IF YOU can't wait until Black Friday to blow your hard-earned spondoolicks, then never fear, we're here with ten ridiculously cool things that have no particular order to them, but we absolutely had to tell you about.
Quite possibly one of the most awesome gadgets we've got to play with, La Metric is, put simply the Internet of Things in a clock.
A small, dot matrix display connects to the WiFi to display almost anything you can imagine, be it Google Analytics, the latest INQUIRER headlines, the local weather and just about anything else that you care to program it for.
It's incredibly well built, and although we had doubts about the price, this thing is just…. lovely. Fully controlled via an app, there's a whole community of developers making more and more exciting things for it to do.
It also acts as a Bluetooth speaker, alarm clock, internet radio and generally acts as one of the most versatile pieces of tech we've seen yet.
Apps include stopwatches, TfL updates for your nearest bus stop, integrations with Withings (Nokia Health), Twitter, Google Calendar and a whole lot more. Plus there's full IFTTT support to expand it out even further.
It's not that often that something that looks as gorgeous and shiny as this actually lives up to expectation. This is most definitely the exception that proves the rule. You need one. You don't know it yet, but you do.
Flir One Pro
At first glance, the idea of an attachment for your phone that gives it infrared and heatmapping capabilities may seem like something that's just not for you. But when you realise that it can do cool stuff like checking for leaky pipes and electrical surges, anomalies in body temperature and most importantly of all, playing Predator, then you start to realise that this is a seriously useful piece of kit. It comes with a USB-C or Thunderbird port but there will be a microUSB version down the line.
Best of all, there's a community of people writing apps for it, from the sensible tradesman app to making funky thermal photos. Like all the best gadgets, you didn't know you needed it till you did, and there's probably a whole bunch of other things you can do with it that we've not even thought of yet.
The Fantasy Art of Oliver Frey
Growing up, Crash was the magazine that every ZX Spectrum owner wanted, and with only one or two exceptions every cover was drawn by fantasy artist Oliver Frey.
Literally, every cover was a work of art. Meanwhile. Frey was achieving his ambition by drawing Dan Dare for the Eagle concurrently to working on Crash ZX Spectrum, Zzap 64, Amtix, and briefly LM. Now, in an expanded edition born from a successful crowdfunding campaign, and written by former Crash editor Roger Kean, This is a lavishly tooled coffee table book of some of the most beautiful artwork that science fiction has ever seen. Gorgeous.
Jam True Wireless Earbuds
These just missed the boat for our Top 5 (my, how we've grown) list of true wireless earbuds last month. They're slightly bulbous and slightly bigger in terms of case than the eventual winners from sister brand Sol Republic, but they're also fifty quid cheaper and produce a sound almost as good. Not quite as good, but almost, and they knock the pants off most earbuds anyway.
It may look like a simple (but beautifully 3D printed) desk ornament, but it holds a secret. Using the Astroreality app, you can learn about the surface of the moon, crater by crater, using augmented reality. In the future, the app will be expanded to include games based on real moon missions from the Apollo era, and even more detail will be added to the lunar surface.
And yes, it still looks absolutely lovely on your desk.
The "huddle room" is something of a misnomer. It basically means "we made the meeting room too small". But fortunately, enter MeetUp, a video conferencing device that allows small groups to chat to people in remote locations. It acts, at its basic level, as a webcam, but its two room-filling speakers and fast USB-C connection make it ideal for meetings (and perhaps the office party). The camera quality is weapons grade and the remote control allows you to zoom in and out, and refocus on different parts of the room. A bit expensive for the home, but an essential for growing start-ups
The TicHome Mini has had something of a bumpy ride over the last few weeks, being the first third-party Google Assistant device, it could have been overshadowed by the launch of the Google Home Mini, but then, well, stuff happened.
The TicHome Mini is slightly bigger than the official product - in fact, its roughly the dimensions of the Echo Dot, and though not stunning the speaker quality remains superior to a lot of other products.
It was very simple to set up and has the feel and quality of a proper Google device. For this reason, we absolutely adore it.
We'll return to this at a later date, but we thought you should know it exists, with the Home Mini about to arrive and all.
Targus Work & Play Rucksack
In these hectic times of ours, it's becoming more common for us to go straight from home to the gym. So how do you keep your £1000 laptop, your work stuff, your spare clothes and your sports equipment apart, when you know you're going to need to put sweaty gym gear in after? Targus has thought of that. This rucksack has a separate compartment for your laptop, your spare shoes, your water bottle, a bag for your dirty clothes, a mini toiletries bag, and most cleverly of all, two tennis racket compartments that not only hold the rackets but grip them firmly so they don't have someone's eye out on the Picadilly Line.
We've been using this bag for trips recently and you can live out of it for a good few days, and come home smelling of roses (Actual smell may vary).
These days everything is smart. Fridges, lights and now e-cigarettes. Capable of taking liquid or smoking mixture the Pax uses Bluetooth to control the mode for your preference of smoke production and flavour, and will even tell you when it needs charging or cleaning. It's one of those devices that perhaps is a hammer to crack a walnut, but it's an absolutely beautiful device and a much more discreet way of vaping than most. If you're thinking of giving up smoking, this could be the solution. Did we get away with that? Good.
Light Up Peg Board
After the run of lightboxes last year, this year has seen the return of the classic pegboard sign, as seen in seventies canteens everywhere, inevitably with missing letters. This one is a bit special though. It has battery connectors at the back which means that the special LED-filled letters will light up as you apply them, making for a much more interesting message. With loads of reusable letters supplied, this is a real statement piece and like all the best gadgets, has no particular reason for existing. Ergo, we love it.
Groov-e Vinyl Record Player
Did you know that vinyl is the fastest growing form of music ownership? That warm crackly sound and versatile nature has seen it return even to the shelves of supermarkets this year.
We've seen a few vinyl players (they'd have called them "Dansettes" back in the day) but we love this one for its gorgeous fifties styling, bonus of an FM radio and the fact that it doubles up as a vinyl ripping device, complete with software and USB cables.
It looks lush on the shelf, sounds great (though you can rig it up to your speakers if you prefer) and solves the problem of getting those old rare recordings onto your computer.
Want your gadget reviewed? Get in touch with us - but please note that we only accept devices in full production - no unfunded crowd-funders, and devices must be available (and returnable) from a UK/EU supplier.
They're kind of cute though
No code? No problem!
The wide world of whimsy from the Alphabet Castle