Top 5 Ingenious Bathroom Gadgets

We all spend a varying proportion of our time in the bathroom, be it for nature’s necessities, taking a long relaxing shower or pruning ourselves for a night out. If you are of the inclination to spend perhaps a little more time in the bathroom than really required, you’ll be pleased to be informed about five great bathroom-orientated devices on the market, designed to make restroom visit more interesting, pleasant and fun.

The Kohler Moxie Showerhead and Wireless Speaker

As you soap yourself up in your shower you can gyrate to your favourite music with the Kohler Moxie. An extremely civilised showerhead, which has a cordless magnetic easy fit speaker in its centre, the Kohler Moxie is the perfect way to listen to liven up your shower.

The cordless speaker picks up a signal from a Bluetooth device up to 30ft away. The internal battery is said to last for up to seven hours between charging, which should satisfy even the longest of the long-stay bathroom types. Whilst you can use the speaker anywhere, it is tailor made to fit magnetically like a hand in a glove within the showerhead.

Showerhead Speaker

Fitbit-Aria-Top-5

Fitbit Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scale

For the dieters and image-conscious amongst us, scales are an integral feature in the bathroom. If you are weary about owning scales that you suspect aren’t tracking your weight accurately, you may want to exchange your existing scales for the Fitbit Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scale.

The Fitbit Aria loads data such as weight and height wirelessly to a private Fitbit account and then analyses the information, giving details about your BMI and body fat percentage. All manner of personal graphs and charts are available for you to study and muse over. What’s more, the Aria scale can deal with eight accounts at once so a whole family can spend additional minutes in the bathroom being monitored!

For £99, the Fitbit Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scale could be a good investment for those striving to lose weight. Failing that, you could adopt rock star Ozzie Osborne’s approach, who once said of his successful plunge down the scales: “You just drop your ****** fat intake and do some ****** exercise!”

Fitbit Aria

Talking-Loo-Roll-Holder

Talking Toilet Roll Holder

Oh what fun for £12.99 – You can record a message on the Talking Toilet Roll Holder and it is replayed as the paper is unwound. Leave a message for your children, such as: “Now please wash your hands but don’t use too much of the very expensive hand wash.” Maybe you will leave a more deeply voiced and sinister message at a party: “I am the God of the Bog and I have been watching you” – A little bit sick but hey, we all like a laugh!

Talking Toilet Roll Holder

Toilet-Time

Toilet Time Pro

If you are of the tendency to spend too much more time on the toilet, whether it is due to reading a book or flipping through the social media channels on your iPhone, Toilet Time Pro could be an invaluable asset. Toilet Time Pro is basically an alarm clock app that tells you when your time is up on the loo! Presumably you can alter the time allowance if you are suffering from a complaint such as Delhi Belly?

You can download the first and only toilet time controller app for £0.69 at iTunes

Wine-Holder

Bath Wine Glass Holder

This delightfully civilised little gadget allows you to relax even more in the bath with a securely-positioned glass of your favourite wine next to you. If you know someone who likes to spend hours in the bath surrounded by candles and aromas and enjoys a drop of wine, for just £7.50 this ingenious bathroom gadget would surely make the perfect gift.

Bath Wine Glass Holder

Top 5 Running Gadgets

Scosche-Rthm

It’s that time of year again. The sun is beginning to shine, the days are getting longer and everyone is proudly plastering social media channels with details on precisely how many miles they’ve run. But wait; there’s plenty more potential to running gadgets than showing off the distance you’ve wheezed your way around the local park. Plenty more. Latest Gadgets rounds up five of the best…

Scosche Rhythm

From: Scosche

Like to keep your finger on the pulse? Enjoy running? Then look no further… Scosche have just launched their simple Rhythm strap which, with the help of your smart phone, can provide all your essential pulse data, and plenty more.

