With less than a week until Christmas, if you are still not sure what to ask Santa for this year, consider some of these affordable high-tech gadgets that promise to make life around the home and in the car more secure and entertaining.
Safe as houses
If you value peace of mind, products from Nest Labs are perfect for transforming your abode into a safe haven. The manufacturer sells a smoke and carbon monoxide alarm that monitors itself regularly, has a microphone and speaker for talking to someone in the next room and a dim night light activated by motion. Although made to industrial grade, its design is elegant and easier on the eye than a regular ceiling smoke detector. Plus, you can control it from your smartphone. Last time we checked, it was selling for around $189 from the iSelect Life Admin store.
Clear as a bell
The Tivoli Audio Model One radio is a real blast from the past. Designed to look like a classic transistor, it is made with state-of-the-art components that make listening easier and with such clarity that you will be forgiven for thinking your perfect hearing has been restored.It comes in a variety of colours, including a wood-grain design reminiscent of when radio casings were actually made of wood. And with its own antenna (sold separately), you couldn’t get a sound machine that looks less like an iPod Nano, which only nimble fingers can work. The Tivoli has easy-to-use dials and buttons for even the clumsiest of hands. Shop around and you can pick one up for less than $150.
Steer this way
Staying with the listening theme, the Jabra Drive is among the least intrusive of car speakers for your smartphone. It clips onto the visor, so it does not obstruct your view through the windscreen. You can make or receive a call without fumbling for tiny buttons. Just press the large panel to hear. Its set up is simple, plus it connects to two devices at the same time and streams driving directions, music and recordings. Available for $79.99, this hands-free experience is worth investing in for safer driving.
Are you fed up with unreliable weather forecasts messing with your gardening schedule? Perhaps you are wondering if you can duck out quickly to the shops before it rains? Maybe you would like to know if your arthritis is likely to play up with a peek at what the barometric pressure is like outside. If so, you need your own personal weather station. They come in all shapes, sizes and price brackets. The smallest ones are no larger than your thumb and connect to your smartphone through Bluetooth wireless technology. They can measure wind speed, wind direction, temperature and humidity. The collected data can even be easily shared on social media. If you don’t have a smartphone, there are many other models that you can use at home. Most will collect data from an external sensor and transmit it to an indoor console which displays barometric pressure, temperature and humidity levels indoors and outdoors. Internal units can be attached to a wall, but some are small enough to sit on a desk or shelf. The best models will have large, easy-to-read screens, a clock and back light for night time viewing.
Perhaps one of the best tech gifts you could wish for is help in understanding how to install and use the technology you already have, be it your smartphone, digital camera, iPad or PC. Coming to the rescue are organisations, such as Geeks2U who specialise in teaching those not familiar with today’s digital world. The company provides in-home lessons and written tutorials for future reference. Conveniently, if there is something wrong with your device they will probably be able to fix it on the spot. You can ask them questions about anything to enhance your technological experience, and most times they will be able to make independent recommendations. Staff are trained to offer services with a smile and engaging eye contact, so don’t worry: you won’t end up with a sullen tech-head who grunts their answers.