T3 Awards 2017 together with Three: Best smart home gadgets

The T3 Awards, or the Oscars of Tech, as many call them – are now in their 11th year, and bigger than ever. Literally, in fact, as we have added a number of new categories this year to reflect the changing face of tech.

This year, in the T3 Awards Together With Three, we also have Awards for specific categories of connected home gear but this is the award for the Best of the Best in smart home, across all categories. It’s the kit that most improves your home life, or at least leaves visiting friends and relatives greenest with envy.

From Wi-Fi connected cameras which keep your home safe, to virtual assistant speakers that you can ask to dim your lights, play music and tell you jokes – you really can’t say you live in a smart home until you’ve been disappointed by one of Alexa’s jokes – these aren’t just smart home gadgets, they’re smartest home gadgets.

Amazon Echo

Perhaps the biggest name in the smart home right now, meet the Amazon Echo and digital assistant Alexa. Alexa allows simplistic but reliable voice control, for everything from checking the weather to controlling your smart lighting.

What’s more useful, however, is that it works across previously disparate gizmos. You see, the worst element of the supposedly ‘connected’ home is that products from rival brands all required their own apps. No longer: Alexa is uniting them.

It also makes a wonderful DJ and kitchen timer, and don’t forget its cheap baby bro, Echo Dot – perhaps the best bargain in the connected home field.

Bosch Smart Home and Home Connect

Homeware mega brand Bosch is looking to smarten up your home and turn it into an intelligently networked fortress with its sleek range of smart home products.

The German behemoth certainly hasn’t entered the segment half-arsed, offering everything from window and door sensors, and interior and exterior security cameras to smart smoke alarms, and air quality sensors.

The Smart Home Controller and Home Connect app tie everything neatly together; for instance, as well as alerting you by phone when a camera detects movement, it also lets you trigger the smoke alarm (or multiple smoke alarms) as a burglar alarm. Now that is smart.

Google Home

Google Home is the OTHER smart home assistant in town, arriving a little later Alexa but none the worse for that.

Aimed perhaps slightly more as a learning tool than Echo, Home is on hand to answer just about any question, via Google search.

You can also have it play music, access news headlines and calendars, but unlike Echo, Home can recognise not one but two users by their voices, replying with user-specific information.

Hive Home (starter pack)

Perhaps the easiest way into a smart home is buying a starter kit, and one of the best out there is from Hive Home. This little bundle of tech comes with a window/door sensor, a motion sensor, smart plug and smart bulb. It’ll get you up and running in no time.

They’re really quite attractive as these things go, and, obviously, all compatible with each other, as well as Alexa, allowing you to set up automatic recipes.

Interestingly, Hive will also lease the products to you on a cheap, monthly basis, adding help with setup and provide 24/7 customer service. That’s a handy innovation for the less tech savvy, even if it’s probably not required by a clued-up punter such as yourself, sir/madam.

  • Best smart plugs
  • Best smart sensor


This may not yet be the most widespread smart home product (though it is certainly the hardest to spell) but Trådfri will surely be the smart home gateway drug for millions

Taking its usual approach to pricing, Swedish purveyor of flat-pack meatballs Ikea has undercut the competition with this Smart Lighting collection, which includes energy-efficient LED bulbs, lighting panels and doors, all managed through an old-fashioned remote control.

An app is also available to help you design and personalise your home lighting setup.

Netgear Arlo Pro

Netgear Arlo is one of the first and only completely wireless smart home security camera systems. As there are no wires you can position the cameras anywhere you’d like, including outdoors, as they’re also waterproof.

Night vision and motion detection capabilities are included. This year’s upgrades include a new, rechargeable battery, two-way audio communication, and a 100-decibel siren for discouraging potential intruders.

How the winners are chosen

Most of the winners – including this category – are decided by the T3.com and T3 magazine teams, aided by a panel of expert judges from the tech biz.

Our Awards for the people who have shaped tech this year and throughout its history, are awarded by the T3.com and T3 magazine teams.

On the following key categories YOU get to vote:  Gadget Of The Year, Brand Of The Year, Retailer Of The Year and Phone of the Year.