Designed with simplicity in mind, the three button gadget straps onto your forearm and communicates to your smart device via Bluetooth. Not only does it record your pulse via integrated dual LED sensors, allowing you to closely monitor just how hard you’re pushing yourself, Rhythm also provides complete control of your music collection as well as generating other essential stats such as distance covered and calories burned.

It’s also compatible with myriad existing running apps such as iPower, Spinning, RunDouble C25K and many more. And yes, thanks to its social network flexibility, you can join the masses and tell the world just how good a runner you truly are.

Yours for $99.99

Running World: Zone Dome

From: Running World

For those who can’t rely on reasonable seasonable climes, Running World’s somewhat aspirational Zone Dome can whisk you away to a variety of desirable running locations in the world and you don’t even have to leave your home. As featured on Latest Gadgets in March, the 1.5 metre screen is compatible with most treadmills and offers the choice of 20 or 40 minute runs at speeds between 9-12 km/h.

With a choice of five lavish scenery settings, you can take your pick from Route 66 to Area 51 without a fear of rain, traffic, pollution or runner-hating neer-do-wells lurking around any corner. Providing you have your own treadmill and can honour the £3,940 price tag, the Zone Dome is ideal for running regardless of the unpredictable weather. File under luxury: there’s no surprise Zone Dome’s manufacturers are targeting the gym chains with this cinematic running gadget.

Yours for £3490

Misfit-Shine

Misfit Shine

Misfit Wearables

Looking like some sexy pendant or broach from the future, Misfit’s Shine is similar to Scosche’s Rhythm (and indeed a whole host of competing wrist-based running gadgets such as the Nike FuelBand, The Runalyser and the Fitbit One). What the Shine does that most other arm-based running gadgets do is look very cool.

Looking further afield than the standard rubber or plastic models, Shine is manufactured using hard-wearing but super-lightweight aluminium. With a smooth spherical finish and minimal controls (in fact none: Bluetooth all the way, baby) the Shine will be just at home hanging from your neck or sitting sweetly in your pocket.

Okay, so it looks great. What else does it do? Well it tracks every move you make and the ground you cover ensuring favour from all forms of exercise fans from runners to cyclists. Soon-to-be-launched over the States at $99, Shine has potential to impact the ever-growing exercise market.

Yours for $99

Swimming-Sports-Watch

TomTom GPS Sports Watches

From: TomTom

Satnav kings TomTom are no strangers to the running world, having worked closely with Nike on their sports watch ranges. Now sprinting into the market with their own unit, TomTom are taking things next level.

With a clear, simple-to-read high contrast display, one-button functionality, a whole range of training programs and built-in stride sensors, few activities can go un-checked by the TomTom Sports Watch. Naturally, GPS comes as standard and allows for upwards of 10 hours battery life. Impressed? Jog on over to Latest Gadget’s full review.

MileStone-Pod

Milestone Pod

From: Milestone

It’s all good and well knowing how far you’ve run, what your pulse is saying, how many calories you’ve burnt and just how many people you can tell about your achievements. But let’s not forget the most important ingredient in running… Your feet!

Appropriate footwear is essential for running. But once you’ve made that investment, how much lifespan do they have? The most common rule of thumb is approximately 400 miles. But unless you’re tracking that via some of the other gadgets in this list, how do you know when your trainers need a reboot? Change them too soon and you’ll waste valuable tread. Change them too late and you’ve got a one-way ticket to Injury Town.

Enter the Milestone Pod, a thumb-sized pedometer that attaches to your laces and records how much life is left in your faithful daps. What’s more, you can also save easily accessible essential personal data such as medical history and emergency contact details in case you suffer from an accident while out training. Launched as a Kickstarter project earlier this year, they failed to hit their target of $60,000 but they’re continuing their product roll-out with determination. See their website for details.

Fitbit Flex Wireless Wristband Activity Tracker

Fitbit-Flex-Slate

It’s widely accepted that our sedentary lifestyles are killing us, which has helped the explosion in activity tracking devices. It’s very easy to let a whole day go by doing very little. Lots of people are apparently caught in the trap of equating exercise solely with going to the gym, which they don’t have time for. This is turn makes it all too easy to just do nothing.

