Sony-RX100-VI

The cool gadgets list – June 2018

The World Cup might be vying for your attention this month, but there are plenty of gadgets and gizmos that are guaranteed to score some of your interest - here's our pick of the best new gadgets.

Sony RX100 VI

The Sony RX100 range tend to be three things; very compact, very good and very expensive. The sixth model is no exception to the rule, coming in at a wallet draining £1,150!

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For that money though, you get a super fast 0.03 autofocus, 20.1MP sensor, 24fps shooting, image stabilisation and 4K video, all in a tiny package. But, the biggest spec bump (aside from price) is that the lens is now super zoomy, up from 24-70mm to 24-200mm, meaning you can get much closer shots than before. The sacrifice is a few stops of aperture at the top, but with that much zoom behind you who cares…

£1,150, sony.co.uk

Amazon Fire TV Cube

amazon-fire-cube

Just imagine if you could combine the hands-free chattiness of Amazon Alexa with the 4K streaminess of the Fire TV Stick – well that’s exactly what Amazon have done with latest gadget. As you would expect from Alexa, ask it to play Breaking Bad on Netflix it’ll switch on the TV and pick up from where you left off, all in 4K Ultra HD up to 60 fps, HDR, and the with of Dolby Atmos built in. You can even ditch the remote entirely by telling it to turn up the volume and dim the lights, much like you would expect from Amazon’s personal assistant.

It’s available only in the US at the moment, but we can’t imagine it’s going to be too long before you can shout commands at your TV over here (politely of course, we are British after all).

$119.99, amazon.com

Asus ROG Phone

Asus ROG Phone

It looks like the Nintendo Switch might be in danger of losing it’s crown as the king of portable gaming systems – and to a phone of all things!

So what is it that makes the Asus ROG Phone so mighty when it comes to gaming? Well, aside from being part of Asus’ Republic of Gamers brand, it has the latest generation speed-binned 2.96GHz octa-core Snapdragon 845 processor with a gaming-optimised graphics unit, 8GB RAM, and a super-fast 90Hz AMOLED display with 1ms response. If you don’t know what all that means, it’s basically very, very fast – so fast in fact that it needs its own heat sink to keep it cool.

Packing that much heat in your pocket is unlikely to be comfortable, but with all that power and a host of other gaming tweaks and peripherals means it probably spend more time in your fingers.

£TBA, asus.com/uk

Atom 4G Rugged Smartphone

Unihertz Atom

Great things come in small packages – or so some might say. As it happens, we didn’t say that when we tried out the Jelly Pro smartphone, but that doesn’t mean all hope was lost for the teeny, tiny ringer. The Atom is a much-improved update, with Android 8.1, fingerprint scanner, NFC, Gorilla Glass and dual SIM slots.

Although it is slightly larger, it is still only 96mm X 45mm and 18mm thick, and it’s built for the wild, with a rugged body and IP68 waterproofing, meaning it can be dunked 30m under water for half an hour. Just try not to drop it, as you might struggle to find it again it’s so small!

From $219, kickstarter.com

Wickedbone

Wickedbone

Wickedbone is the ultimate toy for energetic dogs with tired owners. You can direct the olling bone-shaped robot with your smartphone, so you can play with your dog while motionless
on the couch.

AU$89 (approx £50), cheerble.com

Jaquet Droz Signing Machine

Jaquet Droz Signing Machine

If your hand gets tired signing autographs for adoring fans, then you might be able to afford this signing machine. Each of these machines has 585 moving parts that have been assembled by hand and mechanically coded for the owner.

$367,500, jaquet-droz.com

BllocZero18

BllocZero18

In the rebellion against addictive tech, distraction-free smartphones are all the rage. While most look to cut down on features, the BllocZero18 takes a different approach: it’s a full-featured phone but runs on an operating system that consolidates all your apps into a single timeline, called The Root.

All your in-app interactions, notifications and conversations, including Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Slack and more are combined into one continuous flow by The Root. The idea is to encourage users to use their phones more efficiently, so whether you’re booking flights or checking the weather, it all happens in one place.

The BllocZero18’s monochrome display is said to be less stimulating than colour to deter you from mindlessly scrolling. But the phone still packs a 13-megapixel camera that shoots in 4K and lets you view your pics and clips in colour when necessary.

Thanks to the monochrome display, the apps work incredibly fast and the phone is comparatively power-efficient, giving you a longer performance for a single charge. For people who don’t want to compromise on function, this might be a good start to kicking your smartphone addiction.

€359, blloc.com

Bob Grillson Premium S

Bob Grillson Premium S

The Sun is out, and if you haven’t already dusted off the BBQ and started frazzling sausages what are you waiting for? Is it an electric barbecue that uses an element to heat, smoke and sear, is app controlled and uses temperature probes and a wood pellet feeder system to cook your al fresco dinner perfectly, and also acts as a pizza oven and can self clean? Well my friend, you no longer have any excuses…

€4,390, en.grillson.com

RedKey

RedKey

Personal info can often be retrieved off scrapped computers, even after you’ve done your best to delete it. RedKey securely and permanently wipes your data: just plug it in to a USB port, switch on the power, and the wipe will start.

£62, redkeyusb.com

Bose SoundWear Companion Speaker

Bose SoundWear Companion Speaker2

For a compromise between in-your-own-world headphones and a blaring sound system, try the Bose Neck Speaker. Slip it round your neck and it produces a cone of sound that concentrates the music in the wearer’s listening space.

