Greener BeeGreen GadgetsThe 40 best gadgets of 2017

1 TOY ROBOT
UBTech Jimu Astrobot Kit (£190)

You can assemble one of three robots with this Lego-like kit, each fully mobile and equipped with an infra-red sensor to help it detect and interact with its environment. Best of all, it can then be programmed using the child-friendly block-programming app, opening limitless opportunities.

2 CONSOLE
Nintendo Switch (£280)


While it can’t compete with the monstrous processing power or online multiplayer capacities of its rivals, this modular gaming tablet offers an entirely new approach to video-gaming, merging the Wii and the DS in a convivial hybrid. As testament to its success, more and more non-Nintendo games are being released for the device and video streaming services are coming soon.

3 INTERACTIVE TOUCH-SCREEN PROJECTOR
Sony Xperia Touch (£1,400)


This impressive appliance is an early iteration of what might well become a common household gadget: a projector that turns any surface into an interactive touch screen. This means you can annotate a presentation, play Flappy Bird in huge dimensions, or beam a recipe on to your chopping board and scroll through it with doughy fingers.

4 CAMERA
Panasonic Lumix GH5 (from £1,700)


This powerful camera has a limitless catalogue of impressive specifications: physical and digital image stabilisation, extensive weatherproofing and professional-standard 4K video capacity. Sleek and neat, it’s a mirrorless number that seriously troubles its SLR competitors, and could easily become the videographer’s weapon of choice.

5 WIRED HEADPHONES
Oppo PM-3 (£349)


If you prefer a reliable set of passive headphones to the flashy Bluetooth or noise-cancelling alternatives, this lush, brushed-metal, over-ear pair is a luxurious option. The balanced magnetic drivers are designed to emphasise deep tones, and the phones themselves are indecently comfortable.

6 SECURITY CAMERA
Nest Cam IQ (from £299)


For the vigilant and nervy among us, Nest’s IQ indoor and outdoor security cameras automatically identify human beings and even recognise their faces, alerting you via your phone. Add to that its infrared night vision, live warning speaker and multi-axis rotation, and you can turn your home into a cosy Orwellian utopia.

7 BUDGET SMARTPHONE
Motorola Moto G5 (£180)



Motorola G5

A fingerprint scanner, a screen that is sharper than the iPhone 7 and a 13MP camera – all for the price of a few months of premium smartphone contract. There is no near-field communication (NFC) for Android Pay but, hey, think of that as another way to save money.

8 WIRELESS CHARGING
Aukey Charging Stand (from £25)


This slick pedestal, from Chinese charging giant Aukey, is both more attractive and more practical than the flat wireless chargers that have preceded it. With three internal coils and adjustable feet, it makes the idea of wireless charging seem less gimmicky and more genuinely convenient.

9 CHARGING CABLE
Fuse Chicken Titan cable (from £25)


You know how it is: you’re busy felling a mighty elm with a petrol chainsaw, when your phone charger slips from your breast pocket and is instantly severed by the blades? With the Titan cable, double-wrapped in flexible steel, this will never happen again.

10 SMARTWATCH
Apple Watch 3 (from £329)


The newest Apple Watch has severed the umbilical cord that tied it to the iPhone, allowing you to leave the house without it and still receive calls on the hoof. It’s also now connected to Apple Music, so you can demand almost any song you like and the ever-obedient Siri will oblige.

11 TURNTABLE
Pro-Ject Primary (£189)


As if to prove that the vinyl resurgence needn’t be the preserve of moneyed thirtysomethings, respectable Austrian firm Pro-Ject have released this deeply satisfying belt-drive turntable, aimed at people who prefer playing records to fiddling with gear. The price should make its rivals blush.

12 HOME FITNESS
Wattbike Atom (£1,500)


Designed to precisely recreate specific cycling conditions, the Wattbike simulates every aspect of a real custom racing bike (including the price). Using a smartphone or tablet as its screen, you can climb the Col du Tourmalet without ever leaving your bedroom.

13 SMART SHOES
Under Armour Gemini 3 graphic RE (£130)


No phone or watch required with these running shoes, which have a sensor embedded in each sole. They also feature a unique “jump test” to help determine how hard your next run should be.

14 PORTABLE WIRELESS PROJECTOR
Optoma ML330 (from £333)


Leading brand Optoma unveiled their cleverest little projector this summer – a 460g, LED-powered model with a huge maximum image size of 120ins. It accepts HDMI and wireless connections, Android screen-mirroring and Bluetooth, as well as having a built-in speaker, and it’s only 13cm wide.