However, it’s easy to miss out on the many, many opportunities that could be beneficial to our wellness. Taking the stairs, travelling by bike, or taking short constitutionals are all beneficial for small, seemingly imperceptible health gains. This is the driving force behind the booming activity tracker market, where tiny devices clip to your body and log all your physical activity, helping you to see where you need to focus to achieve your health goals.

Fitbit-Flex-Black

Fitbit are one of the leaders in this market and I spoke UK Country Manager Peter Groom about the Fitbit Flex, their entry into the wristband activity tracker market. You might know Fitbix from the Zip and One, tiny clip-on trackers that we made mention of almost 6 months ago. In the activity tracker world, Fitbit’s brand is associated with accuracy, something you lose in the transition to wristband devices. Other devices have populated the wristband space – notably Jawbone and the Nike Fuelband.

The Fitbit Flex crams most of the already impressive technical ability of the Fitbit One into a much smaller unit that can easily be wrapped around your wrist without noticing the weight or bulk. The Flex is designed to be worn all the time so this is really important in helping you forget about it and letting it do its job, whilst walking, working or even in the shower. There are obviously trade-offs with this form factor – the lack of altimeter being the most obvious, but the convenience gained is great.

The matte design of the wristband is understated and doesn’t draw undue attention. There’s a tiny display, comprising 5 LED lights that you tap twice to wake and get updated progress information. The number of LED lights illuminated will give you a quick idea of how close you are to your daily goal.

However a lot of clever work has gone into the Bluetooth 4.0 active syncing so if you pull up the accompanying app you can have a comprehensive look at what data it’s pulling up. Peter was keen to highlight the multi-platform approach Fitbit has taken so you use the app, website or PC sync.

Fitbit-Flex-Red

Five taps of the LED display tells the device you’re heading off to bed and it will record you sleep quality – number of hours, number of times you wake and sleep efficiency index. Four taps will tell it you’ve woken up. You can also use the app to set an alarm causing the device to vibrate. It’s *very* weird having a buzzing on your arm as you nap but it’s also very effective. It’s also cool if you want to get up early without waking your partner.

Charging is done via USB (there’s a supplied cradle) and is recommended every 5-7 days. Your app will tell you when the battery level is low. There’s also an accessory pack that gives you Teal, Tangerine and Navy bands for £23, complementing the Black and Slate bands that come with the device.

The Fitbit Flex will be out in late Spring 2013 for £79.99

FitBit One and FitBit Zip: Taking the slog out of logging

Fitbit-walking

Keeping in shape is hard work and technology has always been around to ease the transition from amorphous blob into chiseled Greek statue.

Unfortunately people are lazy and when you’ve already put so much effort into actually heading to the gym/jogging/pumping iron the last thing you want to do is be carefully noting what you’ve done in a little book or logging routines in an app. I’ve tried countless innovations in search of the body beautiful and I’ve given up on almost all of them. The perfect system it seems, should do all the work for me, leaving me with as little to do as possible.

Enter the Fitbit’s wireless activity trackers – the Fitbit Zip and the Fitbit One. I looked at the Fitbit Ultra system about 9 months ago and it’s nice to see a company take a great concept and continually refine it.

Fitbit-Zip

Fitbits are little trackers you clip to a belt, bra or waistband as you go about your day to day. Unlike tracking systems I’ve used, the Fitbits have really nailed the ease of use aspect of activity monitoring. They come with little USB dongles you can plug into the your laptop and they will automatically sync with your PC. More excitingly Fitbits work in the Post-PC era and utilise BlueTooth Smart to sync with your smartphone for real time progress updates. This is a particularly handy feature as the days of plugging things into to sync data are really numbered and these sorts of background automation systems are a nice glimpse of the future (the Witings wireless scales are another gadget that implements this sort of background updating, app-enhanced monitoring really well).