£259.95, bose.co.uk

GumShoe

GumShoe

In the Netherlands, 1.5 million kilograms of gum ends up stuck to the pavement every year. A group of companies is pulling that gum up off the streets, and turning it into pairs of shoes.

Gumdrop, a Dutch sustainability company, has invented a compound called Gum-Tec, 20 per cent of which is made from gum prised from the streets of Amsterdam. They’ve collaborated with marketing group Iamsterdam and designer Explicit Wear to create GumShoes, which come in bubblegum pink (of course), as well as a more muted black. A kilogram of gum is used in every four pairs of shoes.

To celebrate GumShoe’s origins, each sole has an Amsterdam street map printed in its tread, and the companies are hoping to expand the project to other major cities. “By looking at waste differently, we can find innovative solutions that will bring change to help keep our planet clean,” said Anna Bullus, designer at Gum-Tec.

€190, gumshoe.amsterdam

Sennheiser CX Sport

Sennheiser CX Sport

These lightweight, sweat-resistant wireless earbuds are designed specifically for sport. You can control them with a three-button remote and if you’ve got your boxing gloves on, you can use voice prompts for convenience.

£119, sennheiser.com

Acton Blink Qu4tro

Acton Blink Qu4tro

This all-wheel-drive electric longboard has a motor in each wheel, so you’re not going to grind to halt riding up steep streets. It has a single-charge range of 35km (22 miles), regenerative braking and tops out at 37km/h (23mph).

$1,699, actonglobal.com

Adidas AM4NYC

Adidas AM4NYC

Adidas has released the New York version of their ‘Made for’ series, created by the Adidas Speedfactory robots. They’re tailored for streets of the Big Apple (expertly handling abrupt 90° corners), and the design is driven by data from local runners.

£159.95, adidas.com

Time Since Launch

Time Since Launch

Want to mark an important event? Pull the pin on this Time Since Launch clock, and it’ll record the days, hours, minutes and seconds since it took place, for up to 2,700 years. Just remember to replace the batteries every 40 years.

$150, cwandt.com

Glowforge

Glowforge

With this desktop laser cutter and engraver, you can ‘print’ yourself a custom leather satchel, engrave a skin for your laptop, or even create a drone with dual rubber band gatling guns, all from the comfort of your desk.

$2,500, glowforge.com

Chris – digital assistant for drivers

Chris - digital assistant for drivers

Don’t use your phone while you’re driving – it’s very simple advice and could get you into a lot of trouble if you choose not to follow it. But life goes on, even if we’re driving, and if you haven’t got a mate/family member next to you to read your messages out, the next best thing is probably Chris, the makers of which have dubbed it “Alexa for Automotive”.

So what does Chris do? Much like a human passenger, Chris can connect to your phone, read your messages, play music and navigate you on your journey (hopefully better than many a fleshy, human co-pilot). What makes it better than a phone or sat-nav, is that it is designed specifically for drivers, so it’ll respond to hand gestures, works offline, and generally keeps you the right side of the law.

Available September, £299, hellochris.ai

Moshi IonSlim 10K Portable Battery

Moshi IonSlim 10K Portable Battery

Battery life on laptops is, in general, pretty good these days, but that doesn’t mean you ditch the plug for good – you still have to lug around the power pack if you want to last the day. So, wouldn’t it be nice if, like you can for your mobile phone, you could carry a portable power pack for a quick bump of juice… As luck would have it you can.

The Moshi IonSlim 10K Portable Battery has a healthy 10,000 mAh capacity, with 35W output, which is powerful enough to power a USB-C powered laptop you’re wielding. It also has a second USB-A socket for all your retro devices, and looks pretty sleek as well.

£94.95, moshi.com

Asus ZenBook Pro 15

Asus ZenBook Pro 15

Call us greedy, but wouldn’t it be a pleasure to have TWO screens on your laptop? Yep, at some point in the future we might look back over the last 30 or so years and wonder why we ever thought of lugging around only one laptop screen when there is a perfectly screen-like space in the trackpad.

Well the ZenBook Pro is that vision of the future, packing a second screen into the touchpad (called a “ScreenPad”, obviously), that adapts to apps you’re using so you can tweak presentations, tot up numbers and watch video while you’re, aherm, doing work. Behind the ScreenPad is an absolute monster of a laptop, so don’t expect this level of futurism to come cheap, but at least you’ll be able to look back and say “i was there at the dawn of the new epoch of civilisation…”

£TBC, asus.com

Blinkers bike lights
Blinkers bike lights

Some of us are complete cycling wusses on the road, and without two hands firmly planted on the handlebars wobble all over the place. Others are much better on two wheels, and can swing in and out between traffic like a ninja. Wherever you fit on the spectrum of bike riders we could all do with being better at indicating when we’re turning (drivers included).

Blinkers are bike lights that can be controlled from a button on your handle bar to indicate whether you’re going left or right, and also work out when your braking to glow the rear lights red. The top of the range model will also fire a laser out around you protecting you from overtaking cars. Sadly it doesn’t zap them into oblivion, it just shows them a safe zone to pass, but who knows what the next model of Blinkers will hold… (we’re guessing they’re probably not going to be death rays).

From £89, www.blinkers.bike

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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