Entertainment gadgets: life on a screen

Olly Mann 30 November -0001

Whether it's squeezing out a selfie, streaming Centre Court or download your driving routes, here's how the latest gadgets can enhance your day.

Philips ADR 810 Dashcam, £139

Only rarely do I drive a route I’d want to relive on my TV screen. Highway 1 in California. The approach into Keswick as the Lakes come into view. Sure. My commute to Borehamwood? Not so much. However, dashcams—previously the preserve of petrol-heads and professional drivers—are becoming increasingly mainstream and this one features an HDMI connection, so that you can review your journey on the big screen. The real benefit, of course, is proving your innocence if you’re involved in a collision, at which point the device auto-saves relevant footage. There’s no GPS or wi-fi, as there are on comparable products, but no doubt the trusted Philips brand will encourage even more consumers to dabble.


HTC U11, £649

For some time, smartphones have been evolving into indistinguishable black rectangles—but now physical differentiation is back in vogue, with Samsung’s curved displays and rumours of an upcoming all-glass iPhone. HTC have put pressure sensors on their latest blower, introducing squeezability. Want to take a selfie? Squeeze the sides to activate the camera. Want to focus? Squeeze again. Our natural instincts are to squeeze as well as stroke and tap, so it’s satisfying to use and there’s less faff than standard swiping. The phone’s finish is also eye-catching: it’s available in a glossy red or blue. Captain America will be pleased.


B&O Play Beolit 17, £449

What do you look for in a Bluetooth speaker? If it’s portability and waterresistance, look elsewhere: this 360- degree boombox isn’t weather-proof and, though the tactile leather strap makes it convenient to lug about, at a hefty 5.7lb you won’t exactly be hanging it from your belt. But, if your priorities are battery life and audio quality, I’ve never tested better: it sounds stunning and plays for 24 hours on one charge. Considering the premium price tag, it looks a little rubbery, and there’s no built-in mic for taking a call if someone rings while you’re listening—but it’s elegantly designed, intuitive and powerful.


Apple app of the month: Wimbledon 2017, free 

Whether you’re on the edge of your seat at Centre Court, or following along at home with a glass of something cold, this app is a great way to deepen your tennis experience. Filter matches by players, style of event or nationality, watch news and videos from The Wimbledon Channel, and peruse live data from IBM’s team of statistical analysts.


Android app of the month: Zone V, £39.99 or £1.99 monthly 

The surprise rebirth of the Nokia 3310 has proven that simplicity still sells. Now one of that iconic phone’s designers is making Samsung Galaxy phones more accessible to elderly and visually impaired users. Zone V is essentially a “skin” that sits atop the standard Android software and makes the menus shorter, text larger and colours easier on the eye. A worthwhile attempt to woo over the last of the digital refuseniks.


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