The best new gadgets for 2017

Olly Mann 

Get in the know about all the latest technology for the new year with Olly Mann's January gadget round up. 

Master And Dynamic MH40 Over-Ear Headphones 


Remember when fifty quid headphones were considered suitable for daily use, and iTunes was promoted with dancing silhouettes, all wearing the earphones that came free with iPod? No longer. As our phones and tablets evolve into generic black rectangles, headphones have become a favourite way to express style and attitude. 

New York’s Master and Dynamic are targeting a sophisticated clientele: the MH40’s brown leather frame recalls louche 1970s lounge furniture; while the silver metal rim is reminiscent of high-end hi-fi stacks from a decade later. 

They’re comfortable, sound great, and with detachable, replaceable parts, are built to last.


Kano Computer Kit


Much was made of Raspberry Pi, the credit-card-sized computer designed to teach kids computer science. But coding computers isn’t something you quickly pick up on a Sunday afternoon - it requires a lot of time and dedication, something parents typically do not have. 

That's where Kano come in: their colourful, step-by-step kits are fun for adults and children to assemble together, so that, in a Lego-style process, you can put together your own Raspberry Pi-powered computer, which can plug into your television, in just a few hours. 

Then, hopefully, your child’s imagination will be fired up to combat the next stage themselves, as they’ll learn to program classic games like Minecraft, Snake and Pong.


Alcosense Excel


Drink-driving has been illegal for decades, and has more recently become taboo. But ‘the morning after’ is a grey area: like many, I’ve foolishly driven out for a fry-up on New Year’s Day, unsure if I’m technically still under the influence. 

This battery-powered gadget offers peace of mind: just slide up the cover, breathe into the detachable tube and it gives you an instant, accurate reading, and also displays a clear Do Not Drive icon if you’re over the limit. 

Disappointingly, a glovebox-friendly travel case is not included, but that’s my only gripe: this is a hundred quid well spent.


iOS app of the month: Workflow


This clever app lets you create shortcuts (‘workflows’) for your most common sequences of iPhone commands, so you can perform them with a single tap. So, you can put a widget on your homepage which can, for instance, select your latest photo and upload it to Instagram; or share your location with a friend via a text message; or draft an email to your most regular contact. 

Setting up new workflows is fiddly, but there are dozens of presets to choose from and, once installed, they save a lot of time.


Android app of the month: Hooked

£2.29 per week

This is a mad idea, but it works: a collection of episodic novels, delivered not in serialised chapters or even by the paragraph, but in message-length chunks of conversation. 

Tense thrillers and ghost stories, entirely written in the style of text message chats between two or more people, revealing themselves line by line as the reader presses ‘next’, are unlikely to trouble the Booker prize jury. But the stories are compelling - indeed, they need to be, to keep readers renewing their subscriptions. 

A great way to get teens into reading, and an innovative use of the platform.

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