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Gadgets: March 2013

You'll wonder how you managed without them... Our gadget guru Jonathan Margolis picks a few of his favourite things

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Parrot Zikmu Solo wireless audio system
Eccentric Parisian gadgetiste Parrot, which makes everything from headphones to an in-car internet radio to an iPhone-controlled model quadricopter, has had its Zikmu Philippe Starck-designed floor-standing iPod-dock stereo speakers on the market for a couple of years now. This is its latest evolution, the Parrot Zikmu Solo, a one-piece stereo system, which could also be described as a giant dock. Plugging iDevices into docks is a bit 2008, but you can feed the Solo with music by WiFi, Bluetooth etc. Around £1,000.

Liquid Image EGO HD mountable cam
A product category that is positively mushrooming is the all-weather, tough, helmet-mounted action cam, which must have been one of the biggest technological boosts ever for narcissists and show-offs. This new one, the full HD Liquid Image EGO mini extreme sports camera, is particularly suited to the sharing community as it is also WiFi-enabled to work with smartphones and tablets, both iOS and Android based. So you-the-hero can stream live videos of your derring do from its 135° view lens to your excited friends, or possibly soon-to-be-former friends. Available in black, white, red, blue and yellow for £160 or less.

Sony VAIO Tap 20 
Is it a desktop, is it a laptop or is it a huge tablet? The answer with this unique hybrid from Sony, the Tap 20, is that it's all three. With its 20-inch screen, Tap has all the characteristics of a new-style Windows 8 touchscreen desktop, but also has batteries on board to give it up to three hours' power independent of the mains. The £1,000 Tap weighs 5kg, so you probably wouldn't take it on a road trip or use it in a coffee shop, but moving it around the house or office is perfectly do-able.

Belkin WeMo Switch home remote 
Latest to join the burgeoning ranks of app-enabled products is this remotely controlled mains switch from accessory meister Belkin. The £40 Belkin WeMo mains plug adapter lets you turn on and off anything from a table lamp to an electric heater from your iPhone or iPad. You can run almost any number of WeMos at the same time and can be a control freak from your favourite comfy chair — or from the other side of the planet.

Fujifilm XF1 digital camera 
There's been something in the water at Fujifilm HQ in Japan for a while now. While Kodak goes from weakness to weakness, Fujifilm has produced a string of world-beating cameras for two years now, as part of its ever more realistic desire to be number three camera maker behind Canon and Nikon. Its superb-looking XF1, £300, with an impressive f1.8 lens, is a high-quality compact that performs well, only marred by an annoying turn-on method — extending the lens. Looks and feels so good, though, that you might forgive it.

Midland BT-Ski wireless Bluetooth intercom system
If you are a chatty skier, cyclist or, perhaps, mountaineer, this wireless Bluetooth intercom system gives you the opportunity to talk to similarly equipped sportspeople up to 200 metres away — and also to answer phone calls as they come in using voice activation only, leaving your hands free to do their own thing. The £130 Midland BT-Ski comes with ear-warming pieces and helmet fastener (there's also a ski helmet version) and has an armband microphone to pick up your voice.

Philips Fidelio X1 headphones
The headphones market continues to grow rapidly, but with most models aimed at the mobile user, Philips' £270 Fidelio X1 are a new take on its respected Fidelio L1 from a couple of years ago — and are very much a home-use headphone for serious sound hounds (the type of chaps who used to listen to serious music while smoking a serious pipe). Built from metal and calf leather, the X1s are quality all the way, with 50mm neodymium drivers and sound-leaking open backs for splendid audio clarity.

Gadget expert Jonathan Margolis's daily tech updates can be seen at

Jonathan Margolis


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