5 top gadgets for September

Olly Mann

Speakers that order your loo roll, anyone? Gadget guru Olly Mann has selected the best gadgets for September 2015.

Amazon Echo, £179

Amazon Echo

A friend smuggled me this product in a suitcase, as it has no UK release date at present. It’s a 360-degree speaker, with no screen and few buttons, controlled  via speech-recognition, answering to the name “Alexa”. So, for example, you can  ask it, “Alexa, who is Olly Mann?” and  it’ll search online to answer your query.  Or—in case you wondered why Amazon invented it— you can ask Alexa to  order you some toilet roll. Or chocolate, or toothbrushes...all charged to your account and delivered without you lifting a finger. An appealing concept.

 

Immerse VR Glasses, £29.95 from Red5

Immerse VR Glasses

These plasticky goggles, reminiscent of the View-Master stereoscopes of my childhood, work with your smartphone to create a virtual reality effect: simply download a VR game from your app store, slide your phone into the glasses and, hey presto, you’re in The Lawnmower Man. That’s the idea, anyway, and while it’s true your phone’s gyroscope will react to the tilting, shaking motions of your head as keenly as any high-budget display, I’m sorry to report the headset itself is uncomfortable. It’s designed for kids, I suppose, but it hurt my nose!

 

Crankmonkey, £99

Crankmonkey

This enables  you to charge your gadgets—even in remote locations where electricity is scarce—just by cranking your hand. Jolly useful for adventurers who are running low on battery and need to check with base-camp or summon the emergency services. But serious wrist-power is required: it takes 20 minutes of cranking to generate enough juice for a ten-minute call.  

 

Android app of the month: Moovit, Free

Movit

So you’ve got your train app,  bus app, Underground app and your GPS: what else could you possibly require? How about one that does it all? Moovit cross-references data from timetables, plus live bus and train availability, and overlays it all on a pedestrian map to plot you a truly step-by-step route from point A to point B, and it works in  over 500 cities.

 

Apple app of the month: Deliveroo, Free

Deliveroo

Bored of getting a takeaway from, er, your local take-away? If you live in one of the 18 British cities where Deliveroo is active, you can order fresh food with a few taps of your phone from upmarket eateries like Cabana, Leon and Ping Pong—and track your driver, Uber-style, as they approach your gaff with the grub. Good news for foodies, but bad news for your local chippie.