What do robots, car seats and typewriters have in common? They all make up our top five apps and gadgets for October, and provide a little help around the house. Reviewed by Olly Mann, LBC presenter and host of hilarious podcast Answer Me This!

This Month's Must HAves

Henry Hoover meets Robocop: iRobot Roomba 880, £649.99

Unlike my previous smiley-faced Henry vacuum cleaner, who followed me around like a dustsucking Thomas the Tank Engine, the Roomba 880 is more like Robocop: an entirely autonomous robot with no endearing human features, on a mission to terminate cat hair from the carpet. It’s smart enough to return to its docking station when it needs a charge and aware enough not to fall down the stairs—the convenience justifies the cost.
You can find the Roomba at John Lewis.

iRobot Roomba 880
 

From Car to Cradle: Doona car seat and stroller, £299

Parents these days equip themselves for a trip to the supermarket with more luggage than Elizabeth Taylor. One solution to cut back on the bulk is this novel car seat, which converts to a buggy at the touch of a button. Not necessarily hands free, but it definitely frees up your hands! So no need to wake a sleeping baby to transfer them from stroller to car. 

However, soon enough you’ll need to buy a separate car seat, as the Doona is only for kids up to 18 months.
You can find the Doona at Mammas and Pappas.

Doona Car Seat and Stroller

 

Wireless Workouts: Plantronics Backbeat FIT Headphones, £85

The Backbeat FIT in-ear headphones are designed specifically for sports: covered in a nanocoating to repel sweat and rain, and entirely wireless (they connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth, so you can’t accidentally cut off your music with an athletic thrust of your arm). They take calls too—controls for which are located on the earpieces—and sound quality is strong.
You can find Backbeat FIT Headphones at Selfridges

Plantronics Backbeat FIT Headphones

APPs OF THE MONTH

Android App of the Month

Echo 112, free

Echo 112

When an emergency happens in Britain, we all know the number to call: it’s been drummed into us through countless primary school presentations and, erm, Michael Buerk. But if you’re stuck up a mountain abroad, you’ll appreciate that 999 isn’t universal. This app provides a giant red SOS button with which to contact immediately the local emergency services, wherever you are in the world, and will even text them your location.
Available from Google Play.

Apple App of the Month

Hanx Writer, free

Hanx Writer

As well as winning Oscars and being regarded as Hollywood’s nice guy, Tom Hanks develops apps in his spare time. This one went straight to the top of the App Store chart and has one simple, yet essentially pointless purpose: to transform your iPad keyboard into an old-fashioned typewriter, complete with clicketyclack sound effects. Yes, it’s just a gimmick, but it’s a good gimmick.
Available from iTunes.

Read more articles by Olly Mann here

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