The Fitbit Zip is a small pound coin sized tracker that comes with a silicon clip and is available in magenta, lime, blue, charcoal and white. It’s charged off a small battery that should last for about 6 months. You can cycle through data by tapping the display or check on your app which should have all the same info about steps taken, distance travelled and calories burned instantly uploaded.

FitBit-One

If you want a tiny bit more info in your life there’s the FitBit One which measures steps taken, distance travelled, calories burned and stairs climbed, and also monitors how long and how well you sleep. The Fitbit One has a Silent Wake alarm that gently vibrates when worn on the wrist to wake the person up without waking their sleep partner.

FitBit Zip will cost £49.99 and will be available to purchase from Apple stores and other major retailers and direct from Fitbit from 1 October.

Fitbit One will cost £79.99 and will be available in major retailers such as Amazon, John Lewis, Carphone Warehouse and Firebox and direct from Fitbit from 22 October.

Aria Fitbit- Wifi scales with an app ecosystem

Losing weight is a tough business. Making money off losing weight is rich pickings and the diet industry is ironically a fatted calf. But it’s not all snake oil and there are some great gadgets out there to help you help you in the struggle. One of my favourites in recent years has been the Fitbit Ultra, a really cool dongle that you could clip to your belt while it tracked your your movements and told you how many calories walking up and down the stairs burned. Check out our review from 6-month’s ago.

Fitbit-Aria

Fitbit have branched out into the bathroom with the Firbit Aria, a Wi-Fi smart scale that tracks weight, % body fat and BMI. What makes the Fitbit Aria special is that it automatically uploads information through the Wi-Fi network to your Fitbit profile. Monitoring your progress is important and having a regular chart of your weight that you can pull up on a smartphone app before deciding whether or not to go into KFC (don’t go) is really useful. Amusingly the scale comes in what (to me) looks like a pizza box, so it’s a great way to pull a cruel prank and send a message at the same time.

As with all non-computer based Wifi devices set up is a tad fiddly and it took me a few goes to get everything up and running. Having to register clicks by standing on the scale or flipping it over *almost* drove me crazy, but thankfully just before the crucial *I give up* moment

If you’re already plugged into the Fitbit ecosystem then the Aria Scale is fully compatible with Fitbit’s online and app tools. The scale automatically recognises eight users, although there is a privacy setting that means you can stop your housemates from seeing your epic battle against the lure of Krispy Kremes.

Unlike conventional scales, you can track trends in your weight and set goals. You can even earn badges as you progress to your goal if that’s your thing. Or create a support network for additional motivation with your gym buddies.

> “Fitbit continues to provide users with intelligent and compelling ways to monitor key activity indices and we’re pleased to be able to build upon this offering with the Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scale. The Fitbit Aria is fully integrated with iPhone and Android Fitbit Apps, as well as all the online motivational tools, so there is a great platform for users to understand their weight while empowering them to set and achieve their desired goals.”
Gareth Jones, VP and European General Manager for Fitbit.

The Fitbit Aria (£99.99) is available to pre-order now at Amazon and Fitbit.com and is available to purchase both online and in-store at Apple stores and online at Firebox.co.uk.

FitBit Ultra review: A good looking gadget to help you look good

‘Tis the season to regret being quite so jolly last week. But not regret enough to stop one from overindulging quite heavily again on New Years Eve. Then the real regret kicks in. Tralalala la la la lah.

Almost as predictable as the wave of articles about unwanted gifts, bumper post-Xmas sales and people stabbing each other over cut price trainers is the wave of articles about “getting fit in the New Year”. And we at Latest Gadgets are sticklers for tradition.

FitBit-Ultra-Woman

Not for the first time in my career a tech company emailed me and asked if I’d like to try a weight loss gadget. I try not to get insulted. The company – FitBit and the gadget is the sleek looking FitBit Ultra weight loss tracker, the wellness widget that’s been taking America by storm.

