TECH IT OUT: Five Top Gadgets On Black Friday
Looking for Christmas gift inspiration, or just on the hunt during Black Friday? Any of these new tech-tastic treats will upgrade a special someone’s life — though you may be tempted to wrap them up for yourself
Beoplay E8, £259.99
This pair of wireless, in-ear headphones are as sleek and stylish as anything you would find from Danish design maestros Bang & Olufsen. The company’s marketing department suggests “E8 resembles a piece of jewellery, but houses frontier engineering power”. Personally, I don’t view in-ear headphones as fashion accessories; I choose mine on sound quality. Thankfully, the E8 delivers on that front, as one would expect from B&O. The sound is simply stunning, and the lucky listener connects to devices via Bluetooth. These are dust and splash proof, too, so can be used in the gym and when on the run. Additionally, when fully charged the E8 headphones will provide you with up to four hours of playing time, and the leather carry case cleverly doubles as an on-the-go charging station and can boost battery life up to 12 hours. Half a day of listening nonstop to music is not recommended, but — be warned — with the E8’s impressive sonic oomph it is easy to lose track of time.
AK70 MKII, £599
Before smartphones became really ace, everyone used portable music players to listen to their favourite tunes on the go. Plug in to this incredible device for just 10 minutes and you will realise that we have become lazy in this regard: we owe it to our ears to up our sonic game. The AK70 MKII is essentially a top-end hifi system shrunk down to fit into your pocket. It boasts dual DAC technology, separating the left and right audio channels from input to output — and this is the first Astell&Kern model under £1,000 to be equipped with this pioneering tech. It adds more fidelity and audio output power to create a bigger sound stage with clearer imaging when paired with your favourite headphone or speakers. If you want high-quality sound any place, anytime, don’t compromise your audio experience by using making do with a smartphone.
Fitbit Ionic, £299.99
The Ionic is activity-tracker giant Fitbit’s first foray into the smartwatch market, and it’s a decent effort — especially for those of us who are athletically inclined, or just in need of some motivation to move more. Take it from me: the Ionic, tooled up with GPS, a heart monitor, and more, is weirdly addictive. You’ll want to keep checking your pulse, the number of calories you have burnt, and kilometres you have (surprisingly) managed. By setting yourself daily challenges — 10,000 steps, say — this little beauty will nudge you into action, and with luck not only spur a New Year’s resolution to get fitter but ensure that you stick to it. Heck, with Fitbit Coach, the watch becomes a cut-price personal trainer and guides you through workouts. The Ionic is slick-looking, too, and is available in a range of colours. It offers a highly personalised health and fitness experience and even monitors how you sleep.
Brydge 10.5, £99.99
The average number of connected devices people own in the United Kingdom reached a record high of 3.5 this last quarter, according to GlobalData. Therefore, the chances are you have an iPad Pro, or similar. If you or your loved ones, like me, are frustrated by user-unfriendly typing on touchscreen tablets, then the Brydge 10.5 is the answer. It’s a detachable keyboard — complete with a top row of dedicated iOS special function keys — that has been precision engineered from a single piece of aluminium, to match the iPad Pro for fit and finish. It’s strong hinge means you can adjust it to any viewing angle up to 180°. Further, it is fitted with LED backlit keys, so you can keep tapping in the dark. And you don’t need to worry about running out of juice: the Brydge, which comes in rose gold, space grey, silver and gold and a range of sizes to suit other tablets, has a three-month battery life.
The Frame, £1,999
Now this 55-inch, Certified Ultra-high-definition Samsung television, which offers ‘4K resolution’ (meaning it uses a colossal 4,000 pixels), is really rather clever. Perhaps you are wondering why it is called ‘The Frame’. Well, it has an ‘art mode’, so that when it is not being watched it becomes an artistic feature to brighten up any room. In standby mode The Frame displays art — either from its own expandable library, or you can upload pictures and photographs yourself. Viewers can also access a multitude of online entertainment and channels through Samsung’s Smart Hub, and control all compatible devices via one remote control. Some might say, with good reason, The Frame is a masterpiece of home entertainment.
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