Gadgets & Gizmos: Not An Idiot Box

If you’re shopping for the best TV tech these days, you’re probably going to have to pick between OLED and QLED. OLED TV panels are insanely thin, some even wallpaper-like, and offer uncompromised contrast levels, but they come with a price tag as large as the TV itself! Samsung’s rival QLED tech, on the other hand, claims to deliver significantly brighter, more vibrant and diverse colours than OLED rivals, at comparatively more affordable price points…but does it deliver? I put Samsung’s claims through its paces with their latest Q8C 55-inch QLED TV and, after weeks of Netflix bingeing, this is my considered take.

Out of the box, you can either wall-mount the curved Q8C or place it on its silver desktop stand that matches the shape of the screen with a gentle curve of its own. With a near bezel-less design, the design places the large 55-inch display front and centre, no distractions. Around the rear, there are no ports, and all connections are to be found on an external ‘One Connect’ box. The box can be hidden away inside your TV cabinet and allows easy access to ports which would otherwise be hidden behind the TV. Since it attaches to the screen via a 5mm thin, transparent cable, the whole setup looks rather cable-free…if you can manage to hide the power cable, that is!

Setting up the Q8C is easy, more so if you have a Samsung smartphone handy. The included One Remote is worth a special mention — not only is it the sleekest all-metal remote I’ve seen yet, but it also automatically detects what device has been connected to what port, and lets you use the remote to control those devices as well (via Bluetooth or infrared). The Amazon Fire TV stick and the Apple TV were set up without any intervention, and the Airtel DTH connection took just a couple of tries before it got going. One Remote to rule them all, finally! Samsung’s Tizen OS-based Smart Hub is where you see all your inputs and change settings, and the interface feels fluid and easy to navigate, like it’s been designed ground-up to use with the remote. You get built-in apps for popular streaming services but to be fair, the number of apps for Tizen OS are limited when you compare to the Android TV platform.

Then again, I’m willing to overlook the lack of apps when the TV performs as well as this one does. Between its support for 4K resolution and High Dynamic Range content, the Q8C is sorted for practically any content you can find to play back on streaming services, and while 4K HDR content availability is rather limited, the few 4K TV episodes I played back wowed in terms of detail, jitter-free motion and realistic colours. Peak brightness levels were high enough to induce some amount of squinting and left me scrambling to pick a more muted picture mode when watching in the dark, and a trained eye may find the colours have that mildly exaggerated pop that Samsung is known for. 4K aside, even upscaled standard and full-HD content fared well, so long as you don’t sit too close, and sound is decent for a big TV. At its price, the Q8C isn’t exactly cheap, but you’re investing in a top-notch and future-proof TV (with an immersive curved screen as a bonus) that’s suitably ‘out there’ to justify its price tag.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors’ and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


Demand for security gadgets shoots up after trader’s murder

Taking no chances: CC cameras on display at a shop in Visakhapatnam .   | Photo Credit: C.V.Subrahmanyam

 Enquiries pouring in from residents, says a shop owner

Post the sensational murder of businessman Vikram Dhamija and attack on his wife and his driver at their apartment on Beach Road area, there is sharp increase in footfalls at the firms selling security gadgets and security agencies.

The businessman was attacked last Monday afternoon by six hired assailants from Jharkhand, who were given the contract to extort money from the deceased by manager of the apartment Ch. Satyanarayana Murthy. Though Murthy and two others have been arrested, the gang of Jharkhand is yet to be caught. But the murder has created panic among residents, especially in the posh localitiess, and a number of them have approached the security firms to install different types of security gadgets in their complex.

Ms. Sujatha, owner of a firm selling the gadgets, said the business has improved over the last two years, as awareness among the people have increased, but in the last one week after the murder of the businessman, it has shot up by about 40 %.

Apart from CC (close circuit) cameras other gadgets such as video calling bell and video phones are on demand and as the enquiries have suddenly shot up there is a shortage in the market, as of now, she said.

The CC cameras available in the market are basically are of two varieties: the HD (high definition) version and the IP (Internet protocol) version. While in the case of HD cameras the cost varies from ₹ 2000 to ₹ 15000 per camera, in the case of IP cameras in ranges from ₹ 3000 to ₹ 20,000.

