Nest Hello video doorbell
Well Hello there! That's now an OK thing to say when you push a doorbell from now on, because a. it's polite, and b. the doorbell is actually called 'Hello'.
Video doorbells a handy way to add functionality and security to your smart home, but Nest being Nest, they've ironed out any issues and given that bell a good polish. The feature-packed Hello is brimming with handy functions, like pre-recorded responses, HD video with a 160-degree field of view, night vision, noise cancellation and family and friend recognition. It also looks, for the most part, like a regular doorbell, without screaming "i'm recording your every move!" to whoever is knocking at your door (although with 24/7 streaming and recording, it actually is).
£329 including installation, nest.com/uk/doorbell
Xbox Adaptive Controller
Gaming controllers can be a barrier for many players, so Microsoft has developed the Xbox Adaptive Controller; a highly customisable solution for gamers with a broad range of disabilities.
The new controller features two large programmable buttons and 19 jacks that can be connected to a range of external joysticks, buttons, switches and mounts, allowing gamers to customise their set up. Microsoft claims it’s the most flexible adaptive controller ever made by a major gaming company.
This project stems from the Gaming for Everyone initiative, which Microsoft launched in 2015 with the goal of engaging a broader range of Xbox players. The controller was also influenced by the work of Warfighter Engaged, a non-profit organisation that creates gaming devices for war veterans.
Urbanista Detroit wireless headphones
These stylish new cans from Urbanista look pretty peachy, and not just in colour (although you can get them in green and black as well).
Battery life is king on the Detroit wireless headphones, offering up 12 hours of playback and 300 hours standby, but the sweetener is that even if you do somehow manage to let them go flat, a quick 15-minute charge is enough to power them for another three hours listening.
Let's face it, at well over a grand for the complete kit and a monster PC to run it off, not many of us are going to be picking up the Oculus Rift to join the VR revolution. Fortunately, for those of us who dare spend our money on other things (like food and rent), Oculus have provided a more reasonable alternative.
The Oculus Go might not be as powerful as their original headset, but the standalone unit (which means you don't have to slot in a smartphone) has a 538ppi 2560 x 1440 WQHD display, and built-in spatial audio for better immersion. On top of that you'll get a controller and even a glasses spacer so that you can wear your specs at the same time (from experience, something sorely lacking from most other VR headsets).
OnePlus have come from seemingly nowhere to become one of the finest phone manufacturers of recent years, and have done it by eschewing the glitz and glamour of the smartphones like the iPhone X or Samsung Galaxy S9, and instead packing otherworldly specs for peanuts.
How does a 6.28-inch optic AMOLED display, 8GB RAM, Snapdragon 845 CPU, 3300 mAh fast charging battery, face unlock, 16 + 20 MP dual cameras for no more than £569 sound? Yep, that's good enough for us.
From £469, www.oneplus.com/uk/6
TP-Link HS110 Smart Plug
Not going to lie, plug sockets are not the most thrilling of things to talk about, even smart ones. That said, this is probably the most interesting that has come our way for a while, because not only can it be switched on remotely, voice controlled by Amazon Alexa, and comes with a timer for automatically switching things on and off, it also has a built-in energy monitor, so you can see how much power your electronics are sucking up in real time. Now that is smart...
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Philips Hue outdoor
Even on the sunniest of days, the Sun will eventually go down and bathe your garden in darkness, but when it does eventually dip below the horizon doesn't mean you have to pack up the BBQ and take the party inside. Previously Philips Hue, the market-leading colour-changing lightbulbs, were only available inside, but the new range of smart lights are designed to withstand the elements, and include spot, pedestal and wall lights.
Being Hue, you can set them to different colours and temperatures to best show off your pansies, and have the benefit of being app controlled, so you can control them from your phone and set them to switch off and on at certain times for a bit of security.
From £64.99, meethue.com
Fitbit’s contribution to the fight against childhood obesity is the Fitbit Ace. It tracks steps, active minutes and sleep, and rewards kids with messages and virtual trophies when they hit daily goals or win step challenges.
Alcatel 3V smartphone
The Alcatel 3V ticks all the boxes when it comes to including the best features from the biggest flagship phones floating around at the moment (2K screen, 18:9 bezel-free display, dual rear cameras, face unlock, Android 8.0) but it does lack one, significant thing - a monstrous cost. OK, it might not be the most powerful phone on the market, but it certainly looks like it's worth a lot more than the sub-£100 price tag suggests.
