all times.


098

Whatever happened to...

Two-inch display Pocket size At two-and-a-half inches wide, five inches long and half an inch thick it was incredibly portable

As you can imagine from a two-inch screen made in the mid-Eighties, the picture quality wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t great

Solar projection The screen was lit by the light source going through the back of the screen and then reflected off a mirror

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Plug and play

Tune in

The TV didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have built-in speakers, you had to use the earphones packed with the Casio as they also acted as the antenna

The TV had automatic tuning and there was no manual option To tune you only had the two buttons on the front

Whatever happened toâ&#x20AC;Ś

Casio TV-70

The TV so compact you could put it in your pocket Casio marketed its portable TVs in the Eighties as being walletsized, something you would take with you wherever you went. The Casio TV-70 was two-and-ahalf inches wide, five inches long, and although it was portable, it was a flawed device. It had a two-inch, black-and-white â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Solar Projection Screenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; â&#x20AC;&#x201C; light would travel though a screen which was reflected by a mirror to give the display. As you can imagine from a two-inch screen made in the mid-Eighties, the picture quality wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t great as it had a very low contrast. The TV-70 wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t around for long, Casio released a couple of different models around the same time, such as the TV-300 and TV-2000, and while they were thicker than the TV-70 they both came with colour displays.

Fact ďŹ leâ&#x20AC;Ś Year of launch: 1986 Ĺ&#x201D; Mike Tyson became the youngest ever heavyweight champion at the age of 20 years and 4 months. Ĺ&#x201D; Top Gun opened in cinemas. Ĺ&#x201D; Europeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;The Final Countdownâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; reached No.1 in UK charts. â&#x20AC;&#x153;First the Pocket watch, then the pocket radio, then even a pocket camera. But who would have ever thought about a pocket TV?â&#x20AC;? Casio Pocket TV advert â&#x20AC;&#x201C; youtube.com/watch?v=rrRiu1jbL8Q

Buy one today Â&#x2021; Original Price: ÂŁN/A/$130 Â&#x2021; Price Today: ~ÂŁ50-ÂŁ200 There are collectors who specialise in pocket TVs but as is the case with a lot of notable portable TVs, the TV-70 is incredibly hard to come by. There are plenty of different Casio models on Ebay but the prices can vary. For example, the TV-2000 which came out the same year as the TV-70 can go for around $50 but some people have listings with original box and packaging which are asking for ÂŁ125. With the TV-70 being a harder-to-find model it is safe to say that sellers will ask for around this or more.

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Š 2016 Future Publishing Ltd ISSN 2396-7315


Š GEORGE SURESH

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