According to Mr. Srinivas, who has been dealing with security gadgets for the last one decade, the cameras come in a pack of four and they multiply by four, as the recorders support a minimum of four cameras and again multiplies by four.

A basic set of four in the case of the HD variety may range from ₹ 10,000 to ₹ 22,000 and for IP it may range from ₹ 15,000 to ₹ 30,000, said Ms. Sujatha. Coming to the memory the basic four-camera HD version has a memory of 1 TB (terabyte) with a capacity to store for 25 days, in case of IP it is TB for 10 days.

But both security gadget sellers said a lot depends on the positioning of the cameras. “Apart from positioning, the lighting factor in the cellar or corridors should also be considered,” said Mr. Srinivas.

DCP (Law and Order) K. Fakeerappa said it is high time that people realise the security aspect and abide by the AP Public Safety Act-2013, the implementation of which is still a long way to go.

The security agencies that supply security guards also have been receiving unprecedented enquiries in the last few days. “We have been receiving fresh enquiries as well as from our old customers, who are demanding new and young guards,” said a owner of a security agency.


The top 5 tech gadgets college students really want

Student tech devices

As summer winds down and college students ponder the return to classes, it’s time to consider what to bring to school this fall. No surprise, trendy tech gadgets often tops the list. CNBC has assembled a brief guide to the hottest choices.

However, buyer (that’s you, parents) beware: If you snatch up everything on this list, it could set you back some big bucks. To knock down the cost, always ask if you can get a student discount. Apple offers education pricing, Amazon Prime membership for students is half-price and the online giant is frequently offering deals. If you’re purchasing these items through a traditional electronics store, such as Best Buy or Radio Shack, check if they offer student discounts.

1. Wearable tech

Say goodbye to the old alarm clock. Students want an up-to-date way to keep track of classes, clubs, extracurricular activities and social events. Wearable tech, like the AppleWatch, can help you stay on top of your agenda with calendar alerts, reminders and email notifications — and it’s a lot more discreet to peek down at your watch in class than at your phone, which an eagle-eyed professor can spot a mile away. Meanwhile, a fitness tracker, like the Fitbit, can be a great way to fight off the “Freshmen Fifteen.” The Fitbit ranges from $60 to $250; the Apple Watch will set you back $250 to well over $1,000.

A runner wearing a Fitbit.

Source: Fitbit
A runner wearing a Fitbit.

2. Noise-canceling, wireless headphones

Noise-canceling headphones can help you study in a loud, crowded space or drown out that annoying roommate, who insists on playing the “Hamilton” soundtrack on repeat. Wireless headphones have also gained popularity ever since Apple ditched the headphone jack on the iPhone 7. Student-athletes can especially benefit from wireless earphones. No more having to hold your phone in your hand while jogging, or wear one of those uncomfortable and geeky-looking arm bands. And you don’t have to worry about ripping your earbuds out every time you do a crunch or a back squat. Some brands we like are Beats, JLab, Sennheiser, Bose and audio-technica. The average price range for wireless, noise-canceling headphones is $80 to $300 depending on sound quality.

A pair of Beats by Dr. Dre Solo wireless headphones sit on display next to a new iPhone 7 smartphone.

Chris Ratcliffe | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A pair of Beats by Dr. Dre Solo wireless headphones sit on display next to a new iPhone 7 smartphone.

3. Wireless speakers

If you’re ever planning on hosting friends in your dorm or apartment, you need to be able to supply the music with a good speaker. Going wireless is a no-brainer because the speaker is portable and you don’t have to keep your phone or computer plugged into it. iHome, Logitech and JBL are all good options. Some JBL speakers are even waterproof — great for students in the South or California who frequent beach or pool parties. Wireless speakers range from $35 to $150.

JBL Pulse

Source: JBL
JBL Pulse

4. Portable phone charger

There’s nothing more annoying than running out of battery mid-text in a conversation. So consider buying a portable phone charger, or a phone case with a built-in charger. Moshi’s IonBank is a stylish option, with its faux “vegan” leather covering. You also can’t go wrong with RAVPower, Jackery or Anker. These portable chargers, starting at around $20, are among the cheapest gadgets on the list.

