Over the last year we have looked at an awful lot of interesting bits of technology and hardware and we thought that it might be interesting to give you a bit of an update, or a yearly review, of what’s still great and what’s not. Obviously, at the time it’s difficult to assess a device or piece of hardware to see how long it would last in a real working world. Perhaps a glowing review may be cut short as the technology might stop working weeks or months after the review has been published.
So here is a guide to what is still good and what isn’t quite from the Tech Addicts catalogue over the last year.
- AiBird UoPlay is still serving me well. Despite concerns over the Nexus 6P overall size in the cradle, the whole combination delivered middling results. Switching to a small, lighter device, the Honor 8, saw a noticeable increase in performance, the videos produced are fantastic. What was received out of the box is everything needed to be able to produce beautiful Steadicam shots. The company was considerate enough to package enough batteries, chargers and a remote to ensure that I have everything I need. A solid product I am pleased to have.
- The Nonda Zus was a throwaway product I thought I wouldn’t use once my initial feelings had been published. However, it’s still in my car and charges my phone and by passengers phone without issue. I can throw my car location when waiting in a busy car park to someone who is looking for me. I get detailed updates on my car’s battery performance. And I am seeing new features being added by the company. This kind of thing is worth investing in and benefits the driver greatly.
- Once the unboxing of the Lava Brightsounds 2 Bluetooth speaker was completed it disappeared very quickly into my wife’s clutches. It’s safe to say she absolutely adores it. We have no shortage of Bluetooth speakers about the house however the combination of the speaker with the lantern filled her with delight. The speaker is rarely at a distance from her, especially in the evening, when she will read a book by it some soft sounds emitting. She listens to spoken-word content and audio books, and even going as far as organising an indoor pyjama party, campfire affair, for the kids with this providing a centrepiece, reciting scary stories and lullabies.
- The Box Surge Smart may only be 3-way extension cable with 4 USB however this is a beautiful piece of hardware. Looks great and delivers exactly what it says on the tin. As a power strip adaptor, they are usually blandly unexciting, this one gets remarked upon which is unthinkable.
- Easily one of my favourite surprises of the year, the SengLED Boost really turned some heads when we published the unboxing. The idea of a light bulb containing a Wi-Fi repeater is fantastic! I love the idea of joining those two technologies together and the typical position of lightbulb working as a Wi-Fi repeater provides perfect coverage for a room. No cables and on complicated setups. I hope in the future we start to see more of this kind of device and I wouldn’t object to other forms of technology being added, from a Bluetooth speaker to motion sensors. The lightbulb is an untapped source of ingenuity. SengLED has done a great job with this quality piece of hardware.
- This year saw the end of the 3.5-millimetre headphone jack on the iPhone. Many are upset by this manoeuvre however that hasn’t stopped companies from thinking of a decent solution to a problem that is presenting itself to certain people. Plug your headphones into this iTrip Clip from Griffin and the problem goes away. Of course, this is a solution to a problem that some people think shouldn’t exist, but it does and Griffin are there helping. In addition, this provides useful interactions with your phone beyond a regular pair of headphones with an inline microphone and controls. It can be used in the car, on the person or in the office. It’s just a handy piece of kit that many might realise they actually need.
- Before Logitech Silent M330 I carried my MX master with me any time I had to travel. It was annoying having to do so as the mouse is quite heavy and bulky. The Silent Plus is beautifully petite, lasts a long time on one AA battery and crucially it’s silent. No clicking disturb someone sleeping beside you and no clicking to provide background noise on a podcast.
- The Sennheiser HD 650 alongside the apogee groove DAC was a big hit with Paul, so much, so I believe there were tears coming out of his eyes when he had to give them back. Almost all headphones Paul has used since have felt inferior and difficult to judge as once you’ve had a little piece of Heaven it’s hard to go back. Whilst these aren’t as expensive as some other headphones the addition of the DAC makes the HD 650 make for one of the best value for money combinations you can find on the market today.
- When it comes to cheap and cheerful headphones, the Choetech Wireless Bluetooth Headphones retail for a whopping £23 on Amazon, however, the experience they deliver is second to none. It is hard to find better value for money when it comes to wireless Bluetooth headphones than these. It doesn’t just stop at sound quality, build quality is pretty good, battery life is impressive and even some waterproofing technology has been thrown in for good measure. Adding multipoint Bluetooth technology to allow you to connect to multiple devices is the icing on the cake. Right now we would say that these are probably the best stocking fillers anyone could ask for.
So what didn’t last, what were we not enamoured with, and what was just straight up bad? These are some products to stay away from:
- The LED melody speaker and LED light. I guess you shouldn’t really trust a product without a proper name. This was reviewed by Peter and seemed to be unique and fun idea whereby you could have a light bulb with a Bluetooth speaker inbuilt. There is a variety of colours available to jazz up any party. In reality, the light bulb was turned on, played with for a few mins, then blew up and fused the house. Peter was at a bit of a loss as to what to write as he barely got enough time to do any testing whatsoever.
- The Charge Pit. To be honest I’m using this every day and it does work somewhat. The Charge Pit relieves you of the tangle of wires at the side of the bed, like so many others, however, the idea of having to push the wires back through the holes has led to wires fraying with unnecessary Force being applied. Most importantly is the price, it’s a plastic toast rack with a multi-USB charger hidden inside. There’s little in the way of ingenuity here and honestly, it’s quite large and unsightly. There are better, cheaper options on the market
- The Dolcer Aluminium Bluetooth Speaker. I had so many high hopes for this it looks beautiful. An aluminium panel surrounds a 5200mAh battery that can charge your phone alongside delivering the tunes. A month after doing the unboxing one of the two speakers popped and the control panel on top stopped working altogether. It was a great shame because the speaker was decent. This was easily the biggest disappointment of the year.