Aamena Patel talks through this year’s top tech- perfect for treating the special people in your life, or just yourself!
For runners and gym warriors, the Bose SoundSport (£128.95) wireless earphones are the perfect choice to keep you motivated this winter. They’re sweat and weather resistant with Bluetooth and NFC pairing and an in-line three button remote for music controls makes them ideal for outdoor and indoor workouts. There’s no compromise with audio quality and the lightweight earbuds stay secure with StayHear tips. As an added bonus, the Bose Connect app allows you to switch seamlessly between devices by linking multiple Bluetooth devices, including earbuds, so you can share your favourite playlist with your workout buddy.
If you want to go completely wire-free for your workouts, look no further than the Jabra Elite Sport wireless headphones. They’re definitely a bigger investment, with the black pair currently at £179 on Amazon, but the runner-friendly external mic feature is a big advantage. You can opt to turn the external mic on to hear ambient noise, such as approaching traffic, to help keep you safer on outdoor runs. Featuring in-ear heart monitoring and good quality audio, the earbuds also come with a carrying case with so you can recharge your earbuds on the go.
Building on the popularity of the first generation Echo speaker, Amazon have released a newer, better and, surprisngly, cheaper version of Amazon Echo. The second generation Echo (£89.99) has a more attractive design, with a range of colours and fabrics to complement your home. Echo 2 connects to Alexa and has compatibility with other Echo devices, allowing you to play music, audiobooks or even news briefs across devices in different rooms. It’s more than just a speaker, however. You can sync it with control compatible smart home devices, check your calendar and make calls all by voice-activation with Alexa. In the way of student life, it’s a nifty little gadget for any pre-drinks, although it may not have the clout to blow off your roof with the bass at a house party.
The world of photography seems to be constantly churning out new cameras with a mix of features. For novice photographers, it can be confusing to know where to look, with quality cameras being a large investment. The Nikon COOLPIX B700 (£349) is a good place to start. Although it has a single, fixed lens, it’s kitted out with WiFi and 4K ultra HD resolution. The lens itself is 20.3 megapixels, allowing you to capture detail and long-range shots very well.
For more experienced photographers looking for an upgrade, the Nikon D7200 camera is a good option. With basic photo editing software, image stabilisation, variable shutter speeds and ISO maximum levels to play around with, the £846 price tag seems quite reasonable. This DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera also boasts a 24.2-megapixel lens, built-in WiFi and NFC (near field communication) so it’s definitely one for the Christmas wish-list!
With VR gaming becoming increasingly popular, the HTC Vive Headset is the standout of the year. The 110 degree field of view feels natural and movement tracking is immediate, so there’s no lag as with other headsets on the market. The headset uses SteamVR gaming, and while the headset itself is likely to make a fair dent in your bank balance at £599, as the content available continues to increase, it becomes a more attractive investment.
It’s been quite the year for Nintendo. The release of its retro gaming console, the SNES Classic Mini sparked several eager trips down memory lane for ‘90’s gamers, but the Nintendo Switch caught the attention of gamers earlier in the year. The concept is that the Nintendo Switch allows a seamless transition between playing games at home on a console and handheld, portable gaming. For £279.99, the console itself includes two detachable controller sides, and two straps to make these into two separate controllers for home gaming with a friend. Additionally, the kickstand allows you to convert the console into table-top mode so you can resume multiplayer gaming without being glued to a TV screen. With a microSD slot for expandable games storage, you’re sure to always be entertained.