The Sydney Home Show is known as the Mecca for building and renovation enthusiasts. But with every passing year we're seeing more cool, innovative and energy efficient technology creeping in. Here are some of our favourite tech highlights from the 2017 show floor.
Gadgets & Smart Home Reviews
We're up in the air today for a quick plane journey to test out Qantas's brand new in-flight internet, which is available today to Qantas flyers for free and for the first time. It's only on a single jet — ours! — for now, but will be rolled out to the entire Qantas fleet throughout the year. Join in as we put it through its paces.
It's been about a year since I last jammed my finger putting together IKEA furniture. It was for my brand new apartment, and even though I broke a sweat and a little skin at the top of my hand, I saved a ton of money - that's the benefit of outfitting your home in IKEA housewares. Now, your favourite Swedish furniture brand is selling the same agonizing experience in a bicycle made for everyone.
This thing sucks. In a good way. The Samsung VR9300 is the most powerful robot vacuum cleaner that you can buy in Australia, and it's redesigned to be slimmer in profile than its predecessors to better slip underneath your couch and furniture to keep your house clean. Integrated Wi-Fi and a ceiling-mapping camera and onboard sensor suite means it'll guide itself around your property while you're away, and you can remotely control it to give your house a bit of a tszuj while you're out.
Commuting is bullshit. Trains are bad and buses are worse, and riding a bike is Actual Hard Work. That's why electric bikes are convenient — all the usefulness of a bicycle, with electric power to get you up hills. But that's cold comfort if you don't have anywhere to store your bike when you're in the office. Enter the URB-E, a compact electric scooter that folds up out of the way to hide under a desk, but that can also zip around the city without requiring any human effort.
As someone very lazy who likes to drive everywhere whenever possible, but also likes a bit of exercise every now and then, I've always been a bit intrigued by folding bikes — something I can keep in the boot and use whenever I want. I also like smart things — and that's why I think this Red Dot award-winning bike, which has built-in GPS and a digital display built into the handlebars, is a little bit cool. It's also called the Galaxy.
The June Oven is a super smart countertop convection oven. There's a camera built in that watches the food cook and can correctly identify what food you put in, helpfully supplying cooking modes; Wi-Fi so you can connect to the app to watch your food cook, adjust temperature, or even take set a reminder to take food out; and carbon fibre heating elements that intelligent heat depending on the food so food always comes out evenly cooked. It's all powered with an Nvidia chip making it the smartest oven you've ever used.
It's late, I've just plugged the Google Home voice assistant in, and I've got a fridge full of pumpkin and pie crusts and Thanksgiving is three weeks away. "OK Google, how do I make a pumpkin pie?" Google Home happily answers my question, firing off a summary of the instructions as told to it by AllRecipes.com. If I could whip eggs and beat canned pumpkin in the thirty seconds it took Home to recite the recipe, I'd have had a pie. Instead, I nod, wowed that Home can answer my question with ease, but also a little dissatisfied. It's brilliant — so close to perfection that the minor imperfection nags.
Google seems to have solved every issue I had with an entry-level VR headset. It still worked with your smartphone (well, if you had a Pixel, for now) but it was, well... beautiful.
Its strikingly clever, lightweight, fabric-based design and fancy-looking controller had me making grabby hands during the Google event when it was announced. Well, now I have had it in said hands, strapped firmly to my face, did it live up to expectations?
Here's how it went down: Gizmodo reported that Soylent's Food Bars were making people throw up and suffer from "uncontrollable diarrhoea." In particular, we wrote about how bars with a specific expiration date — July 14, 2017 — had sent some customers to the emergency room. This week, Soylent recalled the bars.
When you're a kid, building a Lego fortress that can withstand attacks from G.I. Joe and Transformers is a real accomplishment. As an adult, you need a bigger challenge, and that's what Lego's 3,929-piece Technic Bucket Wheel Excavator set provides. It's the most work I've ever put into building a toy, but the resulting edifice makes you feel like you deserve a job at Legoland.
No one should need or want a $699 hair dryer. The number one hair dryer on Amazon costs $50, the one under my sink cost $90 in 2003, and the one my hair dresser uses daily on clients costs between $120 and $200. A $U699 hair dryer is more than twice the price of anything else, but that doesn't matter, because Dyson, a company best known for its fancy vacuums, has made a hair dryer, and the damn thing might be the last you'll ever need.
Blue has long been known for excellent USB microphones — namely the Yeti and its younger brother the Snowball, both of which function intuitively for people outside the audiophile community, while providing dependable recordings with little fuss. That attention to detail has been shrunken down even further with the new, $US200 (Raspberry. But what need does it fill exactly?