To paraphrase Ferris Bueller, tech moves pretty fast – and if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss the chance to own a drone with a 12 megapixel camera which starts hovering when it recognises your face. So keep up with our weekly pick of the best gadgets and tech out right now, whether you’re after something simple to make your every day more frictionless or something a bit special. To be specific, the ‘something a bit special’ is a solid gold phone power bank.
The name ‘Evolve Stoke’ sounds like a drum and bass night in the Potteries, and the skateboard’s just as terrifying as that sounds. Powered by a 3000-watt dual motor, it’s responsive and nimble to ride, and it’s made of eco-friendly bamboo and fibreglass too.
A normal padlock is boring. Practical? Sure. Essential for securing your bits and pieces? Undoubtedly. But a biometric padlock which opens with your thumbprint – buddy, you’re basically turning your shed/bike chain/secret stash of Wispas into a secure facility. You’re not just locking up your lawnmower/bike/choc. You’re a master spy.
This rejig of the original OneStep simplifies things and adds a few tweaks – the viewfinder’s easier to use, the flash is more powerful, it’s got a self-timer and there’s a fresh two-tone paint job – so you’re pretty much ready to go straight out of the box. Just add some film and you’re away.
Look, we’ve no idea how the 2020s are likely to go at this point – could be great, could be a bit spicy. Just in case you need something to spot marauding hordes heading toward your bunker from the horizon, get some extremely lightweight, extremely durable, high definition binoculars.
A big city guy like you is obviously inured to the wonders of powerbanks now. Sure, sure. But what about one which fits in your wallet with your other cards and is covered in 20-carat gold? Yeah. Big time.
Having a baby for the first time is a terrifying experience. One day you don’t have a baby, and then: BABY. A tiny little human being, rolling around in your house. And if anything goes wrong, it’s just automatically your fault. Get some peace of mind with a camera and a sock which sends data about your wean’s heart rate and oxygen levels to an app.
One from the bulging bald brain of Heston Blumenthal, this is part pressure cooker, part slow cooker, part robo-chef. Its sensors at both the top and bottom of the cooking chamber adjust the pressure, steam levels and heat to get the most out of all the individual ingredients you’re cooking in there.
Being the partner of a snorer is hard. You love them, sure. You also spend three or four hours a night mentally smothering them to death. You could take the prison time as long as you got some rest. If that’s you, this gadget could be a literal life-saver. Slap it on your partner’s forehead, and it’ll detect when they change sleeping position at night to make sure their new one isn’t one in which they’ll start rattling the windows again. Not dignified, but necessary.
There are absolutely loads of Bluetooth speakers out there, and most of them are hooked up to Alexa, Siri or Google Assistant. This one’s concerned with your privacy though – when you turn it off, by pressing the central speaker bit down into the body of the speaker, it physically disconnects the microphone so Jeff Bezos definitely can’t hear you. Plus, it’s small but mighty, and its kicky 45-watt speaker really fills a room.
You’re an environmentally conscious guy. You hate climate change – bloody hate it. It. Is. Rubbish. And being the great guy you are, you put up with the fact that your reusable water bottle smells a bit weird some of the time. That’s the price you pay for singlehandedly saving Earth. Guys! There’s no planet B!
But there is now a plan B for your bottle – this one, which self-cleans and uses UV-C light to purify water of 99.99 per cent of its bacteria and viruses. Just charge it up once a month and you’re sorted.
Mr Porter, £118
These Wayfarer-like frames aren’t just for preventing your corneas melting when you stare straight into the Sun, oh no. Miniaturised Bose speakers in the arms direct music, podcasts, calls and whatever other noises your phone makes into your ears, while also allowing you to bounce around hearing The Real World.
Get rid of unsightly nobbles and bobbles on your knitwear with this high-grade de-nobbler and de-bobbler, which uses aluminium razor blades to efficiently and safely nip off the offending pulls. Portable, effective, and it’ll make your jumpers last twice as long.
Mr Porter, £40
No matter where you are you’ll never, ever, ever have to sup at tepid, substandard coffee ever again with this, which uses either coffee grounds or those little pods to spurt out a top class brew.
Programme this robot using Scratch 3.0 or Python, and watch as it recognises different objects and responds to sounds. It’s a terrifyingly sophisticated bit of kit, with quality AI. Could it conceivably lead its fellow robots in a mechanised coup against its humanoid oppressors? You’ll find out on Boxing Day.
