Gadgets

E&T discovers the classics from kitchen essentials to two-wheeled transportation. Plus the latest technology improved, shrunk and at a lower price than ever before.

 

1. Penny Farthing

One of the oldest bicycles gets a modern makeover: the Penny Farthing is back. Boasting distinctly non-standard 36in and 12in wheels (so they don't get a puncture), a steel frame and rear wheel brake (the front wheel's a fixed gear, so works as a brake too), this bike is absolutely guaranteed to turn heads wherever you ride it. One suggestion for an outing on the Farthing would be the annual 'Tweed Run' (www.tweedrun.com). One less obvious suggestion would be a 120-mile nightride through country lanes - although that didn't stop one woman managing the Dunwich Dynamo in 2009 on a Penny Farthing (www.youtube.com/watch?v=91PBQUWZCp8).

www.iwoot.com

£199
 

2. Sony NEX-5

The world's smallest and lightest interchangeable-lens digital camera, the NEX-5, is Sony's key rival to the new Olympus and Panasonic Micro Four Thirds system. The mirrorless NEX-5 is only 24.2mm thick at its slimmest point, features a 14.2 megapixel sensor and shoots in 1080i. That's the good news; the bad news is that to get such a small, light camera you lose out on functionality compared to a digital SLR. There's no built-in flash, and to mount one means losing the option of mounting other accessories such as an optical viewfinder. So far there's a limited range of lenses.

www.sony.co.uk

From £450
 

3. Microsoft Xbox 360 Slim

Microsoft's current generation console is older than its rivals, the Sony PS3 and Nintendo Wii, so it's unsurprising to hear that it's finally getting a revamp - addressing several of the key issues with the original console. The new slimmer system is 15 per cent smaller than before, has built-in Wi-Fi and is quieter with a redesigned power system - all of which will be welcome news to upgrading Xbox 360 owners. Don't own a console yet? The 360 is still the best in terms of games available (but the PS3 is best for high-def movies).

www.xbox.com

£499
 

4. Pure One Mi

The cheapest 'quality' digital radio on the block - in other words, you can get cheaper digital radios, but they won't actually sound any better than FM radios. The One Mi also features a host of extras the bargain bucket rivals won't manage: FM and DAB+ built-in, a USB socket to deliver future firmware upgrades and 16 presets. It also conforms to Pure's 'EcoPlus' standard - promising ethically-sound production facilities, reduced power consumption (including in standby) and lower environmental impact materials. And it'll even go portable (if you pay extra for the rechargeable battery pack). The DAB radio that could make digital mainstream? Just possibly.

www.pure.com

£35
 

5. Belkin Vue Neoprene Sleeve

Belkin always prove to be great in providing good-looking sleeves and accessories for consumer tech devices and this purple pocket is no exception. A gel-covered back provides an extra layer of protection without adding too much bulk or weight and it slips easily inside your bag. If you're not a fan of purple, you could always opt for the black and white option. Expect hundreds of accessories to flood the market in the next few months.

www.lambda-tek.com

£15.40
 

6. Kenwood Cooking Chef KM070

The Kenwood Chef's a kitchen classic - a mixing/stirring machine much-loved by chefs. Now, after 60,000 hours of testing and 100,000 man hours of development, comes its successor. The Cooking Chef has an induction heating system under the bowl. In other words, the machine stirs and cooks simultaneously - lazy risotto, choux pastry, meringues and other 'tricky' dishes made light work of. The temperature is controllable between 20C and 140C, while eight mixing speeds offer spin control. The catch? The absolutely ludicrous price. For that much money, you could just pay someone to do your stirring for you.

www.johnlewis.com

£1,000

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