Available in spectrum blue, spectrum black or spectrum gold for £95 or from £10.00 per month on contract from Tesco Mobile
Vintage Electric Jeff Clark Signature Cruz
Legendary surfer Jeff Clark has collaborated with Vintage Electric on the Jeff Clark Signature Cruz – an electric bike that’ll make you feel like you’re cruising down the sunny Californian coast, even if you’re just battling Tuesday morning traffic.
Powered by a 52V battery, Vintage Electric claims its direct-drive hub motor is completely silent and takes only two hours to recharge. It has a 56km (35-mile) range, and a top speed (in ‘race mode’ – private-property riding only) of 57km/h (36mph). The Signature Cruz also has Shimano hydraulic disc brakes with a regenerative function that pumps power back into the battery when you brake.
The Signature Cruz’s surf vibe is all in the accessories. The handlebars, seat and removable surfboard rack are wrapped in Brooks leather. The rear rack is mounted with insulated panniers that double as cooler bags and there’s even a bottle opener attached. Front and rear LED lights mean you can set out before dawn and return after dusk.
Imagine how productive you’d be with a stream of inspirational messages from the likes of Salvador Dali, Walt Whitman and Mark Twain. Quotes Watch sends motivational words to your wrist as often as you like to spur you on.
PlayTable is the first blockchain game console. It works with physical pieces, cards and dice, and is designed to work as an interactive board game, and uses blockchain tech to keep track of moves and ‘level up’ your pieces.
Tapplock One turns your garden shed or your gym locker into a secure fortress. Only your fingerprint will unlock it. But if it’s too cold to take off your gloves, you can tap in a Morse code combination instead.
LG G7 ThinQ Smartphone
Another phone that wants to punch way above its price point is the LG G7 ThinQ, which is the latest in the line of LG gadgetry to have their ThinQ AI built in. The feature list is vast, if unoriginal (it even has "the notch"), but those that do set it apart are an impressively loud speaker, a dedicated Google Assistant buttons and DTS:X 3D Surround Sound.
Other than that, the internals are bang up to date, with a 6.1-inch QHD+ display, Qualcom Snapdragon 845 chipset, 4GB RAM, fast charging and Android 8.0. Plus we thinq it looks pretty snazzy.
Mio MiVue C Series dash cams
As if crashing your car wasn't stressful enough, sorting out the insurance claim can at times be even more crushing, which is why dash cams have become pretty commonplace these days. The good news, is that they are way more advanced than just sticking a GoPro on your dash.
The MiVue C Series HD dash cams all feature night vision, auto power on to record whole journeys, and special sensors to instantly store footage when a sudden change in movement is detected. If you're willing to spend a bit more you can get GPS and 360-degree video as well. Could be a lot cheaper than a failed claim...
From £49.99, www.mio.com
The great Carl Sagan once said of Earth "We succeeded in taking that picture, and, if you look at it, you see a dot. That's here. That's home. That's us." Pretty inspiring stuff, but it's hard to get a good view of the planet from 6 billion kilometres away.
If you want to get up close and personal with mother Earth (beside getting down on the ground and hugging it), the AstroReality EARTH is a hand-painted model of our pale blue dot of a planet, which when combined with the accompanying app gives a rich AR experience, overlaying all manner of useful info and data. You can see weather patterns flowing over the surface of the planet, the geology of the inner core, animal migration, population density and basically a planet's-worth of interesting facts.
From $179, kickstarter.com
CEENIU Power Dock
Does anybody actually use a mouse mat any more? Maybe, maybe not, but then if it served any purpose more than somewhere to aim your mouse or print pictures of your dog onto, we would.
So, that's exactly what the CEENIU Power Dock has done. This smart aluminium pad has three USB charging points for your devices, Qi wireless charging and can hold 10,000 mAh for on-the-go juice. Now that's a mighty mouse mat!
From $69, indiegogo.com
Parrot Bebop 2 Power drone
These days rarely a day goes by without the distinctive buzz of a drone wafting over your head, but there's a good reason for it - they're pretty darn cool to play with. The latest setup from Parrot, one of the most popular drone manufacturers, will have you checking out skylines and scenery from way up high thanks to a complete package of drone, controller and headset for first person viewing.
The 14MP camera can take full HD video, 360-degree panoramas, as well as a bunch of drone specific selfies, all easily uploaded directly to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat.
We have loads more gadget news in the Innovations section of BBC Focus magazine, where we look for even more novel and unusual tech that could change the world we live in - find out what is in the current issue here.
- The cool gadgets list - April 2018
- The cool gadgets list - March 2018
- The cool gadgets list - February 2018