6 Gadgets to kick start your summer

BY Olly Mann

1st Jan 2015 Technology

6 Gadgets to kick start your summer

Our very own Inspector Gadget, Olly Mann, is back with his favourite June gadgets, including an unbeatably smart mood light and the perfect selfie capturing camera phone. 

LIFX Smart colour light bulb


LIFX smart bulb

It's quite a strange experience connecting a light bulb to the wi-fi. It flickers slightly as it searches for a connection and then when it's connected it asserts itself as the best light bulb you may ever own. Taking the dimmer switch to a souped up new level, the LIFX bulb is controlled through a smartphone app and you can then set it to any colour on the spectrum.

It has a setting for the usual yellow-y bulb tone, but perhaps you'd prefer a daylight tone, or maybe a delicious red for a bit of romance.

This bulb comes entirely into its own when you use one of its presets. It responds to music and voices for mesmerising disco lights, and there's a brilliant strobe light setting, which is perhaps most fun to activate when you have left some unsuspecting guests in the living room.


Huawei P9

£449 or free with contract

huaweii p9

The Chinese telecoms giant (pronounced “wah-whey”) aren’t a household name here, but have gained a reputation for “good for the price” handsets. For the premium P9, they’ve teamed up with photo brand Leica to craft the camera app.

The result is two rear lenses—one colour, one monochrome—capturing depth and detail, and a front-facing lens for “beauty selfies”. The quality impresses; the rest of the phone doesn’t dazzle but is, indeed, good for the price.






As a student, I used tea lights and fairy lights to illuminate most rooms in my house, partly because I wanted it to look like the video for “Dancing in the Moonlight”, and partly because we weren’t great at keeping up with our electricity bill.

Now I can recreate that look wherever I want, thanks to this rechargeable, waterproof flexible strip of LED lights that magnetically attaches to any steel surface. A good solution for music festivals, it can be looped in a carry-bag to guide you to the loo, then hooked to your tent to illuminate the camp.



Toast phone covers

From $29

wooden phone case

Is your phone made of wood?’ is a patently ludicrous question, yet one I’ve been asked daily since wrapping my iPhone in an “ebony Chevron” cover from Oregon-based company Toast.

Their delectable cases are made from real wood veneers, engraved and cut by laser in a range of distinctive designs, and arrive in the post flat-packed. The wood clings on with a powerful adhesive, so there’s no clunky plastic, but it cannot be reapplied once removed—so look elsewhere if you’re the kind to swap covers along with your moods. 



Apple app: Roger



WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger have offered the option of sending voicemails for free, but it hasn’t caught on. Yet I find much to admire in this “walkie-talkie app”, not least that it shares a name with my GCSE geography teacher.

Roger provides a big red button, you push it to record a message, then share with your chosen contacts—they needn’t have even downloaded the app.



Android app: Sprightly



If you run a small business, you’ll know that standing out on social media can be a struggle. This neat app from Microsoft is here to help: it seamlessly generates mobile postcards, flyers, and e-cards from your phone.

So montage together three shots of a product, your logo and contact details, and tap to share on Twitter. A great concept limited only by a small selection of templates.


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