RavPower portable charger.

Source: RavPower
RavPower portable charger.

5. TV streaming sticks

No cable? No problem. Cut the cord and stream your TV through a pocket-sized, plug-and-play streaming stick that connects to your TV. The Amazon Fire stick and the Roku streaming stick are widely considered to be the best options. But beware: These devices usually cannot connect to your computers, only a TV or monitor. If you’re having trouble watching live TV from your computer, just plug in your parents’ cable account information (completely legal) into any network’s site to watch live TV. The Amazon and Roku streaming sticks sell for $40.


Gadgets for your freelance working desk

The workplace scenario across the globe has been changing at a rapid pace over the years. Remote work increases our work productivity and lowers stress level. In fact, it helps us to have a proper work-life balance which is what boosts our motivation. So, today we are up for a list of gadgets and everyday accessories for all the remote workers out there


Everyone has its favorite work drink. While you do you freelance projects on your desk you probably like to be accompanied by cup of coffee or glass of tea or something else. You’d say it already is easy enough with the electric kettles but think again. There is a wi-fi Kettle called iKettle and you can boil water with your smart phone. The iKettle can even wake you up and ask you if you want her to boil water for you. Just answer with yes or no, and your home office will reach new lever of cuteness.


Stack is a light bulb which can adjust the lightning in your home or you working space with few taps on your smart phone. No matter what’s the time and how the weather outside changes, the light in home will be automatically adjusted with your preferences. Stack will keep you comfortable with the light while you do freelance work and at the same time will respond to your moods.

 Z Pen

Z Pen is like a gift from the future. It’s a gadget that is so cool that it’s hard to believe that you can have it from the internet. Have you ever imagined of writing things down by hand and then downloading what your wrote as a data on your laptop? We know you did. Now you can do that with Z Pen for real.

Lap Desk

When you’re at home working, you probably like to move around.  You might go from your desk to your bed to your couch and then back to your bed again. And there’s nothing wrong with that.  But if you’re going to move from place to place, then you need a feasible way to prop up that laptop of yours.  A LapDesk from iSkelter is a great way to do this.  Some of their models have a place for your mouse, a spot for your phone, and even a whiteboard to write on.

 Monitor Stand

When it comes to your actual desktop, this needs to be propped up just like your laptop does.  If we’re thinking ergonomically here, then it should be at or around eye-level to keep your body content.  These come in all shapes, colors, and prices, but this one from Grovemade is aesthetically pleasing and not too pricey.

Wi-Fi Printer

A printer is always a must.  But these days, you need one that’s Wi-Fi connected, fast to print, and easy to use like the HP Color LaserJet Pro M252dw, which landed a rating of four stars from PC Magazine.  Print documents from any connected device and benefit from cost-effective printing technology.


Top 7 space saving gadgets

Top 7 space saving gadgets

One of the common issues faced by users is lack of space to place all their gadgets. Thankfully brands have taken notice and launched compact devices across categories. Karan Bajaj gives you a list of devices to consider if you are short on space.

HP Deskjet Ink Advantage 3700 Rs 5,999

This is the world’s smallest inkjet all-in-one printer. Weighing just 2.3kg, it is almost half the size in comparison with other available all-in-one printers. Even though it is compact in size, the Ink Advantage 3700 can print up to 15 A4 size colour pages per minute and scan at up to 1200dpi resolution. It also has built-in WiFi to print wirelessly from smartphonetablet.

Asus ZenScreen Rs 37,000

ZenScreen is a sleek and portable 15.6-inch (1920 x 1080 pixels) monitor from Asus. It is 8mm slim, weighs 780 grams and comes with a foldable smart case that converts into a stand for it. For connectivity, it only has a single USB Type-c port and can be connected with any device with a type-c port -there is even support for connection via a USB type-A port via additional drivers.You can place it vertically or horizontally depending on requirements (it has auto-screen rotation).

Stick PC Rs 7,299 onwards

Stick PC are available from iBall, Lenovo and even directly from Intel in India. They are direct HDMI dongles with basic hardware (Atom processor, 2GB RAM, 32GB storage) and preloaded Windows OS -ideal for users who want an occasional basic PC but do not want to invest in a large CPU monitor. The stick PC can be connected to any TVmonitor via HDMI and it has built-in WiFi to connect to the Internet.There is also a full-size USB port to connect dongle for wireless mouse and keyboard as well as microSD card slot for storage expansion.

