This month, Olly Mann draws inspiration from the past for his favourite gadgets of the present
Technology doesn’t need to look new to be new. Get on-board with the retro trend with these backwards-looking, forwards-thinking gadgets.
Wake up happy
Convenient coffee capsules and beans-to-cup espresso makers grab the limelight, but for my money the best home-brewed coffee is still from a traditional drip filter, and Technivorm-Moccamaster (£210-£299) is King of Machines. Hand-assembled in the Netherlands since 1964, mine’s mustard yellow—but they also do apple green, neon orange, soft pink… basically, the colour palette of Cadillac dreams. Individual heating elements maintain optimum brewing and hotplate temperatures, and it’s speedy as hell: ten cups in six minutes.
The retro gaming trend refuses to die, as 30 and 40-somethings relive their youth. Some simply plug-in Nintendo re-issues; others go as far as restoring full-size vintage arcades. But what if you never threw away your old games in the first place? If you’ve got a loft stuffed with Sega Mega Drive cartridges, or a drawer of original PlayStation discs, consider investing in a Polymega Modular Gaming Console (base unit £195, modules £47). It can handle titles from all the classic systems, many of which can now be snapped up cheaply on eBay. It comes with a slick wireless gaming controller, and lets you back up your games to its internal memory.
Shake it like a Polaroid picture!
The digital revolution killed the market for film-based photography at the turn of the century—but make-up artists and hipsters continued buying instant cameras, so Polaroid started making them again. Inspired by the 1977 original, Polaroid Originals One Step 2 (£179) includes a rechargeable battery, a timer function for group shots, and is compatible with a range of different films, so you can tint your prints with purples, pinks and teals, just like an Instagram filter. Sadly, the film remains insanely expensive: £17.99 buys you just eight snaps.
Get on down
Looking vaguely like a vintage Olympus camera, the Geneva Touring/XS (£135) is actually a cracking Bluetooth speaker, with two front-facing active drivers and a 20-hour battery life. The Swiss-engineered retro casing is its secret weapon: the metal volume dial recalling the tuning wheel of a 1960s portable radio; the timeless leather finish adding a dash of 1980s Filofax couture. At just 17cm, it can travel pretty much anywhere and adds a touch of class to any hotel room.
You can find the Geneva Touring A200B radio/speaker on Amazon.
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