Your hob, with that great whacking blue flame, isn’t the best for recipes that require a more sensitive touch. Entire the Anova Nano. Stick it in a pot and it heats the contents in gradations of a 10th of a degree, but up 92C. So now you can sous-vide stuff without having to make space on your counter for a massive water bath.
A little over an inch across, this little fella can be attached to pretty much anything you’re likely to leave behind somewhere, then when you inevitably do, will let you track it down again using an app.
The kind of radio which will make visitors do double gun-fingers and say “niiiiiiice” as they walk into your kitchen, then force them to put those fingers in their ears when you assault them with its foundation-shaking bass.
The Galaxy continues to be one of the sleekest smartwatch designs on the market, and the Active2 offers customisable screens and much-improved insights into your fitness and health. It also comes with sleep and meditation programs, which might help you finally kick that early hours Kitchen Nightmare habit and actually get some rest.
Google’s ‘Night Sight’ camera technology blew away competition when it arrived last year, and it’s received a significant upgrade for the Pixel 4. The camera now even allows for crystal clear astrophotography (alas, the British weather generally does not, but it’s a very, very cool feature). Other improvements include touchless gestures, facial recognition and a lovely 90Hz display.
If someone asked you to picture a Dyson-designed lamp, you’d probably imagine something a little more abstract than this. A little more Jetsons. But the real ingenuity lies in its ability to track local daylight and adjust itself to help your mood and reduce eyestrain. It also connects to an app so you can sync it up with your sleeping schedule, and the light quality lasts 60 whole years.
You just can’t keep those pesky basil plants alive, can you? Try as you might, you inevitably wake up to a wilting graveyard of tasteless leaves. Well, stop relying on shop-bought pots and invest in this trusty herb-gardening kit, featuring LED grow lights and self-watering mechanics.
This is basically an extremely fancy rework of the Teasmade from the 80s – this one looks like it’s been engineered by Nasa and designed by Ikea. Set the alarm, go to sleep, wake up to the smell of freshly brewed tea or coffee.
You might think that wireless headphones are all much of a muchness. The T5 Ultra Connect proves that you’re extremely wrong. They’re engineered and made in Britain by a British company for one thing, and for another much more flexible than your average. They come packed with three different filters for all-purpose listening, bass-boost or a bit more treble, as well as three silicone earbuds and three mouldable earbuds. And, most importantly, the sound quality is never less than crisp and punchy, and easily the equal of headphones way above its price point.
Rock Jaw Audio, £74.95
This 4K HD camera drone can be charged from your laptop or power bank but wins most kudos for its featherweight carbon fibre frame, something that helps it fold down to handheld ‘take anywhere’ size in a few seconds. You get (almost) half an hour of flight time on one charge, it’s great for low-angle shots and it captures video and photos crisply and sharply.
“I don’t need a nightlight,” you probably think. “I’m a grown man with a car and a job and and a collection of Alexa-enabled devices. This is silly.” You are so, so wrong. If you’re still up at 2.30am, press the Dodow and it’ll cast a flashing blue light in the room. You just time your breathing with the light’s pulses over either an eight-minute or 20-minute cycle, gradually slowing down and dropping off.
Compact smokeless BBQ that comes in colours ranging from no-nonsense charcoal to pop art pumpkin, its USP is a variable speed fan to control heat levels, warming up to ready-to-cook in three minutes. At 34cm its big enough to hold a couple of steaks at a time and is safe, easy and clean. The most undemanding BBQ you’ll ever fire up.
It’s got the looks of a classic black Moleskine notebook, but the notes you jot down with the smart stylus will be sent to your device via Bluetooth so you can share and edit them digitally.
Top end headphones can all seem alike, but these have a few standout flair points. They’ve got a 12-hour battery life, precision-tooled DualCoil drivers and aptX Bluetooth for high-fidelity sound, and, most interestingly, a choice of three filters to swap in and out of the earbuds which give more control over bass and treble balance.
This is a perfect collision of the very, very now – a succulent, those near-indestructible houseplants du jour – and the far future. On one hand it’s a planter. On the other, it’s a 12-sided mesh of pentagonal panels with a hidden drainage system, and it’s genuinely floating in space. It will bamboozle your friends and haunt your enemies.