Amazon Fire TV Stick Rs 3,999 onwards

The Fire Stick is an HDMI dongle style media streaming stick. It can be plugged to any screen (TVmonitor) with HDMI port ­ you just need to connect it to WiFi and it offers the user access to various streaming services including Amazon prime, HotStar, Netflix etc. There is a remote control included with voice control for ease of usage. This one device offers access to thousands of movies, TV series and other online content (some service require a paid subscription).

Mi Router 3c Rs 1,199

The recently launched WiFi router from Xiaomi has a tapered design which makes it sleek compared to routers we have seen from other brands up till now. The router has 4 antennas to provide superior range and 64MB RAM -this enables you to connect up to 64 devices simultaneously. The router supports WiFi n and comes with two Ethernet ports to connect devices via wire if required.You can setup and control the router easily via the Mi Home app.

Pocket Portable Pico Projector Rs 5,000 onwards

Pocket projectors are great for use in confined spaces. They can project image as large as 100-inches and do not require a lot of area to be placed. Most entry level projectors offer a resolution of 640 x 480 pixels or 800 x 480 pixels -this will not give you the best clarity, but will get the job done in a small size room.

Features vary depending on the brand you choose -you can get options of built-in battery, HDMI, MHL port, built-in speaker, WiFi, USB port etc.

Bluetooth speaker Rs 1,399 onwards

Wireless speakers have shrunk in size you can get Bluetooth speakers that fit on the palm of your hand and still deliver great audio.

There are plethora of options available to day to choose from and some of them are even rugged (shockproof and waterproof).

Almost all Bluetooth speakers have built-in battery that will last several hours. In addition, some speakers come with built-in microphones to receive voice calls while some even come with LED lighting.


Kitchen gadgets review: Brewbarrel – bewitched by home-made beer

Something wicked this way comes: Rhik falls under the Brewbarrel’s spell. Photograph: Jill Mead for the Guardian


Brewbarrel (from £29) is a fermenting barrel, hosting the chemical breakdown of barley sugar into alcohol and gas, with pressure valve and integrated tap.


Nice to put your feet up and have a brew. Meaning 1.1 gallons (5 litres) of beer.


In my infinite, nearly mythical ignorance, I used to think beer was a masculine thing. Bad-choice juice for stag oafs, or wannabe country squires. Then I dipped a toe into the waters of homebrewing, and discovered an occultist world of meads, braggots and debates over whether to mix honey at the flameout or whirlpool. One forum user recommends “fenugreek is added during the boil phase while creating the wort”. Homebrewing, then, is clearly witches’ work. (Another site troubleshoots “astringency, bitterness and death” – a list that lacks only “GSOH” to be the perfect dating profile.)

The Brewbarrel
 The Brewbarrel: is it too easy? Photograph: Jill Mead for the Guardian

I idolise witches – heretical women being the best of all women – which is why I have ordered this starter kit by Brewbarrel. It provides all the elements you need to make beer at home, housed in a 5-litre barrel. I taste the ingredients as I throw them in – barley malt is a delicious caramel, hops taste of evil, while yeast is umami sawdust. Together with water, they stew at room temperature for five days, then self-filter in the fridge for two. To be honest, it’s a bit odd having a fermenting keg on your counter for a week; a little bit: “He always kept himself to himself, we never saw this coming.” At night, the escaping pressure sounds like animals in trouble. But eventually it’s ready.

I extend the thin red tap and a spume of amber jets forth. It’s light, fresh and it’s got bits in, yet I don’t care. It’s good. “No comparison with the bottled muck,” I find myself saying, as I adjust my flat cap and views on fox hunting. But is it too easy? The flavours and process aren’t sufficiently customisable. I am thinking about cornelius kegs, rotating sparge arms, smoked porter. I need the full Breaking Bad set-up and a black cat. I am spellbound and ruined. If you want me, I’ll be in the basement with the fenugreek, cursing.

Any downside?

