In Style + Design

Gift Guide: The Best Personal And Home Tech Gadgets

Brought to you by The Upsider and Partners

Let The Upsider lift your Christmas gifting game, with a little help from Nespresso and HMD Global.

While there’s a solid argument that mobile phones have created more problems than they’ve solved, there’s a new breed of personal tech that adds a luxury level of simplicity.

These curated tech gifts are guaranteed to add value to your loved one’s lives – think a handheld movie theatre projector, one-touch beer brewers and kids’ toys that secretly impart STEM skills.

Ricoh Theta 3 Personal Camera

If you thought smart phone cameras were cutting edge, the Theta V ($520) will blow your mind. Capable of capturing both still image and video in 360 degree high resolution, this incredible hand-hand camera produces incredible recreations of its surroundings, complete with four different microphones to cover sound from every angle.

For full virtual immersion, the finished product can be uploaded to VR devices, or edited with dedicated Theta apps and shared to social media platforms, making this handy gizmo perfect for photography and tech enthusiasts alike. Live streaming capabilities can also transport family members from anywhere in the world into your home – just in time for Christmas.

Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer

Dyson’s shiny new game-changing hair dryer will be at the top of many wish lists this Christmas. The ergonomically-designed device can style wet hair into dry curls, while measuring heat up to 20 times per second to prevent any heat damage. Three styling attachments – the styling concentrator, smoothing and diffuser – attach magnetically, with four different heat settings.

If the grey and fuchsia signature model ($499) is too pedestrian, consider the luxury model. Decked out in 23.75 karat gold, the gold version ($699) features a cobalt blue body and Italian gold, carefully hand-applied to each model.

Nespresso’s Versatile VERTUO Machine

Portion coffee pioneer Nespresso revolutionised the home coffee machine with its pressurised capsule system in the late 80s, and now the brand’s latest creation heralds the second-coming of coffee pod culture.

The Vertuo is a sleeker beast, with five different sized capsules to deliver a customised cup of coffee, ranging from a petite Espresso to the Alto, a 414ml extraction guaranteed to make any Monday a little easier.

The foolproof system means no accidental over-extractions or spillage, with only one button to push, because the machine does all the work for you. A barcode embedded on the lip of each capsule dictates the exact amount of water required for the Centrifusion extraction and the clean-up is just as easy as with the original Nespresso system. The added bonus? It’s whisper quiet.

There’s 24 pretty little capsules to pick from. Opt for the Double Espresso Chiaro, sourced from South and Central American beans for a serious coffee hit, or a Mug-sized Caramelizio, with notes of brown sugar and vanilla.

The extraction process works best as a ‘Reverso’ – pop a hit of milk in your cup before the extraction, rather than after, to gently warm the milk and form a velvety finish.

The VERTUO machine and coffee range are available from Nespresso Boutiques, online at www.nespresso.com/Vertuo or by calling Nespresso on 1800 623 033. RRP$299

Nebula Capsule Portable Projector

The old-school home theatre room, replete with chunky leather couches, is an endangered species. The size of a coke can, the Nebula palm-sized projector ($559) can turn any white wall into a movie screen – whether you are out in the garden, bedroom or lounge.

Hook the projector up to your phone via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or cable and it mirrors your phone screen to a 254cm-wide picture to stream home-movies, Netflix, Stan or whatever you fancy. The 360 degree speaker provides a full cinema experience or simple audio device, depending on your needs.

The projection can span more than three metres, and has a battery life of four hours, so you can screen a box-office epic without it dying half way through. Nifty.

BrewArt BeerDroid

Home-brew set ups are generally regaled to the back of the shed, under the house or basically, anywhere the ugly plastic tubs and slight pong could go undetected. The BrewArt system ($799) turns that model on its head, with a sleek, tech controlled system for automated brewing. The BeerDroid – remotely controlled by a phone app – starts to brew with a single button push, with custom and pre-set beer profiles, and a fermentation sensor to halt brewing once complete.

Each brew produces two five litre kegs, and you can design your own recipe or order BrewPrint – pre-batched ingredients sets designed to mimic some of the world’s best known beers.

Nokia 7 Plus

If the fragile battery life and even more fragile exterior of most smart phones frustrates you, consider the Nokia 7 Plus. Building on Nokia’s brand reputation for really solid phones, the Nokia 7 Plus is crafted out of a solid block of aluminium for maximum durability.

The two-day battery life isn’t too shabby either, with the phone utilising AI to monitor power-sucking apps and adjust accordingly.

For a mid-range smart phone (RRP$679), the specs are impressive, starting with the 64GB of mass storage and distortion-free audio. Movie and television streaming is supported by a full HD+, six-inch display and 18:9 aspect ratio.

The dual 12MP and 13MP rear cameras work with the front-facing 16MP camera to create a ‘Dual-Sight’ mode and record simultaneously for a split-screen effect – and Google Photo unlimited storage means you can snap as many pictures as you fancy.

As part of the Android One family, Nokia 7 Plus is Android 9 Pie ready and has a swag of smart functions, including the aforementioned battery preservation (which even further reduces usage when the phone is in your pocket), Google Play Protect and plenty of other innovative features.

The Nokia 7 Plus has been selected as the Consumer Smartphone of the Year by the Expert Imaging and Sound Association and is available at JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman and Officeworks.

JIMU TruckBots Kits

The perfect way to get little and big kids alike into STEM, these build-your-own robotics kits ($179) let you build, program and code your own robot. Pick either the GravelBot and DozerBot and build the robot out from 400 parts, which conceal four different motors, sensors and lights. Then, utilise Blockly coding platform (suitable for kids aged eight and up) to program them to perform basic tasks such as carry objects, or custom-designed functions of your own design.

Published 10 December, 2018