Fun toys for big boys and girls
It’s time to log off the Zoom meetings and get down to some serious summer play with these entertaining gadgets
DJI Mavic Air 2, €679, photospecialist.ie.
So, we’ve finally been let free. We’ve flattened the curve, passed the plateau, and we’re coming out the other side, blinking in the summer sun. Lockdown restrictions have been eased, our radius has been widened, and we have the opportunity to log off all those bloody Zoom, Microsoft Teams and GoToMeeting meetings that were a neverending feature of lockdown life. So, we’ll be looking for gadgets geared to playtime rather than work time. It’s time to unplug the workhorses and put them back in the stable – what we want are some fun toys for big boys and girls to play with during the (hopefully) sunny and safe weeks and months ahead.
Ah, the long summer months lie ahead, and you’ve no essential journeys to make – except maybe to get more beers and barbecue coals. Plenty of time to relax at home and listen to your favourite music, but what if you want to bring the listening party outside or to another part of the house? What you need is a good Bluetooth speaker that you can easily move from one place to the other, but can still serve as your main sound delivery unit – and the aptly named Sonos Move could be the perfect sound companion for the job. It’s been hailed as pretty much the best Bluetooth speaker around, and when you bring it out into your back garden, rest assured you’ll be bringing full hi-fi sound along with you.
Jabra Elite Active 75t wireless earbuds
If we get the warm weather we’re hoping for this year, then the only thing you’ll be putting on your head is a light summer hat. You certainly won’t want a big, heavy set of headphones weighing you down and making you feel clammy behind your ears. So now’s the perfect time to invest in a set of wireless earbuds, so you can bring the music with you as you walk, run, do your daily workout, or simply sit in the meadow looking like something from a Hallmark calendar. While Apple’s AirPods are the market leader in wireless earbuds, the Jabra Elite Active 75t earbuds have received rave reviews from the techie publications, which have cited their superior sound, their longer battery life and their sleek, dark looks. Although they beat the AirPod Pro on sound and performance, however, they don’t cancel out noise as effectively as Apple’s flagship bud, but if you don’t mind a few ambient summer noise creeping in, this shouldn’t be a deal-breaker.
Garmin Forerunner 245 Music smartwatch
The Garmin Forerunner 245 Music has been a runaway success with fitness enthusiasts – it’s got all the tech you need to track your heart rate, distance etc, and it’s also got built-in music storage so you can have your favourite tunes right there on your wrist. It boasts up to seven days’ battery life in smartwatch mode, and six hours in GPS and music mode, so you shouldn’t need to keep stopping to charge it up. The Forerunner also supports Garmin Coach, your own pocket training regime that can give you all the data and motivation you need to achieve your PB.
Raymond Weil Freelancer Calibre RW1212
€1,950, Weir & Sons
For those looking for something a little bit more traditional yet up to the minute in their chronographic arm wear, there is the Raymond Weil Freelancer Calibre RW1212. Described as a must-have for any watch collector, the luxury Swiss timepiece features a 42mm stainless steel dial framed by a green satin chapter ring with silver indices and a seconds train on the outside. For those who like to see the magic in the machine, the watch features a visible balance wheel which gives the wearer a view of the internal mechanical movement complete with balance wheel, hairspring and the pallet lever.
DJI Mavic Air 2
When it comes to drone technology, DJI rules the skies at the moment, and its Mavic Air 2 is probably the best and most reliable around. There’s no use skimping on price when buying a drone – those have just basic features, and you’ll just end up with a twisted mess of cheap metal and plastic at the first sign of a summer breeze. The Mavic Air 2 is not cheap, but it’s excellent value for money, and it’s got a better chance than most of surviving the capricious Irish summer. It’s small and light, but also durable, and it’s got front and rear obstacle avoidance, so you don’t need to worry about it coming a cropper against the Spire or the side of a double-decker bus.
The drone has a 4k video camera – not too shabby – which is packed with superior shooting features, including slo-mo 1080p and subject tracking, and it’ll stay up in the air for a good half hour before needing to land and refuel.
Amazon Kindle Oasis
If you’re looking for a luxury e-book reading experience, go for the new Kindle Oasis, Amazon’s top-end reader, with a raft of extra features to ensure you get brought to book in style. The Oasis comes in either a gold or graphite finish, and there’s a nice choice of different-coloured covers to add a touch of class. The 7-inch display features Kindle’s signature E Ink technology that’s easy on the eyes – and, for added eye comfort, there’s an adjustable warm light that brings the display from cool blue-grey to a warmer yellow-orange. And with 32Gb of storage, you’ll have no problem lugging around all those literary doorstops you’ve been meaning to read. Best feature of the Oasis is its excellent water resistance, which means you can comfortably read on the beach, by the pool, in the bath or in the back garden hot tub (you do have a back garden hot tub, don’t you?).