You’ve probably noticed that the world is absolutely deafening. Fortunately, these new headphones from San Diego’s Cleer feature hybrid noise-cancelling tech to block out 99.5 per cent of background noise. They also have an extremely healthy 20-hour battery life, as well as a built-in microphone to take calls and a very handy feature which pauses what you’re listening to when you take them off your head.
Selfridges and Harrods, £249
The days of trusting your precious roast to rules of thumb and half-remembered bits of advice your mum gave you are over. Connect to this thermometer with your phone and monitor how hot things are getting inside your meat. You can set the exact temperature you’re aiming at, and the heat-proof wire means you can wang the oven door shut and wander off until the crucial moment.
Learning languages is great. It really is. Understanding other cultures, seeing the grand tapestry of global history knitting together, ordering a couple of ice cold cervezas without stammering and bailing out halfway – brilliant. However, it does take time. Pocketalk can translate into and out of 74 languages without any lag, is simple to use and picks up voices easily with noise-cancelling microphones. It won’t stop you nervously mangling Japanese pronunciations though. Sorry.
When you were a kid, what did you think you’d do with your millions of pounds when you grew up and had captained Aldershot to their sixth European Cup on the spin? Maybe you wanted a rocket car, or a robot butler, or a solid gold house. Now you’re an adult, you’ve reconciled yourself with the first being impractical with all the potholes round your way, and the last with being just a bit too gauche, but this floor mopping robot can make the other one come true. No, it’s not sexy. But it will merrily do the unsexy jobs you don’t want to do, and very quietly too.
Yeeeessssss, it’s an extender. This wheelie suitcase expands by up to 50 percent of its original size, meaning less faffing about and panicking over whether to take the big suitcase or a carry-on. Plus, it’s got a built-in charging port to keep you juiced up while you hang about in departures.
This very, very beautiful thing is a set of headphones which rolls up like a metal link bracelet – when they’re rolled up they’re the smallest travel headphones about, and boast ultra-crisp sound. Which you’d hope for, at nearly three grand a pop.
Not a particularly snappy name, but an absolute essential if you’re heading to a festival in, say, the Cairngorms or wherever. It’s a heavy-duty solar-powered charger – stick it in the sun for 12 hours and you’ll have enough juice for one and a half full charges of your phone.
You’ve used Bluetooth printers to get pics off your phone before, obviously. But this one does printed videos – Hyperphotos – as well as your average stills. You pick a video, print it out as a normal photo, but then when you hover your phone over it, it plays the video on your screen. Clever.
No, a robotic hoover is not the sexiest purchase you could make this week. However, it’s the purchase that’s probably going to improve your quality of life most. Control it from your phone, and the little guy will remember the layout of your house and tailor its cleaning of your different floor surfaces.
Alright, so 3D printing hasn’t changed everyone’s lives in the way everyone thought it would five years or so ago. But! It can still be a right laugh. Design your project, or download a template, and watch the super-accurate model appear. It’s got built-in algorithms to work out structural flaws, and you can operate it from your phone.
Phones have ruined the experience of being asleep. We don’t mean tapping through Instagram Stories of people you met in the smoking area of a club in Nottingham four years ago until 2am, though you should definitely stop doing that. We mean the icy dread that clutches you when you realise you’ve not plugged your phone in to charge overnight and weighing up whether you get up and do it or just drift off now you’re comfy. This DAB clock-radio has a wireless charging pad on top. Sorted.
If you’re sick of your looking back on cherished memories caught on your phone camera and accidentally making yourself carsick because your hand was wobbling around madly, this is what you need. It takes smooth, stabilised 4k video at 60 frames a second, as well as 12 megapixel static images.
Looks quite ominous, doesn’t it. The faceless clock. The black hole on the wall. Actually, it’s an extremely high end wireless speaker you adjust the volume of by gently rolling it in its mount before it resettles in its usual place. Think of it as an art piece with B&O’s signature well-crafted sound.
Bang & Olufsen, £2900
No, it doesn’t look anything like a cooker. More like an ice skate or some kind of foot-measurer like they had in Clarks when you were a kid. Actually, it’s a healthy way of cooking food clamped between two pieces of transparent glass which you can control from your phone, and which will tackle temperatures between 80 and 300 degrees C. This video will help if you’re struggling to visualise it.
Banging Bluetooth into a record player feels a bit like steampunk in a way, minus all the top hats with goggles wrapped round them. Connect wireless speakers or headphones and delicately drop the record on that priceless white label pressing of Utrabeat’s ‘Pretty Green Eyes’.