Headphones that work like speakers, smartphones on a shoestring and the world’s first Wi-Fi kettle - the latest in consumer technology.
Google Nexus 5
from £299 SIM-free
It’s increasingly difficult to argue against the Google Nexus range. While Apple’s iPad may rule the full-size tablet market, everywhere else, for a sweet spot combination of value and performance, Nexus wins out against all comers. This 5in smartphone is no exception. It dramatically undercuts most high-end smartphones, yet offers full-HD 1920x1080 display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection, 8MP camera with optical image stabilisation, 2300mAh battery, Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 2.25GHz quadcore processor, dualband Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0 and 4G LTE connectivity and from 16GB storage internally, all running on the latest version of Android (4.4). Still no expandable memory. But for the money, unbeatable.
The looks of an old-school film SLR, the guts (mostly) of Nikon’s high-end D4 dSLR - the Df is a strange hybrid. It’s designed to appeal to nostalgic snappers whose fingers still wander automatically to where the dials on a film SLR would have been. But underneath there’s a 16MP full-frame sensor, 39-point autofocus, 3.2in LCD and Nikon F-mount lens compatibility, as well, of course, as physical dial controls for shutter, ISO and exposure compensation. The technical innards are fairly high-end and successful. But there’s no video shooting at all, and some of the dials are arguably less ergonomic to use than control wheels and menus. Plus there’s that price.
Motorola Moto G
from £135 SIM-free
Want a great phone for even less cost than the Nexus 5? The best budget smartphone ever has got to be Motorola’s Moto G. A quadcore processor, 4.5in 1280x720 Gorilla Glass 3 screen, 2070mAh battery and 5MP camera with 720p HD video capture. Like the Nexus range, the Moto G suffers from one major issue - you can’t expand it’s onboard storage of 8GB. Plus a few minor ones - the camera’s no great shakes and there’s no NFC or 4G. But on display, for instance, this punches above the Apple iPhone 5s, yet costs less than a quarter of the price.
A wearable sensor and app designed to combat back pain brought on by poor posture. The sensor sits on a band you wear round your lower back and measures pelvic tilt. The sensor simply detects if your sitting position tilts out of neutral pelvis alignment, vibrating and sending an alert to your iPhone or iPad (the same app also displays your posture in real-time via a stick figure). At the end of each day, the app will tot up a posture score, so you can ensure you’re sitting better each day. With a majority of people suffering back or neck issues at some point in life, this device could be vital.
Forget the Teasmade, the world’s first Wi-Fi kettle is here. Use your app to trigger and control the 1.8L kettle with built-in networking from anywhere in your home on the same Wi-Fi network. As well as “wake up” and “welcome home” programmable timers, the iKettle also features four programmable “keep warm” temperature settings, ensuring you get the perfect cup of coffee, green tea or not-too-hot squash. Handily, it also features automatic shut-off with boil-dry protection for those times when you’ve gone away but forgotten to reprogramme the kettle timer. The only problem now? You still have to pour your cuppa yourself.
Bowers & Wilkins P7
Bowers & Wilkins are famed for their high-quality speakers, and increasingly wireless music systems and headphones. This is their first pair of over-the-ear headphones - and they’ve used the extra space to create a drive unit that’s more similar to the ones found in their speakers than found in most headphones. The result, according to Bowers & Wilkins, is “a more precise, controlled movement” for “a giant leap forward in sound quality”. Given they’ve just won What Hi-Fi Sound & Vision’s Best Portable On-Ears £300+ for the 2013 Awards, the experts appear to agree also. The P7s also features other innovations, including special pads that mould better to your head.