Magellan Echo Running Watch: GPS + Bluetooth Join Forces


Magellan are GPS experts so it’s nice to see that they have finally joined the smart running watch race. But rather than show up late to the party with your arms swinging (a lovely Nigerian expression for when you don’t bring any food or drink to a party), Magellan have a neat, and potentially game changing party trick – Bluetooth Smart connectivity.

Magellan have acknowledge the dominance of smartphones in the current tech landscape – I now sort of automatically expect any device I have to play nicely with my smartphones. This is especially useful when I’m doing something like running and don’t want to be distracted by fiddling with buttons in my pocket. Via the Echo you gain playback control over your music, and can input start, stop or lap controls – handy if you want to take a quick breather or if New Edition starts playing and you’re not in a New Jack Swing mood.


In what I consider to be a nice touch, the Echo wirelessly connects smartphone fitness apps like Strava, MapMyRun, Runtastic and RunKeeper to your wrist rather than making you upload utilise a bespoke app and related ecosystem. The data is displayed in real time and leverages the Wahoo API found in things like the RFLKT.


If you’re a hardened running pro, you’ll be pleased to know that the Echo is just as tough as you and has a ruggedized, water-resistant design giving you no excuses not to fight your way through damp running conditions (other than “it’s cold and I don’t want to”, which is what normally stops me).

Magellan opted for a replaceable battery to avoid charging issues. I have a USB-powered sports watch that is sitting in need of a charge by the side of my bed so I can see the wisdom in this decision – but I do like the general idea of rechargeable batteries from an environmental perspective at least.

The exact UK release date is unknown but should be some time towards the end of this year. What is know is that the Echo will be out in three colours – Black, Cool Blue or Warm Red. US pricing is $149.99 or $199.99 with a Bluetooth Smart Heart Rate Monitor.

Top 5 Sunbathing Apps


Okay so it might be a little premature to start reaching for the sun cream, in fact in the UK we can go the whole year without having so much as to open a bottle of sun protector, but if you are jetting off to sunnier climes this year you’d be extremely foolish if sun protection wasn’t an integral part of your suitcase.

Using the correct protection is a serious business and various companies have come up with gizmos which will allow you to sunbathe in a more controlled way.

The UV wristband

Intellego Technologies of Sweden have come up with this neat little aid to help with safer sunbathing. No bigger than the standard hospital wristband, this nifty device can alert the wearer when it is time to get out of the sun.

Basically the wristband changes colour and when it hits a certain shade you know it’s time to leave the beach. You can get different strength levels for different skin types.

Although it has to be said that this potentially lifesaving device is not particularly helpful those of us who have a tendency to fall asleep on our sun lounger!


Sun Alert Lite

For those really serious about getting a comprehensive understanding of sunbathing and protection, Sun Alert Lite might be the app for you.

This useful tanning aid has three dials, one for skin type, one for the SPF rating of your sun cream and one of the weather conditions, enabling users to have an accurate understanding of what sun protection they should be using.




Knowing when to reapply your sun lotion is always a bit of a bind and all too often can sunbathers forget and suffer with red-raw skin as a consequence. Thanks to Nevus forgetting to reapply are over as you simply set an alarm so that you know when to reapply the lotion.

The Nevus iPhone app also supplies the UV index as well as a “Sunscreen Visualiser” so that you know how much lotion to apply for optimum coverage.

A handy app for just £1.99!



Coppertone MyUVAlert

This free to download app by Coppertone enables users to look up the UV index for the location they are heading to. Users are then encouraged to set up a ‘Suncare profile,’ which has been accused of simply being a platform for Coppertone to sell its skincare products.

The UV index might be pretty handy though!



Suntan Watcher

Simply lock your phone, set your sun tan levels and catch those rays! The various settings monitor, how many minutes you should spend sunbathing before it is time to turn over, how long before sun cream is needed to be applied, and how long before it is time to stop sunbathing altogether.

As an alarm rings out perhaps this anti-sunburn gadget is more suited to those who can’t help but fall asleep on the beach – Not bad for a mere £0.69.


Nutrino: Pocket Nutritionist


There are more than 1 billion overweight adults in the world and at least 300 million of them are clinically obese. Apparently. So at least this means that if you could stand to lose a few pounds you’re certainly not on your own, and with a bit of friendly motivation from modern technology it could be easier than you think.

Enter Nutrino, the first “virtual nutritionist” that takes the slog out of trawling over packets of food to work out calorie counts by constructing personalised recipes based on exercise levels, eating habits, preferred foods and personal goals. Available for Apple devices at the App Store and “coming soon” to Google Play, the app allows you to input data such as how active your lifestyle is and how much weight you want to lose, before coming up with a choice of meal plans that in theory shouldn’t turn your stomach or push you over the edge. Tables and charts break down protein, carbohydrate, fat consumption etc. and there’s a daily success rating based on how closely you’ve stuck to the target consumption.

