Gad­gets for a new year

HWM (Malaysia) - - CONTENTS - by Ko­hWanzi

New year, new be­gin­nings. The start of a brand new year gen­er­ally brings ea­ger an­tic­i­pa­tion of the fu­ture, and while you still can’t buy a hov­er­board, we have a hand­ful of cool gad­gets that will make your daily rou­tine – both at home and away – eas­ier and even more fun.



The Ama­zon Echo is lit­er­ally a Blue­tooth speaker that you can talk to. Seven mi­cro­phones and beam-form­ing tech­nol­ogy en­sure that it can hear you from across the room, so it’s al­most like call­ing out to your per­sonal as­sis­tant to add some­thing to your to-do list. Ex­cept this time it’s Alexa you’re talk­ing to, the cloud-based brain be­hind Echo that adapts to your speech pat­terns and learns your per­sonal pref­er­ences the more you use it. Echo uses a 2-inch tweeter, a 2.5-inch woofer, and an elon­gated re­flex port for omni-di­rec­tional au­dio, and it’ll change its tunes at your com­mand and even look up some­thing on Wikipedia for you.



If ever there was a mini Seg­way, this is it. The Ninebot Mini is a knee-high, self-bal­anc­ing scooter that will have you trundling along in no time. It uses Ninebot’s own Leansteer tech­nol­ogy to de­tect the move­ments of the rider’s legs and change di­rec­tion ac­cord­ingly. It has a mod­est range of 22km on a sin­gle charge and a 16km/h top speed. On top of that, its IP54 rat­ing means that it can with­stand light driz­zles, so you can take it out to the park and scoot around. It’s best to use it on the of­fi­cial bike paths though, as it can han­dle a max­i­mum in­cline of just 15°.



If you’re not on board with Ap­ple Pay or An­droid Pay yet, this all-in-one credit card could still help you leave your plas­tic at home. It con­sol­i­dates all your debit and credit cards in one place, and even does the same for gift, loy­alty, and mem­ber­ship cards. The card can hold up to eight cards at any one time, but it is meant to be paired with the Coin mo­bile app, which can store an un­lim­ited num­ber of cards. Coin works with any card with magnetic stripe data and the Coin app keeps track of the de­vice’s last known lo­ca­tion – a handy fea­ture if you ever mis­place it.



This par­tic­u­lar router wants to make net­work con­nec­tiv­ity woes a thing of the past. It fea­tures 13 an­ten­nas ar­ranged in a cir­cu­lar pat­tern (one ded­i­cated to mea­sur­ing net­work con­ges­tion), and will au­to­mat­i­cally switch be­tween dif­fer­ent Wi-Fi chan­nels to get the strong­est sig­nal. The best part is that you don’t need to ac­cess a browser-based router con­fig­u­ra­tion page to set it up – ev­ery­thing can be done through an iOS or An­droid app called Google On. The app even helps you trou­bleshoot prob­lems, shows you if some­one is leech­ing onto your Wi-Fi, and al­lows you con­trol over your router even if you’re miles away.



Here’s a fit­ness tracker that ac­tu­ally looks like a de­cent dress watch. It pairs with your phone via Blue­tooth and then tracks your steps and sleep cy­cles. A small hand on the watch face in­di­cates your daily progress so you know how much you have left to your goal. It is also wa­ter-re­sis­tant up to a depth of 50m, and it can au­to­mat­i­cally de­tect when you are swim­ming to track your ac­tiv­ity. The Activaté Steel is pow­ered by a stan­dard watch bat­tery but it con­sumes so lit­tle power that the bat­tery is good for up to eight months.

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