The cool gadgets list - April 2018

The cool gadgets list – April 2018

Spring is finally here - and so is the new tech. Here are some of the best gadgets and gizmos that have turned our heads this April.

1

Snapchat Spectacles

Snapchat Spectacles

Snapchat Spectacles have been out in the wild for a while now, so it’s about time they had a refresh. Although the new Spectacles 2.0 will set you back an extra £20 over the originals, for that extra cash you get three new frame colours (onyx, ruby, and sapphire) and two lens shades, water resistance, and full HD-only uploads over Wi-Fi, so your Snapchat Memories appear on the site four times faster than before. They also cram their electronics into a smaller space so the frames are sleeker (and so the charging case).

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You can record up to 30 seconds of video at a time, and the new microphones reduce wind noise to better capture voice, which all sounds like a pretty good set of features for recording your gnarly social life (definitely yours though, it is probably far more entertaining than ours…).

Available 3 May, £149.99, spectacles.com

2

Audeara A-01 headphones

Audeara A-01 headphones

There are some pretty excellent headphones out there, but unfortunately not all of our ears were built to such a high spec. No matter how deep the bass or crisp the treble coming out of your cans, it’s a fact of life that we won’t be able to hear the full spectrum of sound.

Using a built in medical-grade audiogram and your smartphone, the Audeara A-01 headphones test your ears and then sculpt a unique sound to boost the frequencies that your need boosting. It means you don’t need to crank them up to 11 to hear everything on whatever you are listening, which is good for your ears and any audiophiles out there.

£299.99, www.audeara.com

3

Orbitsound Dock E30

Orbitsound Dock E30

As Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory knows all too well, every setup has an acoustic sweet spot where the left and right channels are correctly balanced and you get the best sound. Stray from this zone of sonic beauty and things get a little lopsided.

Not only does the Orbitsound Dock E30 look like one of the classier speakers out there, its proprietary Airsound technology eliminates this problem with left and right channels and pumps out delicious stereo sound wherever you are in the room. How it does this is probably something only the aforementioned boffin could understand, but so long as it sounds good, we’re happy. It also has a wireless charging spot and a convenient slot for your devices – very groovy.

£439.99, orbitsound.com

4

Skydio R1

Skydio R1

The Skydio R1 looks (and sounds) a bit like something Skynet from the Terminator series would make, but we doubt it’s hell bent on destroying the human race. Instead, it uses 13 cameras and AI to pick you out as the subject and follow you around, predicting your next move, understanding if something blocks what it’s following and generally avoiding hazards along the way, documenting your every move in 4K.

Actually, this is starting to sound like something that might come in handy for our robot overlords…

$1,499, shop.skydio.com

5

Estelon Lynx speakers

Estelon Lynx speakers

“Exterminate, exterminate!”. Ok, this isn’t actually the new style of Dalek from Doctor Who, but instead an incredibly clever set of speakers, looking to “exterminate” low-quality digital audio. By running the input audio through a myriad of high-tech components, including a DSD rendering engine and a precision FET driver bridge, the sound you get at the end of it is, in their words, “in some sense even closer to analog than analog itself.”

That’s a lofty claim indeed, but you would expect no less for a pair of speakers that set you back the deposit on a very comfortable house.

Availably July 2018, from £35,000, estelon.com/speaker/lynx

6

Nomadic Bluetooth speaker and suitcase

Nomadic Bluetooth speaker and suitcase

Decisions, decisions. Do you pack a portable Bluetooth speaker, with 6” x 4” woofers and two 19mm tweeters, 20-hours battery life and high-end sound in your suitcase or not? Would it make that decision any easier if you knew the speaker could actually slot into your luxury suitcase, combining to form a, well, suitcase-sized boom box for your travels? Decision made!

$399, kickstarter.com

7

Haandle

Haandle

The internet is great, but there are times (specifically dinner times) when we should all just give it a rest for a minute, especially kids. Haandle is a small cube that you plug into your router and manages the time that internet connected devices can use the internet, as well as blocking out any nefarious websites of your choosing.

For those of you who enjoy a little bit of al fresco web browsing, it’ll also restrict mobile data if you so choose, and you can be free from the shackles of the internet to revel in the joys that mother nature provides.

£89.99, haandle.com

8

Nest Cam IQ Outdoor

Nest Cam IQ Outdoor

We very much liked the Nest Cam IQ when we tested it, but the only thing letting it down was that it was indoors only. Well no more, for the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor has pretty much exactly the same features (4K sensor, 12x zoon, Nest Aware), but it also comes with IP66 weather proofing, so it can handle rain, snow, wind, and even the odd sprinkling with a hose.

£329, nest.com/uk

9

Ikea Eneby speakers

Ikea Eneby speakers

Ikea – furnishers of rented accommodation and bedrooms across the planet – have dipped their toes into the gadget game before with their Tradfri smart lights, but the time has come for them to give your lugholes a little bit of a Swedish home renovation.

Their new Eneby Bluetooth speakers come in two sizes, 20cm x 20cm or 30cm x 30cm, and have a distinctive style that screams Ikea out of the box – and boxy they are, so boxy in fact that they they’ll fit snuggly right into your Billy bookcase or Kallax shelving unit. Alternatively, you can hang them from the wall or use a separate speaker stand, just so long as you can reach the one power/volume button on the front.

Now, time to dig out that ABBA playlist…

From £45, ikea.com

10

Energy Tablet 10 Pro 4

Energy Tablet 10 Pro 4

Imagine the situation; you’re out and about, enjoying the Sun and the rather pleasant weather, listening to some bangers on BBC 6 Music when, horror of horrors, the signal cuts out and you’re left without the internet, thus tuneless. Such is the curse of this internet-enabled age in which we live that if it goes, so does our sweet window into the world of music. Unless you have an FM radio…

Yep, thought not, but those clever bods at Energy are one step ahead, putting an FM stereo and technician-engineered sound into their svelte 8.1mm-thick tablet. Still, you might have to settle for Steve Wright’s Sunday Love Songs.