15 BIKE HELMET
Lumos (£160)


Forty-eight LEDs adorn this ventilated bike helmet: white at the front, red at the back, and amber indicators to left and right, controlled by a remote on your handlebar. Not only can you signal your intentions to drivers, the helmet can also detect when you’re braking, and its lights react accordingly.

16 NOISE-CANCELLING HEADPHONES
Bowers Wilkins PX (£329)


Tasteful, curvaceous and comfortingly weighty, these toffee-nosed British headphones ooze charm with every note. The wireless synchronisation is effortless and uninterrupted, the noise-cancelling is watertight, and the speakers are sloped to direct the sound diagonally, rather than at right angles – a novel and effective feature.

17 ROBOT SIDEKICK
Anki Cozmo (£200)


Cozmo is a tiny forklift truck that behaves with whimsical autonomy, trundling around the room, singing and interacting with the furniture. It can perform various feats of engineering involving light-up cubes, and can even recognise your face, staring up at you with unequivocal devotion.

18 ROBOT VACUUM
Neato Botvac D7 Connected (£799)


If not the Rolls-Royce of robot vacuums then certainly the Lexus, Neato’s Botvac D7 is released next month and available now for pre-order. Building on its predecessors’ reputation for painstaking thoroughness, the D7 is less plasticky, better for pet hair, and has a luscious app that allows you to control it remotely, chart its progress and keep its venturesome spirit in check with no-go areas.

19 GAMING DRIVING WHEEL
LOGITECH G29/G920 (£330)


The latest edition of Logitech’s driving set-up continues with its grand tradition of “helical gearing”, which means it has the same smooth transmission you would find in an actual sports car, only without the hefty insurance premium and public disapproval.

20 CAR
Smart Fortwo Cabrio Electric Drive 2017 (from £18,560)


The first soft-top electric city car appeared this year, part of the fifth generation of Smart’s green alternative two-seater. Despite its size and intended urban habitat, it has a respectable 96-mile range and a top speed of 80mph, and for those show-offs who want to roll the top down in winter, it comes with heated seats as standard.

21 SMART SPEAKER
Amazon Echo – 2nd Gen (£90)


The eagle-eared Alexa has returned, in smart grey upholstery and with improved audio to boot. She can hear you over the sound of her own booming speaker, her seven microphones pricked up for your every whim, only she’s now a little shorter and a lot cheaper.

22 GAMING HEADSET
SteelSeries Arctis 3 Bluetooth (£135)


This new headset, from the award-winning Dutch games accessories designer SteelSeries, runs two simultaneous inputs: one wired, the other wireless. The wired connection, which is faster, channels the audio from gameplay, leaving the Bluetooth connection open for music or chatting to your fellow motorists, wizards, gunmen etc.

23 BATTERY PACK
Anker PowerCore+ 26800 (£90)


As long as smartphones continue to be too powerful for their own good, there will be a market for these excellent powerbanks, which come in every shape and size. Anker lead the field, and this is their most powerful pack so far, capable of charging an iPhone 7 ten times before it need s a pick-me-up.

24 SKI MASK AND HELMET
Giro Range/Stellar MIPS helmet (£230) and Axis/Ella goggles (£180)



Observer supplement gadgets november 2017 Photograph: Katherine Anne Rose for the Observer

Many of Giro’s cleverest comfort features are on show in these new models. The helmet’s shell is made from two separate panels that can mould to the wearer’s head, along with a “thermostat” to control ventilation. The goggles are made with fogless Zeiss lenses.

25 SMARTPHONE
Google Pixel 2 (£629)


In response to the relentless over-complication of smartphones, Google have simplified their flagship handset, offering a streamlined processor, a conservative design and very few bells and whistles. But the frontline of the great smartphone war is fought with cameras, and here the Pixel 2 excels.

26 ROAD BIKE
Specialized Tarmac SL6 Pro (£5,400)


The latest iteration of Specialized’s acclaimed cycle weighs a tiny bit less and features a redesigned frame for a more sumptuous ride. This model is garnished with Shimano’s latest electronic gear-shifting, tubeless tyres and air-slicing aero wheels – cheaper versions are available.

27 NOVELTY
Snap Spectacles (£130)


These gaudy wayfarers are designed by and for Snapchat, allowing adventurous users to shoot POV video clips for their adoring followers. Despite their frivolous appearance, they’re neatly designed, and function as a kind of less-threatening version of Google Glass.

