Heading towards the new year – and maybe a new you? Well, maybe the same you but with a few upgrades. From exercise to beauty and from gaming to gardening there’s a gadget to give you a helping hand. Caroline Delaney looks at some of the niftiest gadgets around – some are so new they’re not even in the shops yet and some have been around a while but have been improved or are available at a better price. Check these out!
Bellabeat Urban Leaf
There is a wide range of fitness and health trackers available now - opt for chunky and sporty or maybe a discreet one that looks like jewellery. The Bellabeat Urban Leaf is pretty stylish in fairness and doesn’t look like you’re waiting to be beamed back to the mothership. It’s a health tracker that can be worn on a chain or with a wrist strap. If you download the Bellabeat app and give it a few details then your phone or tablet syncs with your Bellabeat and promises to build a picture of your sleep, activity and meditation habits - plus stress and fertility levels, all with a hidden accelerometer that measures motion and vibration. €112
Fitbit is still the brand leader here. These smartwatches send personalised reminders and offer coaching and music. And now you can get a Fitbit Ace for kids too. They can add friends and take on challenges ‘together’. It tracks your child’s daily steps and active minutes and acknowledges goals and milestones with celebration messages and badges. The Fitbit Ionic is water resistant, has a build-in GPS and has NFC (near field communication) so you can store and use your credit cards right on your watch. from €100.
Garmin Fenix 5 GPS Wrist HR Multisport Watch
The Garmin Fenix 5 G PS Wrist HR Multisport Watch is a strong option for fitness fanatics intent on making 2019 a personal best. Ideal for outdoors enthusiasts.
Lumie Brazil SAD light
January is pretty grim for a lot of people. Natural light is at a minimum and it’s hard to feel energised. A SAD light could be your answer. This provides summer levels of bright light all year round, to lift your mood, boost concentration and restore your natural energy. The Lumie Brazil SAD light (€240) is a popular model – it’s a powerful lightbox and apparently, users need only short light therapy sessions for these benefits and effective treatment for SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). The Lumie Zest (€200) is a portable SAD light that provides bright light therapy to boost mood and energy. It includes a wake-up light option to start the day with a gradual sunrise.
Dyson Airwrap™ styler Smooth + Control
This is no ordinary hairdryer. This has attachments specifically engineered to smooth and control frizzy hair. It’s Ireland and it’s winter – who doesn’t have frizzy hair? The techs behind this one have made straight, glossy hair or bouncy curls or loose waves their goal. There’s a spinning vortex of air (apparently that’s really good) and a thermistor to control the airflow temperature. Pricey but actually might save you money in 2019 if you aren’t forking out on as many salon visits. €450
Panasonic EH-XT20 3-in-1 Facial Enhancer
Partied a bit too heartily? Bring that beauty spa to your home and ‘turn back time’ in the new year. Panasonic EH-XT20 3-in-1 Facial Enhancer with Micro-Current technology (€260). An anti-ageing beauty device that claims to “improve the absorption of your expensive skin creams” to make them work harder for you. It also works as a deep cleansing device with your daily cleansing lotion to extract deep-set dirt and grease from your pores. This gadget uses microcurrent technology – technically also known as ‘Iontophoresis’ – by applying a continuous electrical current through the skin. The device head, and a panel on the back of the device, have an alternating positive and negative charge. Holding the device in your hand closes the electrical circuit, thereby causing ions to move and create a flow into the skin.