The FitBit Ultra is a tiny USB key shaped dongle that you can clip to a belt or necklace. The design of the dongle is pretty sleek in a really nice matt black and a belt clip design. There is a single button that cycles through the hidden display – revealing the time, how many steps you’ve taken, how many stairs you’ve climbed and how many calories you’ve burned. You can also hold the button to log activies such as sleeping or skiing.

The Fitbit Ultra tracks steps, distance, sleep patterns and even stairs climbed via a state-of the-art altimeter, and includes an on-device display for real-time feedback. Fitbit Ultra’s accelerometer and state-of-the-art altimeter technology work together to track movement from climbing the stairs, so there is no confusion with taking a lift or escalator. Online, Fitbit.com compares daily climb activities to well-known landmarks around the world such as The Eiffel Tower and Machu Picchu and even Big Ben’s 389 steps.

Because I’m lazy, one of my favourite FitBit features is the USB hub that attaches to a PC. It automatically uploads all your data to Fitbit.com whenever your dongle is within wireless range, making it easier to keep track or your activities.

Have friends? Fitbit.com has a range of social features to help users stay motivated including messaging and achievement badges for reaching landmarks for stair climbing, steps walked and distance travelled. And it is fully integrated with all social media platforms if you feel the need to overshare. A weight management support tool, Food Goal, is also included which dynamically changes based on activities you complete during the day and calories consumed.

Fitbit’s online motivational support is available on your PC or Mobile, or via Fitbit’s iPhone app (well mobile website). It also includes a stopwatch – so that users can challenge themselves to beat a previous time and a clock.

Fitbit Ultra is available in blue or plum and is £79.99 SRP.

For more info head to Fitbit.com

The Bite Counter and other weight loss gadgets – An even more gruelling way to lose weight!

When you are happily munching away on a plate of your favourite food, don’t you think that you’d be put off if a widget on your wrist was counting your every mouthful? Uninspiringly titled the ‘Bite Counter’, the latest gadget aimed at helping you curb calories and prevent overindulgence has been developed two researchers at Clemson University.

Bite-counter

At a press of a button, oh yes and departing with 800 bucks, dieters, or wannabe dieters, will know how many bites of food they have taken, which is then estimated into calories, the same way exercise equipment estimates the number of calories burned. But surely quickly stuffing your face with a cream cake contains a higher calorific content and will track less ‘bites’ then gruellingly munching your way through a virtually calorie-free carrot? Hmm, not surprisingly the guys at Clemson have been faced with such judicious questions, and their answer to such obvious flaws in this technology is that “caloric content of a bite averages out over the long term”, and that “people tend to eat the same foods week to week, further stabilizing the calorie/bite relationship”.

Slightly presumptuous don’t we think? Oh well, it will only cost $800 to test out.

http://www.icountbites.com/

Fitbit

Other weight loss gadgets to catch LG’s eye is Fitbit and the Gruve. The former comes in the form of a tiny clip device, which, once clipped to a dieter’s shirt, belt or armband, essentially acts as an accelerometer, tracking your every move throughout the day and then reporting back on your activity. Its motion detecting sensor digitally records the number of steps you have taken, calories burned and even your sleep patterns. While Fibit won’t cause miracles, it’s supposed to enlighten its users to what is preventing them from achieving the body of their dreams.

Fitbit costs a more reasonable $99 from www.fitbit.com

Gruve

The Gruve is essentially a lazy alarm that tells you when you’ve been lazy for too long! Unlike Fitbit and other pedometer gadgets, which just inform you of your daily activity, Gruve bullies you moving. If you have been sedentary for too long, it flashes lights, starts buzzing and vibrates around the room, until you are that embarrassed or irritated by it that you go on a 5-mile run – in theory anyway.

For $199.95 the Gruve could be worth a try!