Clever tech helps you pitch a tent with ease, take better photos, vacuum the house effortlessly and relive your eight-bit youth.
Vango Eclipse 600
Vango’s AirBeam technology has transformed tent technology, doing away with poles and replacing them with quick-to-pitch inflatable tubes. Once you’ve tried AirBeam you won’t look back. This season’s top models boast new SuperBeams that are twice as fat for strength in all weathers. And yet this huge (4x5m) family tent still only takes 12-18 minutes to erect using the supplied manual pump. The improved Eclipse 600 design also incorporates a flysheet made from market-leading 420 double ripstop fabric for maximum strength and durability, new valves for easier inflation and deflation, and oversized windows for a bright living space.
Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega+
Sir Clive’s latest gizmo is a handheld games console that, uniquely, comes with a thousand built-in classic games. It’s essentially a ZX Spectrum that fits in your pocket and doesn’t require you to wait ages for a program to load from cassette. And while its predecessor, the Vega, had to be plugged into a TV, this boasts its own LCD display so you can play anywhere. But you can plug it into a TV too, to indulge your eight-bit nostalgia trip on the big screen. If a thousand games isn’t enough, many more are available as free downloads.
Two things set the TZ100 apart from the pack. One is its one-inch image sensor. This captures more light, much like taking a photo with a larger film format. Low-light performance is superb, so your party snaps will have less noise and more detail. Its other trick is a 4K Photo mode which acts like a burst mode on steroids. You take a snap and the camera captures 30 photos over the course of a second. You can then scroll through them and select the one that captures the moment best. A 10x optical zoom completes the package.
This misleadingly named water filter is considerably bigger than a straw but it does work like one. You suck water through it and a two-stage filtration process makes it safe to drink. Its hollow fibre membrane is a very fine (0.2 um) filter that removes bacteria and protozoa, with a lifespan of up to 1000 litres of water. A replaceable activated carbon capsule cuts out organic matter, chlorine and other bad tastes. It’s the perfect gift for the survivalist on the go. Plus, for every LifeStraw Steel sold, a school child in rural Kenya gets clean water for a year.
Neato Botvac Connected
This powerful robotic vacuum cleaner is also the world’s first that can be controlled via smart watch as well as smartphone or tablet. So you really can sit and put your feet up while it cleans. You can start and stop cleaning with a tap on your Apple Watch or Android Wear watch and also get notifications sent straight to your wrist. Meanwhile the Botvac itself boasts laser room mapping for systematic cleaning, a D shape for walls and getting into corners, and a pair of spiral brushes for lifting dirt from different floor types.
Globe GSB Blazer Boombotix skateboard
Sure it's pricey for a skateboard. But the street cred of having the world's first board with a built-in Bluetooth speaker is priceless. Globe has teamed up with Boombotix to incorporate a speaker in the underside of the Blazer, a 26-inch mini cruiser board. They've done the same with the GSB Pinner, a longboard. It's housed in tough ABS and designed to be dust, water, and impact resistant. You control the speaker and stream music from your smartphone. Play time is two hours at top volume but dial it back to 70 per cent and you can get six-plus hours of listening.