28 VR HEADSET
HTC Vive (£599)


Frequently described as the first headset to live up to the VR hype, the HTC Vive has been updated this year, and continues to attract games developers for its uniquely immersive experience. Movements of the headset and controllers are detected by two external sensors, and the immediacy of this tracking minimizes the lag and nausea associated with other headsets.

29 E-READER
Amazon Kindle Oasis (£230)


Quite pricey, at roughly four times the cost of an entire Booker shortlist in hardback – but you can drop it in the bath without disrupting your reading experience. Amazon boasts the screen resolution is so good it “reads like printed paper” – which is a relief.

30 DROID TOY
Sphero R2-D2 droid (£180)


Luke Skywalker’s laconic mechanic has been lovingly reproduced in this miniature robot, which can patrol at will, follow you around, and utter his customary hooting trills. He’s interactive, app-enabled and, with luck, captures the original R2’s characteristic sarcasm.

31 HOME CINEMA AUDIO
Wharfedale DX-2 (£450)


Released this month, the DX-2 is a 5.1 surround sound system, which means it has five “satellite” speakers, each with a treble and bass driver, and an active, long-throw subwoofer, turning your sitting room into a shuddering noise-chamber for only £450, which in hi-fi terms is affordable.

32 WIFI MESH KIT
TP-Link Deco M5 (£230)


Tired of wifi issues plaguing your internet experience? You probably need a wifi mesh system to bathe your vast residence with a reliable signal. This set-up includes three units to dot around your home and claims to cover up to 4,500 sq ft in glorious wifi.

33 BEAN-TO-CUP COFFEE MAKER
Gaggia Classic Deluxe Coffee Station (£699)


Practically synonymous with espresso, Gaggia have maintained their elderly reputation among hot competition. In contrast to one-button Clooney gadgets, this new package offers a dazzling array of steam and steel, allowing home baristas to take total control of their morning cup.

34 WIRELESS EARBUDS
Bragi Dash Pro (£312)


They aren’t cheap, but the newly improved Dash Pro wireless earbuds have much to commend them. They’re noise-isolating, waterproof, activity-tracking, gesture-controlled and have an improved low-interruption Bluetooth connection. The battery offers five hours of continuous playback, and the case doubles as a portable charger.

35 HAIRDRYER
Dyson Supersonic hairdryer (£300)


No household product is safe from James Dyson’s revolutionary fervour; this year, the hairdryer. The “digital” motor is fitted in the handle, to make the dryer more nimble, and blades have been added to reduce noise and increase efficiency.

36 TELEVISION
LG 55” OLED C7 TV (£1,700)


The great TV resolution race is currently being won by LG, whose chosen technology, OLED (organic light-emitting diodes) leads the field for colour and fidelity. The simplest of this year’s models is the C7, which is only a few millimeters thick, and contains the same image technology as its £25,000 W7 counterpart. Mercifully, this year LG have given up on hideous curved screens.

37 FITNESS TRACKER
Garmin Vivosmart 3 (£130)


This activity tracker also monitors your heart rate and generates your VO2 max score. It uses heart rate variability data to give a reading of how stressed you are – and will suggest breathing exercises to help calm you down.

38 BLUETOOTH SPEAKER
Ultimate Ears Wonderboom (£90)


Ultimate Ears, makers of the beloved Boom and Roll models, have built their reputation on speakers that are antisocially loud, and the Wonderboom is no exception. It’s also waterproof, as we’ve come to expect, and its design is gently reminiscent of a hand grenade.

39 DRONE
Parrot Bebop 2 Power (£630)



Observer supplement gadgets November 2017 Photograph: Katherine Anne Rose for the Observer

The new Bebop 2 comes with two batteries, giving you a total of 60 minutes in which to fly the little quadcopter up to 2km away, piloting it via its FPV (first-person view) headset. The sooner you buy one, the more time you’ll have to play with it before the legal crackdown on drones comes into effect.

40 E-BIKE
Coboc One Soho (£3,600)


There’s no shame in riding an electric bike, but if there were, the Coboc One Soho would offer an elegant reprieve, because it looks just like an ordinary – but extraordinarily handsome – fixed-gear pushbike. The discreet electric drive system in the rear axle adjusts to pedal pressure, giving an 80km range on the flat. Predictably, it’s German.

This article contains affiliate links to products. Our journalism is independent and is never written to promote these products although we may earn a small commission if a reader makes a purchase.

Article source: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/nov/19/tech-gadgets-toys-luxury-items-of-2017


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