€189, energysistem.com

11

Adonit Android stylus

Adonit Android stylus

Up to now, if you want to use a stylus to prod away at your Android phone you have pretty much been limited to the Samsung Galaxy Note as your device of choice, but wouldn’t be great if you could get a pen as good that didn’t limit you to such a monstrously sized blower?

The Adonit stylus promises to be such a pointer, with the 4.75mm disc at the end of the pen (32 per cent smaller than other styluses), means you can scribble away to your heart’s content with exceptional precision on any Android device, no matter the size of the screen. Also, like traditional pens, it doesn’t need charging, and has a clip so that you can stylishly poke it out of your top pocket, making you the coolest dude in the office.

£19.99, adonit.net/droid

12

Foobot air quality monitor

Foobot air quality monitor

Pollen – it’s everywhere and we hate it. Not because of its ability to entice bees into making delicious honey (we actually quite like that), but for the sneezing fits, runny noses and sore eyes it inevitably causes us this time of the year. Also, pollution tends to get us in a similarly grumpy mood, which is why an air quality monitor is a good way to find out how much of these particular irritants are entering your home.

The foobot tests the quality of the air in your house, giving you an overall score and a coloured indication of when levels of particulates are getting dangerously high – at that point it’s a good idea to open the window. If you’re surrounded by smart home tech, it can even control your devices to tweak the heating and ventilation and drive out the bad air.

£179, foobot.io

13

Amazfit Stratos sport tracking watch

Amazfit Stratos sport tracking watch

What do you want from your smart watch? Pretty much everything, right? That’s what the Amazfit Stratos reckons, with a plethora of useful features all packaged up in a very sleek smart watch body; five-day battery life, waterproof to 50m, GPS, heart-rate monitor, music storage, notifications, more than 10 different sport tracking settings, but what sets it apart is its partnership with Firstbeat to measure your VO2max fitness level. Now all we want I for it to put the kettle on for a nice cup of tea when we get back from a run.

$199, us.amazfit.com

14

Homni smart lamp

Homni smart lamp

Information is power, and this souped-up alarm clock has reams of the stuff spouting from it. Developed with the European Sleep Center, the Homni has four integrated sensors to analyse the temperature, sound level, luminosity and humidity of your bedroom, which feed the accompanying app so you can tinker and tweak with your room until it’s just right. Not only that but it comes with a sleep sensor for in-depth analysis of your sleep duration, sleep cycles and body movement. There are loads more features packed in, like adaptive lighting, a Bluetooth speaker and even USB ports for plugging in your phone.

£199, terraillon.com

15

Half Century Jeans

Half Century Jeans

We like to think we’re fairly fashionable at Focus, but more than that, we like to know we’re doing our part for the environment. That’s why these rather cool new jeans are made using a special hybrid of materials including Japanese selvedge denim, 100 per cent organic cotton and ultra-durable Spectra fibres, which are 15 times stronger than cable steel.

The makers claim they should 50 years without needing to be replaced (hence the name), but if they do need a stitch or replacement they’ll happily do it free of charge.

£79, tomcridland.com

16

MEATER smart thermometer

Heater
BBQ season is around the corner, which means that the season of undercooked burgers, dodgy-looking chicken and frazzled steaks is upon us. Rather than having to clock where the nearest toilet is before you take a bite out of uncle Steve’s unidentifiable meat thing, it’s a good idea to check it’s cooked all the way through, which is where a thermometer comes in handy.

And us being the tech-savvy bods that we are, we love the look of this MEATER smart thermometer, which connects to your phone and lets you know when the meat is perfectly cooked and how long you should let it rest before tucking in. Hook it up to Alexa, and you can even ask her how long is left before you can get guzzling.

£79, meater.com

17

iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus – RED Special Edition

iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus – Red Special Edition

You must have been living under a rock for the last six months if you haven’t got a glimpse of the iPhone 8 features by now (Retina display, 3D Touch, wireless charging 70 per cent faster chip, general Appleyness), but all of us haven’t seen one in red…

Well now you have, and a portion of the phone’s sales will go to Global Fund HIV/AIDS grants, which is rather groovy of Apple.

From £49.00 a month, £99.00 upfront on Three, three.co.uk

18

OVO vehicle-to-grid charger

OVO

Electric cars are becoming more and more popular, but the downside to drawing power from your home supply is that you end up with a giant battery sitting in your garage when it could be doing something far more useful, like supplying power back into your house.

The OVO VCharge system is not the first time that we’ve seen vehicle-to-grid technology, but it is the first from a major energy supplier being provided en masse. It discharges the energy stored in the electric car when it is not in use, to be sold back to the supplier, and uses a smart charger to draw its own energy at off-peak times, meaning drivers can take advantage of those juicy, off-peak prices.

From summer 2018 for up to 1,000 Nissan electric vehicle owners as part of a two-year trial

19

GoXtreme Barracuda 4K Action Cam

GoXtreme Barracuda

Remember last month when the GoPro Hero came out that we said at £200 it was “not a bad haul for that price”? Well, by that logic the GoXtreme Barracuda 4K Action Cam is the catch of the day.

For £80 less you get the same two-inch touchscreen and waterproofing to 10 metres, but you also get a hefty a bump in pixels, shooting full 4K instead of standard HD.

£119.99 (£99.99 from Argos), www.goxtreme-action-cams.com

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.


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