Somewhat counter-intuitively, it can even save a trip to the supermarket by purchasing the ingredients necessary to rustle up these healthy snacks via the “Grocery list”. UK users can simply add items to this list and then place an order at Tescos or ASDA, with more supermarkets to be added in due course. It can also help when you’re eating out, and is being offered to chains such as Pret, pod, eat, Costa Coffee and Café Nero with the aim of showing you which of the foods available to eat there will fit your plan.

Finally, if you have a Withings compatible wireless scale and associated app you can sync it with Nutrino to keep track of weight gain/loss, with meal plans adjusted automatically to stay in line with your goals.

“We created Nutrino because we were tired of seeing so much of the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to nutrition. We believe nutrition should be personal to each individual. People are using lots of different apps and gadgets to track their diet or fitness but there is nothing out there that delivers recommendations that are personalised to each of us.”

Jonathan Lipnick, CEO and co-foudner of Nutrino

Nutrino can be downloaded from the Apple App Store today for free, so there’s no reason not to give it a try. An Android version is “in development”, but there’s no confirmed release date as yet. For more information visit

Mio Cyclo 105C cycle computer review

Despite the daily threat of physical harm and death I do like cycling to and fro on London roads. In part this is because traffic makes buses agitating and the tube is a hot mess of sweat and agravataion in the summer. But also I like to think that I’m somehow magically getting fitter with all these rides to and from Hackney. I even got a fixed-gear bicycle so I’m peddling the whole time and not coasting down hills or relying too much on gears. But how fit am I really getting? Well the best way to find out is with a cycling computer and Mio were kind enough to lend me one for a week or two to find out (if the suspense is killing you the answer is “not very”).


Mio have a range of stylish bike computers that record time, speed, distance, altitude and calorie consumption. The computers are equipped with an anti-glare 1.8” screen, simple menu structure and a customisable dashboard. To top that off their computers come with built in GPS so they can track your movements. Not bad for a little device that looks like a chubby Casio watch.

There’s very little set up needed and there’s a distinct “out of the box” feel to package. You will need to place sensors on your wheels and pedals to log all this data and the 105 H which I was testing also had a strap-on heart monitor that you’ll need to pop on around your chest before getting started. The Mio Cyclo 105 series comes with a built-in ANT+ sensor and is compatible with every power meter, so the user can easily monitor performance. The Mio Cyclo 105 H is the same product, but includes a wireless heart-rate monitor in the box.


The computer itself is a little on the large side and clashed with the polished sleek aesthetic I’ve been trying to hard to achieve on my “ride” but if you’re less vain than I am (i.e., most people), then it shouldn’t be too much of a problem. The casing is rugged and waterproof so ready for most London weather. There’s a charger to power up the device (and the 18 hour battery life is more than good enough for most rides) and you can sync data back to your computer via a micro-USB cable.

This is my main issue with the device actually. It does a *beautiful* job of recording my movements when I’m on the bicycle and is simple and easy to use. But it really falls down at the last hurdle with PC syncing. I simply don’t want to be plugging things into my computers anymore. I’d much rather we entered the world of wireless background syncing. Maybe (definitely) I’ve been spoiled by the world of smartphones and smart personal fitness devices like the FitBit Zip but I want things to be logging my data in the background and then spitting info back at me via an app – the Withings WiFi scale and the FitBit Zip are both perfect examples of this technology. It’s a great way to actually interact with the data you’re providing – and harnesses the power of a computer you actually have on you.

This gripe aside it’s a great device and if you’re serious about your cycling fitness it’s worth checking out.

The Mio Cyclo 105 H is out now for £169.99

Stoptober: The gift of giving up

Quitting smoking is an incredibly hard challenge as the lure of free yellow teeth, smelly clothes and lung cancer is much too strong for some people. However, if for some odd reason you’d like to regain the ability to breathe and generally have less poison swimming around your body, the NHS are now leveraging the power of apps to aide you on your journey.


Stoptober (an NHS initiative) is encouraging smokers to give up for the month of October, as people who quit for 28 days are 5 times more likely to stay smoke free. It’s also encouraging people to mass words together with the names of months, a disturbing trend started with Mowvember. Whatever next? Febrewary to encourage you make your own alcohol? AApril to counteract all the drinking in Febrewary?

Stoptober have created a mobile app to support people through their 28 day journey by providing daily advice, crave busting tips, a money saved calculator and a whole host of other supportive information. The app also integrates with web support.