IRobot 980 Roomba Robot Vacuum Cleaner
What bustles around the house endlessly cleaning up after kids and pets and barely gets time to recharge? Yes, probably mum but also the Roomba 965. In fairness, this is pretty cool – it monitors where the messiest spots are and targets those. You can get an iRobot HOME App and schedule your robot to clean up to seven times a week and, if you’re so inclined, you can review the cleaning data on your phone. Maybe set up a league table highlighting the messiest members of your household. You can also pause a cleaning cycle from anywhere at any time – sending this little hard-working robot ‘home’ to its docking station. Perfect if you have guests coming over and want to pretend you do it all yourself. It messages you to let you know when it’s getting full, but you do still have to empty it yourself. You can even get a mopping robot for tiled floors. You might still need a regular vacuum cleaner for skirting boards and de-crumbing the toaster. Just me? OK so. €1,000
Robomow RX Clever
This is one of the least obtrusive automated mowing machines around. It’s designed for approx 300m sq lawn so opt for a chunkier model if you have a bigger patch to trim (you can get one to cover 3,600sq m). It can be voice activated using Alexa. It has a rain sensor and has child-safety features too. Did your neighbour get one for Christmas? Well, don’t get any notions about it ‘accidentally’ tootling under the fence and trimming your lawn – it is programmable to stay inside the sensors installed in the owner’s garden. And it comes with an anti-theft pin code. RX 50 Pro s is €949 but the RX 12u is €499
Bose 700 Soundbar
Wanna feel like you’re right there in the stadium for that big game or feel the throbbing bass beat of a kick-ass song – without leaving your living room? A top-notch soundbar is probably what you need. The Bose Soundbar 700 is one of the pricier and most feature-heavy models. It has Amazon Alexa built in so you can play music, news and weather forecasts without lifting a finger. €900
Optoma DLP 4K UHD Projector
Need a few nights in after a hectic festive season? Maybe a home cinema will actually bring you home to roost and maybe even save you money in the long-run. The Optoma DLP 4K UHD Home Entertainment Projector is pretty top of the range. This is an ultra high definition projector promising a very high level of detail and astounding colour. Here’s the numbers spiel: “With 4 times the pixels of 1080p, a resolution of 3840x2160, 3000 lumens, and 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio, It delivers breath-taking and vivid picture quality. Offering High Dynamic Range in the form of HDR10, vertical lens shift and a 1.6x Zoom, and an HDMI 2.0 port with Full 18Gbps, it has been engineered to deliver the ultimate true 4K UHD home viewing experience.” And one more number for you – it costs around €3,000. Other, less pricey models start from around €500.
Nextbase 3” 4K In-Car Dash Cam
You’re a pretty good driver – it’s just those other roadusers you have to watch out for. A dash-cam might help. The Nextbase 3” 4K In-Car Dash Cam is the first of its kind to offer ultra HD 4K resolution. It uses an innovative polarizing filter to reduce windscreen glare, whilst recording at a 1 50° ultra-wide viewing angle to capture the entire road ahead and uses the latest Sony Exmor R Sensor to deliver unmatchable image quality with amazing picture clarity and vivid colours. It comes with a magnetic GPS mount so it can be installed easily and free from wires. With inbuilt Wi-Fi, download and share footage quickly and easily onto your phone or tablet (Android & IOS). Another key feature is the brand-new Replay 3 software with full editing capability to easily edit and share video files on PC/Mac. €300 but more basic models start from €50.
TP-Link Smart LED Light Bulb
Crime goes up in the winter months – burglars just love these dark evenings. If you’re busy working towards year-end make sure your home looks occupied. The TP-Link Smart LED Light Bulb is a Wi-Fi LED bulb with dimmable light – it can be managed remotely if you connect it to your home wi-fi network and download the Kasa app. This lets you manage your lights with your smartphone or tablet, including adjusting brightness, setting schedules and scenes, and tracking energy used. The Kasa app works with Android and iOS devices so you can control your home right from your smartphone or tablet. You can also use Kasa to pair TP-Link smart home products with any Amazon Echo, Dot, Tap and The Google Assistant for voice control, giving you the ability to control your home with voice commands. €36
Look after the most important members of your family even when you have to head out for a bit.
Staywell Infra-red 4-Way Locking Deluxe Cat Flap
You might think a cat-flap doesn’t involve much more technology than a hinge but that’s until your darling pet brings a whole bunch of mates around to hang out in your kitchen. You gotta go high-tech and keep that pet-flap for your very own Very Important Pet. Only pets wearing the special infra-red collar key can use this door. The 4-way lock offers the ultimate in flexibility. Set the door to open, closed, in only or out only. Available in white and wood grain. €96
Motorola Wi-Fi Surveillance Camera for Animals Scout 1
This is a Wi-Fi surveillance camera for your pets, which transforms any device compatible with the internet into a surveillance unit. Use your smartphone, tablet or computer to connect and watch your cat, dog, horse or other animals on your compatible device. Capture the live action and record videos while controlling the camera with pan, tilt and zoom. Infrared night vision allows you to keep an eye on things even in low light and two-way communication keeps you connected so basically you can see your pet wherever you are. However, obviously not intended as a substitute for actually minding your pet. €100