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Gifts that keep on giving: hi-tech gadgets for the perfect day

Advancements in technology never cease, and Christmas is an apt time to take stock of the latest developments that will make our lives easier, more fun and more fulfilling

PUBLISHED : Monday, 04 December, 2017, 10:15am
UPDATED : Monday, 04 December, 2017, 10:15am

Twelve months is a long time in technology. What was cutting edge last year might be dated already. At the very least, there’s bound to be an updated version. For all those making their Christmas lists, we’ve put together a perfect day for the gadget traffic in your life.

Wake-up call

If they’re “not a morning person”, the new Echo Spot from Amazon’s Alexa family could be the gift that keeps on giving – by allowing a few minutes more under the covers each day. This stylish-looking bedside buddy is a smart alarm clock that also checks the weather, displays your calendar, makes to-do lists, and responds to all the smart home voice commands as Alexa does. Its built-in camera lets you make video calls or peek into the kids’ room. Shipping from December, could this be the ultimate multi-tasking tool?

Smell the coffee

The Prodigio is the first Bluetooth-connected coffee machine from Nespresso. The night before, you’ve preprogrammed your desired brew, and the time you want it, so it’s simply a matter of stumbling to the kitchen. The machine’s mobile app will also prompt you when the machine needs descaling, and sends capsule re-order alerts, so you’re never in danger of running out.

Pocket power

Don’t leave home without probably the smartest wallet ever invented – at least so far. The Volterman is a beautiful executive accessory that not only holds your cash and cards, it has a built-in power bank to charge your smartphone on the go. A Bluetooth alarm system will notify you if you’ve left your wallet – or even phone – behind. But if you do happen to lose this wallet, its thief detector is activated, whereby a tiny camera hidden inside will take a snapshot of who opened the wallet first, and email you the pics. It even functions as a global Wi-fi hot spot as well – all the while being extremely lightweight and thin.

Sounds smart

If a flight is on the day’s agenda, you’d also want to take along Bowers & Wilkins’ new intelligent, noise-cancelling headphones, the PX. Built-in sensors respond to the way you’d normally use headphones – put them on and they turn on; lift an ear cup and the music pauses.

Its smart suspension system allows for high-end hi-fi on the go, producing the precision required for great high frequencies up to 30kHz, as well as the compliance needed for deep and dynamic bass. The innovative placement of the transducers results in a more natural listening experience and vastly improved stereo performance. Importantly, the class-leading battery provides 22 hours of listening unplugged, or 33 hours in wired noise cancellation mode.

Dog’s dinner

No need to fret about whether your fur-kids are okay. The 2018 model Feed and Go smart pet minder connects to your home Wi-fi network and uses a web-based dashboard to schedule feeding times to dispense food and medicine from the preloaded trays. Its built-in camera lets you watch your pal from any mobile device, and you’ll be notified once mealtime is over.

I’ll be doggone: walkie-talkie technology solves pet loneliness

Stay on track

Keeping tabs on the day’s health data is a breeze with the new range of fitness trackers that look like they belong on business attire, instead of sports gear. For her, the Bellabeat Leaf Urban is a gorgeous piece of jewellery that collects the usual data (physical activity, sleep patterns, etc) while worn as a necklace, bracelet or clip. The device then collates the information into an infographic within the app to demonstrate how susceptible the wearer is to stress.

For him, the Nokia Steel is an activity tracker disguised as an elegant wristwatch. The time is displayed on the face, with a subdial showing your progress. All other stats such as calories, steps, distance and sleep cycles can be viewed on the app.

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Picture this

When when you get home, programmed to welcome you with the desired temperature lighting, music, etc, finish the day with an evening’s entertainment. Two of the best loved audio and visual brands – Bang & Olufsen and LG – have teamed up to develop the BeoVision Eclipse, a television and a music system in one delivering best-in-class picture quality with high-end sound. By also integrating internet radio and music streaming services, BeoVision Eclipse becomes a music system in its own right.

Now hear this: new home hi-fi systems are music to our ears

That should be Christmas sorted.