Make sure you check out part one of this guide from yesterday.
The Gadget Show Live @ Christmas brought all sorts of fun and games to East London. We had a play with a few choice items.
Fridja Ironing is very few people’s idea of a rollicking good time but the Fridja ironing system was the second most desirable item I saw in the whole show (after the OP-1). As I’m often fresh, dressed like a million bucks I need my garments to look crisp. Fridja brings high grade garment steaming to the people, and at £99 it’s at a fraction of the cost of a local dry cleaners.
Replicator 2 3D Printer If you read Chris Anderson’s Makers (or even just my review of the book here) you’ll know that there’s a brave new world of 3D printing, where people can apply all the exciting and collaborative elements of Web 2.0 and apply them to the real world of bits and bobs. The Replicator is great for knocking up all sorts of amazing knick knacks, although at £1799 is far from an impulse purchase.
R2D2 Star Wars landed in the late 70s and then never really went away. And there’s even a possibility that the recently announced sequels buy Disney might be … well good. I was charmed by this inflatable remote controlled R2D2 which can spin 360 degrees and generally float around. It’s best feature is its self-righting system that defies being knocked over – as was throughly tested by the gang of schoolboys I saw trying to give poor Artoo the kicking of his life.
Stickem Stickems are simple screen wipes made from ultra fine microfibres. What makes sticks special – and fun – is their “self -cling” backing that means you can pop them on the back of your tablet or smartphone and have them handy any time you want to remove any make-up, oil, grease of whatever you happen to have covering your phone. They come in a range of fun designs in collaboration with up and coming artists so they’re a good way of keeping your phone clean and personal.
Mu Sometimes the best ideas are the simplest and we just need to take time to think about the simple things that we take for granted. The Mu rethinks the ubiquitous three-pin and makes it a portable pleasure for the pocket-focused smartphone world. The Mu folds down to a compact 14mm completely hiding the three pins via a clever (and patented) swivel mechanism, making The Mu 70 per cent smaller than a standard plug.
Like audio and warmth? You’re not alone and C.VOX (Communiqué Vox) have just the thing for you – a range of clothing with built-in headphones, speakers and a control system, which has just launched in Debenhams.
If you know Skinnydip you’ll be familiar with their range of beenie and trapper hats that feature built-in speakers. The C.VOX range of clothing is a much more detailed approach and a much more extensive range of clothing. C.VOX’s most impressive item is the stylish jacket pictured above, which includes a sound system and hands free set yet remains completely machine washable.
We are thrilled to be offering such an innovative product to our customers. The range incorporates fashion, technology and practicality at a competitive price.”“It is the perfect, safety conscious way to conceal gadgets whilst still being able to freely use them in public, it’s the must have item for any commuter.
Paul Baldwin, Head of Menswear Buying
It’s certainly great for those of you who often lose headphones or who have tangled cables everywhere they go. Inside the jacket is a simple 3.5 mm jack so you can connect most portable music player or smartphones. A built in washable speaker, microphone and control system on the sleeve allows the wearer to skip, pause and play music as well as answer and hang up calls.Earphones are wired through the jacket and concealed in the collar to avoid any unnecessary tangling.
The C.VOX range for men and kids includes jackets, gilets and hooded sweatshirts. We got to try the C.VOX range hooded sweatshirts which have playback controls hidden inside – near the top of the zip. This was good if you had the top slightly open but it would be good if you could pause without opening the jacket. The sounds quality was surprisingly good – especially if you had the speakers directly on your ears. You could also hang them by side of your head and still get some ambient sound – which was great for audio, although you lost some of the power of music that way.
The C.VOX range has been created to push the boundaries in functional technology and fashion. We look forward to developing and launching new clothing lines with the latest innovations and trends for the coming seasons.
Peter Layzell spokesperson for C.VOX
Prices range from £33 for children and from £65 for men.
Some gadgets elicit a hmm or a gentle nod. And some are greeted with an “OMG that’s amazing where did you get that?” The Slicks Suit25 bag is one such a product.
With the increase in commuting cyclists (and London has launched a large cycle hire scheme, which is slowly extending across the capital so their numbers are set to increase) it’s not so uncommon to see chaps awkwardly trying to negotiate cycle lanes with a suit bag – or trying to ride along London’s filthy streets and keep their “whistle and flute” clean.
The Slicks Suit25, with more pockets than a pool table, amazingly allows you to fit a whole suit into a specially designed cycling backpack. Hailing from Switzerland, the Suit25 is a 25 litre backpack with straps and handles designed to be held as a side bag or as a backpack.
The Suit25 folds open to reveal a full size suit holder (which is frankly amazing) and there is a separate compartment for your shoes. If this wasn’t enough (and it is to be honest) there is a special compartment for your laptop (or tablet if you are that way inclined) making it an amazingly versatile device. On top of that there are some built in visibility strips for night time cycling and a rain cover. I think I’m in love.
James Bond walking out of the ocean, stripping off his SCUBA suit and having a tuxedo on is a pretty amazing image. James Bond peddling up and pulling out a neatly folded 3-piece out of a Suit25 wouldn’t be quite as iconic but would still be a pretty amazing scene in the next 007 film (you read it here first).
It’s a little bit heavy (about 2.4kg) even before you load all your suit, shoes, locks and cycling paraphernalia – but if you are cycling across town to work anyway you can probably take the weight.
Have a smartphone? Take the train? Get the RailEasy app. I’m very tempted to leave it there making this the shortest review in these pages, but I suppose I should go into a little more detail. RailEasy is a train times and (crucially) booking app from independent online train ticket retailer RailEasy. The in-app purchasing is what makes RailEasy stand out from other train apps as it’s a first. Everything else is pretty straightforward, you can set your “home station” or search for a station near you and see a train timetable or when the next train is departing. The “next train home” button is a nice touch. Booking tickets switches you across to their web platform, but via some in app magic you are able flit back and forth between the two – if you need to change some of your journey details. And fittingly for a train booking app, it is available across a range of platforms – they say over 90%. Go for it.
Yet-another-e-reader-fatigue not quite set in? Give it a few more months. Until then you might be interested to know that View Quest and HMV have teamed up like Enigma Force Five to produced BookBox, an eReader with Adobe DRM, a feature I’m sure you’ve all been crying out for. Designed for young readers, the 154mm x 88mm, 218 gram device has a rubberised finished, which should make it feel a little safer in the hands of a child. Utilising TFT technology instead of e-ink the BookBox is reasonably versatile and can play back at range of photo, music and video formats, as well as support for epub, pdf, txt and fb2 formatting. At £99 it’s a little pricey for just an eReader when King of the Hill the Kindle has a similar price point for a much more refined e-reading experience. However, throw in the multimedia playback flexibility and the BookBox makes a nice cheap gateway to tablet browsing for kids. The BookBox should be in HMVs near you now.
Cold isn’t it? Well I don’t know where or when you’re reading this, but as I type in mid-November in winter it is freezing and I dread reaching into my bag for my iPhone or iPad. As I’m sure you are aware, in Korea some people use a snack sausage that works well with capacitive touch-screen phones. As a vegetarian this didn’t really appeal. However Totes Smartouch have released a slightly less ridiculous alternative – some touchscreen gloves, specially designed with tips to work with iOS and Android style touch input devices. Quick and responsive, the one-size-fits all gloves are best for quickly navigating menus and answering calls – I wouldn’t write a lengthy novel using them. However as the cold winters sets in – these look set to become essential purchases.