For some, even this is a bit double, double, toil and trouble. No one likes a wait at the bar, so seven days is pushing it.


Ban On Gadgets Lifted For Emirates, Turkish Airlines Flights To US

Ban On Gadgets Lifted For Emirates, Turkish Airlines Flights To USNew Delhi: Emirates and Turkish Airlines on Wednesday announced that the cabin ban on electronic items no longer applied on their flights to the US.

“Effective immediately, the electronics ban has been lifted for the Emirates’ flights from Dubai International Airport to the USA,” the airlines said.

The Dubai-based carrier added that it had been working hard “to implement heightened security measures and protocols that meet the requirements of the US Department of Homeland Security’s new guidelines for all US-bound flights”.


The US laid out new rules last week to step up the security measures on flights entering the country. The measures include an enhanced screening of passengers and electronic devices.

The Turkish Airlines said, “If you are travelling to the US from Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport, you can carry all your electronic devices on board.”

The announcement by the two carriers follows Abu Dhabi-based Etihad being exempted from the ban by the US authorities earlier this week.

Etihad was able to avoid the ban due to additional checks introduced at the Abu Dhabi airport. These entail clearing immigration and customs formalities of the passengers before they take off for the US.

“You arrive at the US as a domestic passenger and there is no need for immigration checks again,” the airline said on its website.

In March, the US government imposed restrictions on carry-on electronic devices on the flights coming to the country from 10 airports in Muslim-majority countries in the Middle-East and North Africa. The ban affected nine airlines.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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5 gadgets to consider adding to your summer arsenal

5 gadgets to consider adding to your summer arsenal

Summer is just getting into full swing and with that it means more time spent outdoors, whether by the pool or out in nature. The beckoning of summer also means it’s time to start gathering the gadgets you’re going to need to make this summer as awesome as humanly possible. There’s a lot out there to choose from, but I’ve rounded up some of the ones I’ve personally used or looked at this year and put them together in a little listicle below.

All of the products and gadgets listed below will be a great compliment to a family beach trip, camping adventure, or one of those random Tuesday afternoons getting sloshed by the pool with a couple friends.

Credit: Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

RAVPower 2200mAh power bank

I’m only using this one as an example because I’m sitting here looking at one on my desk right now, but no summer gadget load out is going to be complete with some sort of external power station or bank, and this one has always done me solid. With the time you’re going to be spending away from outlets and guaranteed power, having a power bank can ensure that your electronics are staying charged wherever adventure (or the closest pool) takes you.

This RAVPower unit can charge an iPhone 6 to full charge six times before the power bank has to be recharged. The power input on this model can see full charge times in as little as 12 hours, so while you do have access to electricity, you can get a charge on the power bank relatively quick. This one is not the smallest power bank on the market, but it definitely takes care of business. There are quite a few companies offering power banks, so it really is up to you on which one you go with, just make sure to have one.

Coolest Cooler

Alright, so this thing has so much going on with it. While I really hate to say this, it might in fact be the coolest cooler on the market. So, let’s dive in on these features. There’s a Bluetooth speaker, and while it’s not the best one out there, it plays music and has “Party Pairing” available which adds an additional wireless speaker to the mix to enhance the range and quality a bit. There’s also a blender, because nothing says “I’m ready for summer” like blended margaritas on demand.

Image result for Coolest Cooler

The unit features a 20V rechargeable battery with USB port that make the cooler act as a charging station. Also included in various pockets and places are reusable plates, a cutting board, LED lid light, and wine and bottle openers. You might have a hard time finding one right now, everywhere seems to be sold out, but look for local dealers if you can justify the price tag – you’ll definitely be able to brag about having the Swiss Army knife of coolers.

VAVA Voom 20

So, the Coolest Cooler has a speaker in it, but what if you’re not looking to haul a cooler around or simply don’t want to spend the $400+ on the cooler? Then that’s where something like this Bluetooth speaker comes into the picture. I picked up the Voom 20 after using some of the company’s  earbuds for awhile and while it isn’t the best speaker I’ve ever used, it definitely serves the purpose of a convenient unit when I’m on the road, on the trail, or passed out by a pool somewhere.

