Sunday, 1 March 2015

Brit Tech: Gadgets for the Quintessential Brit

   In an ever-developing, technologically advancing world, one might come to believe that little British traditions, such as a quick gab in the kitchen while the kettle is boiling, are beginning to fade. We've already seen some of the more unusual customs slip into oblivion - though a few enthusiastic individuals still keep up traditions - i.e. maypole dancing (I question the point of this, anyway), bog snorkeling (eww) and wife carrying (...ermmm?), but it's not too late to preserve our current daily rituals that make British life that bit more comfortable and familiar.

   In essence, technology shouldn't be seen as a threat; it's a useful addition to our fast-paced lives, and should be used to our advantage. Just look at the excitingly techy gadgets below, which take the notion of being British to a whole new, futuristic level:

1. The Kettle

   Like most Brits, I don't function before I've had a cup of tea. That milk and one sugar starts the day with a warm, fuzzy feeling, and the little kick of caffeine is just enough to get me through the morning commute. But by spending more time getting ready (read: 'filling in my eyebrows') than I care to admit, I often miss out on my morning cuppa and leave the house feeling rather groggy.

   Enter, iKettle.

   Imagine reaching over to turn off your alarm in the morning to be greeted with the one question that can comfort any Brit: 'Would you like me to pop the kettle on?'. Et voila! With the click of a button, your kettle starts to boil while you're still half asleep brushing your teeth, shaving precious minutes off your morning routine which you can then spend mulling over the dilemma of wearing heels or flats.

Available from, Amazon and Curry's

2. The Watch

   Ever since the smartwatch, as we know it, pushed and shoved its way into our lives back in 2013, we've seen some pretty ugly versions of the product on the tech shelves, i.e. the clunky Samsung Galaxy Gear and the robotic Sony SmartWatch 2. It's like they were too eager to get these products out into the market that they completely forgot that people don't want to look like they've got an electronic tag on their wrist.

   The Brits are a bit of a stylish lot (though they don't like to brag about it), and these fugly wrist-beasts just didn't make the cut. Thank god that LG and Motorola came to the rescue, with watches that cram all the goodness of a smartwatch into the sleek and stylish display of an analogue watch. The Motorola Moto 360 is minimal in its design, and features Android Wear, which provides everything from traffic announcements to a heart rate monitor, whilst the LG G Watch R is slightly more rugged, but packs the same punch in terms of software. 

   2015 will, hopefully, see a whole host of entries into the new class of smartwatches that cater to substance as well as style; however, I would personally love to see some more feminine designs made available.

Available from John Lewis.

3. The Wheel

   Though we don't cycle nearly as much as the Danish - we're ranked 10th in the list of cycle-friendly nations - you can't go to the capital without spotting a Boris bike, or ten. To help us out, Superpedestrian are introducing a handy device which fits onto the back wheel of your bike, and tells you all sorts of information about your journey via your smartphone, such as pollution levels, speed of travel and calories burned. It even stores up energy from your peddling to give you a boost in particularly tricky areas of your route, and gives you the ability to lock and unlock your bike.

   The Copenhagen Wheel may seem like a gadget fit for dedicated cycling enthusiasts and professionals, but I predict that sporting tech is set to become a huge part of our lives in the next few years!

Available to pre-order from Superpedestrian.

4. The Climate Controller

   One topic on all of our lips, whether we're having lunch with our workmates or making small talk at the bus stop, is the weather. Hot, cold, rain or snow, we always have something to talk about when it comes to climate, and we never seem to be content.

   Dyson's latest addition to its range of no-blade fans is the Hot+Cool, an oval shaped machine which heats and cools rooms evenly and effectively. No more dodgy air conditioning or waiting for your heating to kick in, this changes the temperature of the room almost instantly to your selected degree - and it can be changed using a remote control.

   Now there's no excuse for complaining. Apart from when you go outside.

Available from John Lewis, Amazon and Curry's.

5. The Gloves

   Ever heard your phone vibrate and scrambled to find it in your oversized tote, only to find that you're too late? Yeah, I thought so. And it's even more frustrating when you call them back and get their voicemail because they're trying to call you again.

   With Thinkgeek's bluetooth gloves, you can answer your phone and talk - via your hand. The gloves come with a speaker in the thumb and a microphone in the pinky, meaning you'll have to walk around literally talking to the hand. These 'handy' accessories (sorry, I had to) charge over USB and have a talk time of up to 20 hours. They also have a massive range of 40 feet, as well as touchscreen compatible fingertips.

   The downside? Dry-clean only.

Available from Thinkgeek (voucher code for March 2015 available here!)

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