Gadgets & Smart Home Reviews

1

This is opulence. Suddenly, there is extra light blasting from behind my TV screen, making a day-glow title sequence positively atomic. The DreamScreen, a backlighting system that's designed to make your TV viewing more immersive, is a luxury that I absolutely don't need. In theory, the supplementary lights change colour based on the pixels on the TV screen for an "immersive theatre experience." In practice, it's an overstimulating, distracting, nauseating novelty, and I can't get enough of this shit.

5

Sonos's latest speaker is built not to go around your TV, nor in front of it. It's built to go underneath, and to blend in with your existing furniture more than any Sonos speaker before it. It's only built for a certain kind of TV, but that doesn't mean you're not going to want to try it out anyway.

5

I've got a struggle y'all. I've been using the new Kobo Aura H2O off and on for the last few weeks, switching between reading on it with reading on my overpriced but super damn slick Amazon Kindle Oasis. The two aren't entirely comparable: The Oasis costs $449 and the Kobo goes for $239. But the big difference between the two has nothing to do with price, or even hardware — it comes down to how I get the books on the Kobo. And as I plug the Aura into my laptop, again, to load on another book, again, I'm really forced to ask myself, again, why am I enduring this?

2

If you buy a Bluetooth speaker in 2017, you want it to be a little more useful than just being a squat black box that creates mediocre sound. The new Bose Revolve and Revolve Plus follow the tried-and-tested UE Boom formula: a waterproof, 360-degree Bluetooth speaker with great sound quality and portability, but also with the addition of built-in support for Siri or Google Assistant.

2

The first night the Amazon Echo Show was in my bedroom I had to carefully lay it face down on my nightstand. The display, which was cycling through my upcoming meetings, most recent news, and the weather, was simply too bright. It was like having a little super informative sun shining in my face. The second night, as if it knew, the Echo Show had another slide on its screen. "Try saying 'Alexa, do not disturb.'"

0

Bang & Olufsen's younger, funkier BeoPlay brand has really been kicking some goals recently; I haven't met a BeoPlay speaker that I haven't loved. The same is true even of this latest P2, a pint-sized USB-C-powered travel companion that makes perfect sense for anyone with a new Android phone to take with them in backpack or purse wherever they go. It sounds so much better than your phone's tinny speakers, but fits away in even the smallest bag.

0

I might be the only person at Gizmodo that likes Sphero's new Cars toy. My co-workers hate the way the robot announces it's going to sleep, and the long animated process it takes to wake up. They're also horrified by the very existence of sentient automobiles and tractors that moo. But my colleagues are too caught up in trying to understand Pixar's Cars world to realise that they're playing with the incredible future of robotic toys.

1

I have this vision of waking up in the morning, and pressing a button that plays music everywhere in my house. Sonos was the original pioneer that built a speaker system to get this multiroom job done, and it remains the best option for a number of reasons: The starting price point is reasonable, the system sounds phenomenal, and most importantly, it's reliable and easy to use. Copycat products from Denon, Polk, Samsung, and other manufacturers have never made a compelling case for themselves in the face of Sonos' success. Now, flashy headphone maker UrbanEars is the latest brand to leap into the mix with a multiroom system of its own, and since I'm a big fan if the company's products, I had to give it a chance.

0

There's an abundance of amazing home smart tech hitting the market. From Samsung's Family Hub 2.0 fridge to the Amazon Alexa and Google Home (hopefully) finally hitting our shores. But there's more to the smart home than gadgets.

Let's take a look at how home automation and new tech like Tesla battery storage, smart thermostats, grid credits and smart meters are revolutionising our power consumption. Which also has a positive impact on both the environment and our bank accounts.

0

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.

9

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.

2

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.

6

When the Mavic Pro arrived in our offices, the reaction was unanimous: holy shit, it's small. The folding drone is roughly the size and weight of a hefty Italian sandwich. This compact form factor, I'd come to learn, is a blessing and a curse for the Mavic Pro — emphasis on the blessing.

31

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.

0

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.

2

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.