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Spring loaded

The latest gadgets, gizmos and gear for 2018

 

The long drawn-out winter has finally ended, and we’re ready to stock up again for the new season. Time to fill the fridge with spring vegetables and salad items and replenish your wardrobe with the new spring fashions. And it’s also time to revamp your tech with some of the latest gadgets, gizmos and gear for 2018.

DJI Spark mini-drone

€499 at Harvey Norman

Drones are everywhere this year – so much so they’re going to need their own air traffic control towers. They’re getting smaller and easier to operate, too. The DJI Spark is a mini-drone that’s designed to really let your creativity fly. It’s got a range of intelligent flight control options, and a powerful camera with excellent range. It’s also intuitive, recognising your face and responding to hand gestures. Bring it along on your next family activity holiday or team-building work trip, and seriously capture the moments.

Amazon Echo 2nd Generation

£74 from Amazon.co.uk

This is the year of the digital assistant, as everybody rushes out to get a robotic helper in the home. And they’re all rushing to one name in particular – Alexa. And with the new Amazon Echo 2nd Generation smart speaker, which came out at the end of 2017, Alexa is becoming even more embedded in our lives. It’s smaller, more powerful, and comes in a range of designs to fit in with your home decor. Alexa has also added to her range of skills, which include playing your music, telling you the weather, ordering you a taxi, turning on your lights and heating, and of course reminding you of your wife’s name.

Nokia 8110 Banana Phone

€79, available in May

Every year, it seems the world is waiting in fevered anticipation for the arrival of the latest iteration of the iPhone or Samsung Galaxy. But this year has been eerily quiet on the smartphone front. Are the big phone firms preparing to unleash an amazing new phone on an unsuspecting public, or are they running out of whizz-bang new features to tempt punters to fork out another grand for the latest model?

Whatever the reason, it looks like this is the year to stick with your 2017 iPhone X or Galaxy S9. But if you’re still feeling the need to buy something, maybe now is the time to get a feature phone and impress your friends with your retro credentials.

This year, Nokia is relaunching its iconic 8110 banana phone, the one Keanu Reeves used in The Matrix 20 years ago, and nostalgia levels have already gone through the roof over this one. As its nickname suggests, it’s curved like a banana, with a slider, and comes in yellow as well as black. It’s got all the basic clunky old features to bring you right back to the ’90s, but it does have the Snake game, and it lets you go on the internet and on Facebook. It also boasts a whopping 25-day battery life on standby, so when your smartphone (inevitably) runs out of juice, this will keep you hooked up to the matrix.

Samsung’s The Wall TV

Available August

Remember that scene in Crocodile Dundee with the knife-wielding mugger? “That’s not a knife,” snorts Dundee. “Now this is a knife,” he announces, bringing out his own fearsome-looking blade, and sending his would-be assailant fleeing. This is probably close to the feeling you’ll get when you install Samsung’s new The Wall TV in your house: “Now that’s a TV.”

The Wall is a massive 146in micro-LED screen that will dwarf every other TV in your neighbourhood – in fact, it might even dwarf the entire neighbourhood itself. You’ll have to wait until August before it’s squeezed into the shops, but that will give you enough time to clear a (very) large wall space in your home and maybe put in a few cinema seats while you’re at it.