TECH FOR THE NEW YEAR
Here are a few gadgets to help you leap into 2016, write Jennifer Dudley-Nicholson and Rod Chester
CLIP-FIT ARMBAND + CASE
Belkin has long made neoprene armbands for smartphones but it takes a new approach with this model for the Apple iPhone 6 and 6S. You first put your iPhone into a hard plastic case with a clip on its back. That case connects to a hard plastic section on the back of the armband. The advantage of this system is you don’t have to squeeze your phone into a windowed pocket, yet we initially found it fiddly to quickly remove the phone from the strap when snapping a photo during a run.
$50 / BELKIN.COM.AU
CONNECT STATION CS100 CANON
This device crosses traditional product lines in solving the problem of organising your digital photo collection. It has a one terabyte hard disk to store your photos and is also a media hub so you can browse your photos on your TV. You can use NFC to connect it to a Canon camera (but not other cameras or smartphones) and send images to a Canon printer. You can also put an SD card in it or use a clunky interface to connect a smartphone or tablet. But it is difficult to see a compelling reason to buy it for anyone other than those entrenched in the Canon ecosystem.
$398 / CANON.COM.AU
SPORT PACE JABRA
With hooks to clip over your ears, these earbuds sit securely and we found them reasonably comfortable. As in other Jabra Sports models, they work with an app that gives audio feedback on your workout. The sound quality is typical of sports earphones, they have easy to use buttons for music control, an IP54 rating that means they are resistant to splashes, and a 15-minute quick charge gives one-hour of battery life. If you don’t want extra features such as in-ear heart-rate monitoring, these offer a reasonable option in the Jabra Sport range.
$160 / JABRA.COM.AU
This update to Garmin’s original Vivosmart adds a better, always-on screen and a swag of new functions — but the optical heart-rate sensor is at the top of the list. The Vivosmart HR displays your current heart rate and average resting heart rate, and provides more accurate information in calorie burn and sleep tracking. It’s waterproof to 50m so you can wear it swimming, it tracks flights of stairs you climb, and displays how many “intensity” minutes you complete against a target of 150 minutes a week. With smart notifications and a fiveday battery life, it’s up there as a serious contender in the activity tracker market.
$229 / GARMIN.COM.AU
Whether you’re diligently backing up photos for the New Year or regretting the limited storage capacity of your Apple iPhone, this drive is a wise investment. The JumpDrive M20i offers two connections: an Apple Lightning connector on one end and a USB 3.0 connector on the other. Users switch between them by sliding a lever. The JumpDrive comes in capacities up to 64GB, and in its app you can drag files to the external storage or simply tap a shortcut to backup your photo or contact libraries. This drive loses points for its flimsy plastic build, but it’s a handy device otherwise well executed.
$72-$165 / AU.LEXAR.COM