Gadgets

Cut the wires, get tough and act like Cool Hand Luke. E&T finds out whether the latest technology is just hot air.

1. Sennheiser Bluetooth headphones

Audiophile headphone brand Sennheiser has wholeheartedly embraced the latest Bluetooth upgrade, because it can finally squeeze good quality sound into the wireless bitstream.

Three new Bluetooth releases from the company include the PXC 310 BT (£260), a wireless pair of travel headphones. It features highest-quality Bluetooth reception, plus NoiseGard active noise cancelling that gets rid of up to 90 per cent of external sound - the result is stunningly good audio quality compared to any other Bluetooth headphones.

The cans also feature apt-X: stick an extra apt-X dongle into your iPod and you've got even higher quality wireless transmission. (The PX 210 BT headphones, at £150, feature apt-X and Bluetooth, but no NoiseGard cancelling.)

If you want to talk as well as listen, the MM100 wireless headset (£130) features high-quality Bluetooth speakers and mic for listening to music or talking on the phone - but there's no apt-X extra.

www.sennheiser.co.uk [new window]
from £130

2. Dyson Air Multiplier

First he did away with the vacuum bag, now Sir James Dyson has removed the exposed blades from the humble desk fan. Instead, air is sucked in through the unit base and forced out tiny 1.3mm slits in the ring at around 55mph. The air runs over the inner edge of the ring and, using contoured surfaces similar to those on an aeroplane wing, the exiting air drags more air in from behind the fan, pushing it out the front, multiplying the fan's power by 15 times.

An impressive piece of design to be sure, and effective: but so is a £15 piece of junk from anywhere - is the Dyson really worth £200? Well, it does produce a smooth constant flow of air, rather than the choppy air created by blades; it can be left on with kids and pets around; and aim straight with a paper plane and watch it go supersonic through the loop. But despite the extra frills, the price is still steep.

www.dyson.co.uk [new window]
£199

3. Gear4 PowerPad

The Gear4 PowerPad is the world's first gizmo that fuels your iPhone by leaving it on a pad. Based on inductive rather than traditional conductive charging, power is transmitted directly through the case to the iPhone battery.

Plug the pad into the mains, slip the rubber protective cover onto your iPhone (3G or 3G S) and place it face-up anywhere on the charging mat. And that's it - the mat takes no longer to charge than normal, and is 'Works With iPhone' certified.

www.gear4.com [new window]
£80

4. Panasonic KX-TG6481ET

This Panasonic wireless DECT phone is IP54-rated and therefore "drip, dust, shock and splash" proof. For its launch, the phone was encased in a block of ice, then thawed and used, so the IP54 'splash' rating is somewhat of a minimum standard.

Other features include 17 hour call time battery, 20 minute answering machine, GAP-compatibility, and a backlit keypad and LCD display.

For work environments where you want a landline phone that's wireless, but where the phone could be exposed to tough conditions, the KX-TG6481ET is ideal.

http://shop.panasonic.co.uk/icat/dect/ [new window]
from £60

5. Vexia Econav 435

The simple answer to cutting fuel consumption is to get out of your car more. But for those who can't, or won't, ditch the motor quite yet - the 435 offers a smart solution.

Choose the 'Econav' mode and the 435 uses GPS satellite data to measure speed and acceleration and find the speed limit of the road. This enables it to advise on appropriate speed and gearing to make your driving more fuel-efficient.

Vexia claims fuel savings of up to 30 per cent. But be warned, what you save on petrol costs and eco-conscience you lose in other areas - the Vexia's operating system can be flaky and slow compared to similarly priced and simpler rivals.

www.vexia.co.uk [new window]
from £170

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