The app makes you enter information about your smoking habits and motivation so you get personalised support – a reminder of how much money you’ve saved, or how your house now longer smells like an armpit. There’s also a daily planner (“Things to do today: Not smoke”) and a series of badges as you progress. You can also share your progress on Facebook who can support you as you keep going (or castigate you as you give in to temptation).

If you sign up you also get a Stoptober pack which includes a calendar, gum and a Stoptober stress toy to help keep your hands busy.

Department of Health Stoptober app is now available in the iTunes app store and Google Play.

Sign up at Stoptober

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 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 and is available to purchase both online and in-store at Apple stores and online at

Eyes right with the GUNNAR glasses

Do you spend hours staring at a computer screen, whether it’s working or playing games? Do you find yourself with aching eyes after a long session in front of a laptop?

Then you might be interested in the latest glasses to come to the market. The makers (GUNNAR Optiks,pioneers in the development of digital eyewear) claim these glasses can reduce screen eyestrain, minimise eye fatigue and visual stress while helping to improving contrast, comfort and focus.


According to the Vision Council of America, 90% of those who use a computer at least 3 hours a day suffer from symptoms of CVS (Computer Vision Syndrome) – with symptoms including blurred vision, difficulty changing focus; redness, burning sensation, soreness, stinging, itchiness, dryness, excessive tearing, eye fatigue, eyestrain, light sensitivity, and contact lens discomfort.

GUNNAR Computer Protective Glasses are designed to eliminate the constant refocusing effort eyes undergo when staring for long periods at a computer screen. And now for the science part – apparently the glasses use GUNNAR’s i-AMP lens technology, which relaxes the ocular muscles that strain to look at images and text at close distances. The glasses also have an i-Fi lens coating that filters the glare from artificial lighting, sunlight and the computer screen itself. The coating is scratch resistant and anti-reflective and GUNNAR claims it cuts out 99.7% of glare.

And there’s more – GUNNARS fRACTYL lens geometry helps the eyes to focus because it pre-focuses the light rays before they hit the eye, letting the ciliary muscles that shape the lens of the eye relax. Plus the iONic lens tint keeps the adverse effect of artificial lighting to a minimum.

Do they work? Well Gunnar Optiks’ surveyed 5,000 people and found that all of them reported improved ease of viewing while 96% reported reduction in eyestrain.

The glasses are already popular in the US and are now available to order from at Prices start at £79.

Note: Anyone using a screen for any period of time should ensure the take regular breaks away from the screen, whatever eyewear they are using.

iBGStar: Blood glucose monitoring on your iPhone

I had no idea 2.9 million people had Diabetes in the UK and on top of that there are a further 850,000 undiagnosed cases. Diabetes can be difficult to monitor and keep under control. So to help, Sanofi  has launched the first blood glucose monitor that connects seamlessly to the iPhone. The potential effects of Diabetes include heart attack, stroke, heart disease and blindness so not one to be taken lightly. The iBGStar could not have come at a better time for the modern iGeneration. Research shows that people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes who regularly self-monitor their blood glucose levels can achieve better glycaemic control. It can be very difficult to maintain and the iBGStar aims to make it easier to self-monitor and gain control.


The iBGStar is the smallest blood glucose monitor on the market and simply plugs in to the bottom of the iPhone. It is designed for ease and simplicity with hypo and hyper alerts and only a small blood sample is needed. It comes with a free Diabetes Manager App and it stores, tracks and analyses information. What I liked best is the ease that you can share the information. You can email your results to your health professional. If you are parent and you want to monitor your child while you are work or if they go on a school trip, they can email you the results. The app is very useful as you can add notes to readings. Perhaps if you ate something you should not have, you can add a note so you know why the reading was high. The app colour codes high and low results so you can see easily how are doing on the graph or on a table.

Taking a reading is also very easy. Even if you are not great with technology, it could not be easier. All you have to do to plug in the iBGStar, open the app, insert test strip, obtain blood sample by lancing and put test strip on blood sample. Six seconds later you have your result. You can also take a reading without the iPhone and when you next plug it in to the iPhone it will update the results.

Looking at the design, it has very sleek look and is very small compared to its competitors. It comes in a case with everything you need inside including lancing devices, test strips, control solution and all the cables you need. So you do not need to worry about losing it, just keep hold of the case.

To go with the surge in demand for smartphones, there has been a rise in iHealth products and apps to go with smartphones that help people as we have become more health conscious. I think the iBGStar is a much-needed welcome addition to the market. iBGStar is available in Boots for £48. Not everyone has an iPhone so there is also the BGStar which is a more traditional blood glucose monitor.