New Year, New Gear..... Gadgets to Kick-Start Your 2018

Monday 08 January 2018, 01:49 PM

Michael Briers
Journalist , Freelance

  • New-Year-New-Gear-Tech-Gadgets-smarthome

Ah, Christmas. It’s the only time of year when we turn a blind eye to chocolatey indulgence and the act of gobbling down turkey sandwiches morning, noon and night...

...but those leftovers aren’t gunna’ eat themselves, you know! With the dawn of a new year comes a certain set of expectations.

Most of these notions go on to become bona fide resolutions, as people vow to become a little fitter – a little smarter, a little better. They don’t have to be huge, life-altering changes, but by cutting out a particular food or signing up to the local gym (yes, that old chestnut), January can be the beginning of a new chapter. And how exciting is that?

Doing so isn’t easy, of course; whether it’s getting up an hour earlier to sneak in a pre-work workout or learning a new language, change is hard.

Help is available, though, and some of 2018’s hottest new tech is practically tailor-made for budding fitness freaks. Failing that, we’ve also pinpointed a number of gadgets, gizmos and handy apps to ensure you start the new year on the right foot. Because let’s face it, Ol’ Saint Nick can’t deliver all the gifts. So, let’s get cracking. 


iPhone - Free
Android - Free

These days, organisational apps are a dime a dozen – but not all mobile companions are created equal. That’s where Todist comes in. Available on all of your favourite platforms (iOS, Android, MacOS…you name it), this is an app that keeps track of everything. And we do mean everything. From day-to-day errands to your most ambitious projects, Todist prides itself on convenience and accessibility, and you’ll soon find that you’re able to categorise each task as you deem fit, whether it’s a work-related project or that movie you’ve always been meaning to watch, but never really got round to it. 

Should you opt in to the weekly blog updates, Todist will even send you productivity tips and updates straight to your mailbox, ensuring you’re able to stay on top of that hectic schedule – be it a group project for university, a time-sensitive collaboration at work, or a two-week InterRailing trip around Europe. With Todist, forgetting things will soon become a thing of the past. 


Ultimate Ears Roll 2 

Amazon - 

Imagine a waterproof (and shockproof!) bluetooth speaker lighter than a can of Coca-Cola. Well, the UE Roll 2 turns that fantasy into a reality – and for only £55, too. With five colours to choose from and a nine-hour battery life, the UE Roll 2 prides itself on portability, and the attachable marine-grade bungee allows you to fasten your palm-sized speaker to your bike, backpack, kayak…or wherever you deem fit. 



iPhone- Free
Android - Free

Slack is the place where work flows, or so says the official tagline. It’s a free-to-use collaboration app designed to bring the very best out of your team, whether you’re drawing up plans for a new project or simply organising the next meeting. Real-time messaging and instant file sharing are the lifeblood of this handy app, and the three content plans – namely Free, Standard, and Premium – allow you to delegate responsibilities and tasks as you deem fit. Spark a conversation with Slack, and watch as productivity thrives. 


Lifebeam Vi

Amazon - £143

Gearing up for a gentle jog can at times be an irritating experience. You have your fitness tracker, your phone, your headphones and, if you feel so inclined, a heart rate monitor. But what if there was a product that consolidated all of those essentials into one nifty package? Introducing the Lifebeam Vi, a fitness-tacking pair of headphones that touts its own personal trainer. 

The device also monitors heart rate and activity, ensuring you can stay on top of your routine and, more importantly, on top of your fitness. Headphones have evolved. 


Google Suite

Google - Free 

Sometimes the best things in life are free, and when it comes to managing your digital files, Google Drive is practically in a league of its own. It’s available to anyone with a Google account – simply complete the two-minute sign-up and you’ll gain access to a truckload of online tools, including word documents and entire spreadsheets. Everything is backed-up automatically, too, while the Google Suite also comes packing 15GB of cloud storage at no extra charge, meaning you can upload your precious photos, family videos and other work documents to Drive instantaneously, before accessing them from any compatible phone, tablet or desktop computer. Now, how’s that for handiness? 


Amazon Echo Dot

Amazon - £49.99 

“Alexa, play some music.”

Call it a smart speaker, a voice-activated home helper, or even a hands-free companion – AI assistants are all the rage. And at only £49.99, the Amazon Echo Dot proves they don’t have to break the bank, either. It’s the smaller and more affordable alternative to the much larger Echo, and can carry out a range of actions with a simple voice gesture, such as playing the song of the day. Because the Echo Dot naturally has access to Amazon’s vast online store, that little circular powerhouse can also do your shopping, all the while providing minute-to-minute updates on that order you’ve been pining after. It’s a must-own for anyone with even a passing interest in smart home technology, and Alexa will only continue to get more and more sophisticated as the years roll on. 


Google Home Mini (£49) 

Currys - £49 

“Ok Google, tell me how to make a pizza!”

On the other end of the market is the Google Home Mini. It’s priced in the same ballpark as the Echo Dot (£49), and though Amazon’s AI assistant packs a more robust speaker – not to mention a 3.5mm jack – Google’s souped-up little helper excels in its voice recognition, allowing you to ask for step-by-step recipes without so much as lifting a finger…you know, until it comes to the actual cooking part. 

The companion app is also a great way to get the most out of your Home device, as you tailor each compatible instrument within your humble abode – lights, speakers, the thermostat…you name it. We’ll say it before and we’ll say it again: voice-enabled assistants are the future, and with the Google Home Mini, you can get in on the ground floor for only 50 quid. 


Fitbit Ionic

Amazon - £239 

It was only a matter of time, wasn’t it? Fitbit’s rise to prominence has been nothing short of breathtaking, and after its acquisition of Pebble, a known smartwatch manufacturer, the company has officially launched the Fitbit Ionic. 

Priced at £239, the Ionic is a remarkably stylish addition to the crowded smartwatch market, and packs a multitude of bells and whistles under its nano-moulded hood. It’s water-resistant, for one, ensuring you can bring Fitbit’s newly-unveiled flagship to your next swimming trip. Not only that, the Ionic can store up to 300 songs, allowing you to go for a jog without fumbling with your phone. Couple this with the guided workouts and built-in payment systems and the Fitbit Ionic is perhaps the perfect entry point for a smartwatch newbie. 


Flipboard App

iPhone - Free
Android - Free

The mainstream media tends to operate at a mile a minute, pumping out stories 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The result? An overwhelming amount of news that can often blur into white noise, but thankfully, Flipboard is here to help. Available on both iOS and Android devices, it’s the award-winning service that plucks stories from some of the world’s leading bodies – The New York Times, Wired, and National Geographic included – to build a curated news feed designed around you. That’s right, Flipboard is nothing if not personal, and the elegant user interface means you can receive all of your news in one place.  


Poweradd Pilot X7

Amazon - £19.99

It’s a fear we can all relate to on some level – that dreaded, gut-wrenching moment when your phone battery runs out of juice just when you need it most. But don’t despair; with portable chargers now available in all shapes and sizes, running out of battery can be a thing of the past. Choosing the right model, however, is the real question, but that’s where the Anker Powercore Fast-Charger comes in. Compatible with iOS and Android devices, the Anker’s tubular design means you can slip the portable charger in your pocket for handiness, and the pint-sized power source packs enough juice to fully charge an iPhone 7…six times. 


And with 2018 now upon us, from all of us here at LifeSearch, we wish you a happy, safe and prosperous new year filled with lifelong memories and tantalising tech. Until next time! 

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