It’s splash-proof, covered with a nice looking rubberized coating, and connects via Bluetooth or a 3.5 audio cable. It gets pretty loud and you should have no issues hearing it over a few people. It’s not going to entertain an entire party, but then again, it’s not meant to. Sound wise, it provided surprisingly full bass and a healthy mid range, but the highs were a bit disappointing – brighter highs would have helped separate it from the crowd of other similar offerings out there. Overall, still a solid purchase if you’re looking for a durable Bluetooth setup.

Cannonball Speakers

Have you ever wanted to just straight up throw a speaker? Probably not, but that didn’t stop someone from making a line of speakers that you can literally toss around with your friends. Currently still in the Kickstarter phase, meaning, it was funded, but people are still waiting on delivery, the spherical speaker goes past just being splash-proof and actually is meant to be in the water.

While people are still waiting for units and information on sound quality, there is something pretty novel and fun behind the idea slinging music at your friends. The unit also features the ability to take phone calls, but it really seems like overkill and I think 99% of the population would just rather do without if it meant a cheaper price and faster delivery. You might be able to get one in time for this year’s summer fun, but you’ll be ready for next year.

Prynt Pocket

A novelty to be sure, but a welcome one. If you plan on spending a lot of your summer around friends and making memories, this could be a unique way to accomplish that and preserve some special moments with friends and family. This little gadget is basically a self-contained printer that works with the iPhone 5s and any newer model.

Image result for Prynt Pocket

The Prynt Pocket and its accompanying app allows for editing and filtering in the app to ensure that printed photos are of pretty high quality, they’re not the greatest quality you’ve ever seen, but considering the size of the unit it’s pretty impressive. The size is definitely one of the more appealing factors of the unit and allows for you to take it anywhere your summer may lead. The app even has a feature that allows you to add a video inside of your photo that can be accessed through the app.

What are some of your go-to essentials when it’s time to hit the beach or the trail? Tell me about them in the comments below!


The smart gadgets that make our homes easy prey

A survey of 15 devices by the consumer group Which? found that eight were vulnerable to hacking via the internet, wi-fi or Bluetooth connections. Picture: Pixababy

A survey of 15 devices by the consumer group Which? found that eight were vulnerable to hacking via the internet, wi-fi or Bluetooth connections.

It comes as manufacturers routinely install technology into new household products that allows them to connect to the “internet of things”, an umbrella term for devices that can go online.

This lets them work with smartphones and “home hubs” such as Amazon’s Echo and its virtual assistant Alexa, as well as the Google Home device.

For a report called The Hackable Home, Which? set up a home with a host of gadgets and hired a team of ethical security researchers, SureCloud, to hack it.

One of its most disturbing discoveries involved CloudPets smart toys such as cats, unicorns and bears that play back messages sent to a child from family and friends.

Which? said: “Building on a recently published flaw, SureCloud hacked the toy and made it play its own voice messages. Scarily, anyone could use the same method to speak to children from outside in the street.”

The team then used the toy pets to send commands to the Amazon Echo home hub, using its “voice purchasing” system to order cat food from the online retailer.

Which? also found a flaw in home CCTV camera systems, increasingly popular with families who use to them to keep an eye on their property when they are out. The consumer group’s researchers found the Fredi Megapix system operates over the internet using a default administrator account without a password.

It said: “This a real privacy concern and we found thousands of similar cameras available for anyone to watch the live feed over the internet. Worse still, the hacker can even pan and tilt the cameras to monitor activity in the house.”

The Which? team also found it was easy to crack the password on the Virgin Media Super Hub 2 router, letting it on to the Wi-Fi network.

The consumer group said: “After SureCloud gained access to our Wi-Fi network, it could easily control any devices that didn’t require a password.”

Alex Neill, of Which?, said: “There is no denying the huge benefits that smart home gadgets and devices bring to our lives. However, consumers should be aware that some of these appliances are vulnerable and offer little or no security.

“There are a number of steps that people can take to better protect their home, but hackers are growing increasingly more sophisticated.But even as they transform our lives, they put families at risk from criminal hackers taking advantage of security flaws to gain virtual access to homes, a report warns.

“Manufacturers need to ensure that any smart product sold is secure by design.”