Latest Gadgets For Tech Enthusiasts

Latest Gadgets For Tech Enthusiasts

Every year brings a new crop of cool gadgets. Flip phones are back, action cameras are ever-better and smart home devices keep getting slimmer and more efficient.

Treating your tech enthusiast – or yourself – to one of these items could give them an edge this Christmas. From a smartphone stabiliser to a smart wallet that keeps their cards safe and secure, these are our latest picks.

1. Amazon Echo Show 8

The Echo Show 8 brings a useful touchscreen to Amazon’s popular voice assistant. You can use it to stream music, video chat, check the weather and news, and control smart home devices.

It also integrates with Ring doorbells and Wyze cams to let you see what’s happening at the front door and can provide cooking assistance in the kitchen (through a partnership with Food Network). A new third-generation model has an improved design, better processing and a centered 13MP camera that auto-frames.

It might not look as nice as the high-end 10-inch Echo Show 10 or have a great interface like Google’s Nest Hub, but for $130 it’s still one of our favorite Alexa-enabled smart displays. It’s also a good middle ground for those who think the smaller Echo Show 5 is too small and want a bigger screen.

2. Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

The Kindle Paperwhite is Amazon’s most popular e-reader and for good reason. It’s designed to be used for long reading sessions and features a screen that’s easy on the eyes and has a built-in light. There’s also a 32GB model that lets you access books on your own without Wi-Fi (though you’ll need to pay for the service’s “special offers”).

This latest version brings small updates like a USB-C port and display warmth to a device that’s already the best in its class. Amazon’s massive library is a huge selling point for any reader and it continues to be a major advantage over competitors.

This latest model is the thinnest Kindle yet with thinner edges and less of a bezel around the screen. It now includes adjustable warm light and a battery that lasts weeks instead of hours.

3. Nothing Phone 2

The Nothing Phone 2 is an intriguing slate with a transparent back that shows the battery level and charging status. It also features stereo speakers that sound pretty bad, lacking definition and getting tinny at high volumes. Real audio enthusiasts will probably want to use Bluetooth headphones or a portable speaker with it instead.

The star of the show, though, is the Glyph Interface — that cluster of LED lights on the back of the smartphone that glows in a variety of patterns to let you know who’s calling or messaging and more. You can even customize the glyphs by using a Glyph Composer to create morse code-like combinations of blinks and bloops.

The software tweaks are a little more subtle this time around, but they still aim to promote intentional phone usage by offering resizable folders and cool widgets decked out in a dot matrix style.

4. Air Fryer

A frying alternative that has surged in popularity, air fryers reduce the oil and odours associated with greasy deep-fried foods. They can also be more cost-effective and energy efficient than using a conventional oven.

For ease-of-use, look for models with clear function icons and controls. The Instant Vortex Plus with Clear Cook and OdourErase was the most intuitive in our tests, thanks to a transparent plastic basket window you can peer through to keep an eye on your food. Also consider features like baking functions – ideal for thrifty bakes and classic cake recipes, and dehydrating options, which are great for free-from diets.

When you’re upgrading to an air fryer, or your current model reaches the end of its life, remember that you can donate or recycle it to charity or through online marketplaces. Check the Reuse Network for your nearest charities that accept smaller electricals.

5. Apple AirTags

Apple doesn’t invent product categories; it just takes existing ideas and smoothes out the rough edges. This is what it did with the iPod and iPhone, and it’s done again here with the AirTag, which makes the Bluetooth item tracker a whole lot less annoying to use (and less expensive, too).

A single AirTag costs $29 / £29 / AU$45; you get a pair of them for $99. Apple’s own accessories are designed for keys, but third-party brands like Belkin make official AirTag loops made from polyurethane that cost a bit less than the iPhone maker’s versions.

One big thing to keep in mind: AirTags use Bluetooth connections to find themselves, and those connections are end-to-end encrypted. That means only you and other AirTag owners can tell where an AirTag is located.

6. Google Pixel Tablet

The $499 Pixel Tablet is Google’s reentry into the Android tablet market and an interesting take on smart displays, too. It comes with a dock that magnetically attaches and makes the slate into an oversize smart home hub, able to show personal photos or respond to “Hey Google” voice commands.

It uses a special chip designed for the device, which also provides machine learning functionality like its onboard camera that can follow a user around a room for video calls or photo capture, plus advanced features like Magic Eraser and Photo Unblur. While on the dock, it enters Hub Mode and only the primary user can access full Google Assistant features.

Start your day with a scheduled routine that sets the lights to a softer glow, as well as wakes you up with a preset alarm. While working, you can also ask for help in a foreign language with Live Translate.

7. Escort Radar/Laser Detector

This radar detector has the simplest, most user-friendly design of any we’ve tested. Its color-coded LED arrows not only indicate the direction of the threat, but also the type and strength of it.

It has built-in WiFi so it can update its radar database over-the-air, but that also makes it a bit more expensive than others on our list. Still, if it saves you even one ticket, it’ll pay for itself in no time.

It has GPS technology to automatically lock out stationary false alerts from things like speed signs and automatic door openers at shopping centers. It’s also Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible to display the map with shared alerts, red light and speed camera locations, and crowd-sourced road conditions on your phone or car display.

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