Life-changing gadgets, apps, tech and services to revolutionise everyday life and save you precious time.
Words Owen Bailey
Gator Watch Wearable Mobile Phone/Tracker
£99 (plus mobile Service Plan)
This UK innovation from TechSixtyFour is a cool-looking wearable mobile ’phone and tracker for your kids. Taking the form of a wristwatch that weighs “about the same as a chocolate bar”, the Gator enables you to keep tabs on your kids via GPS (indoors) and WiFi (outdoors). So if they stray outside of a pre-defined Safezone, you’ll receive an immediate alert. The Gator is also a mobile ’phone, with a SIM card, microphone and speaker, which gives you full control over the numbers that can be called. And finally, the Gator has an SOS alert button which auto-calls three emergency numbers when pressed. A smart idea simply executed, the Gator is also splash-proof and has a four-day rechargeable battery life.
You need this… If your children are ready to go on their own adventures
It may seem like too minor a thing to be classed as a real ‘life changer’, but services such as unroll.me are exactly the kind of little helpers that we need to retain our clarity in the digital age. Sign up to unroll.me with your email address, and the app will show you a list of all the emails you’re subscribed to, and help you unsubscribe easily from anything you no longer want to follow, and then organise the rest and send them to you in a single summary email. So instead of spending your time sifting through, deleting and shaking your fist at your inbox, ridding yourself of the spam trail you’ve signed up to, you can now read and deal with only what you really need to.
You need this… If you delete more emails than you read
Want to make a difference? Then give something back by supporting Kopernik, a technology provider for the developing world. The organisation sources technology designed for remote, ‘last-mile’ communities; the communities submit proposals for what they need; and Kopernik raises the funds, then delivers the goods. After this, the funds are repaid and reinvested. You can choose which projects you’d like to pitch in on, so have a look at the site and donate today to bring tech such as the ingenious Adspecs Self-Adjustable Glasses (pictured) to the people who need them.
You need this… If you want to offer a helping hand
$749 (pre-order price)
Wings has already featured domestic robots in its pages – the kind that will vaccuum your rooms for you while you put your feet up. But Jibo – ‘The World’s First Social Robot’ – is the beginning of a phenomenon that future generations will take for granted. Like a robotic PA for the whole family, Jibo can see, hear, speak, help, learn, relate and organise, and despite the scary sci-fi connotations and super-cheesy promo video, we’re sure, like us, you’ll be impressed by the robot’s potential to help children and the elderly in particular.
You need this… If you’re an early adopter with a technology-savvy family
Debuted at top tech show CES 2016, the ili wearable translation device is still in development – but promises to be a game-changer for world travellers when it eventually does become available. Looking like a mini TV remote control, ili doesn’t need WiFi to function, as it relies on its own internal database. You operate it by holding down the button on its side as you speak into it, and the translation swiftly follows. Check out the video for an impressive demo…
ili will initially be fluent in Chinese, Japanese and English, with French, Thai and Korean to follow.
You need this… When you suddenly need a spare part for your motorbike in some remote corner of the planet
Skinted or minted?
Financial-organiser apps aren’t as exciting as personal robots and instant translation – but they can be a real time-and-money saver, whether you’re applying them to your personal finances or to a large, more complex portfolio of investments. Mint is one of the world’s most popular and trusted examples, and it has earned its reputation primarily by presenting your budgets and expenditure in an attractive and easy-to-follow way; it’s US-only at the moment, but similar apps exist in other territories, and all can revolutionise your finances.
You need this… If you think you don’t need this
When your children are really young, it’s fair to say that an app which coordinates everyone’s schedules isn’t high on the agenda. But as soon as parties, holidays, trips, appointments, sleepovers and more begin to be pencilled into the diary, total chaos can quickly ensue. Cozi promises to simplify family life and more, providing a family calendar with clear, colour-coordinated labels and filters, automated reminders, shared To Do lists, and filters the info into a daily agenda you can read at-a-glance. It also provides shopping list and family-journal functions, too.
You need this… If you’re somehow expected to remember, know and
PitPat is a tracker for your dog which attaches to his or her collar via tough Velco fastener, and uses motion capture to interpret the dog’s motion to translate it into specific activities – running, playing, walking, resting and so on. You monitor your dog’s activities on your smartphone via Bluetooth, and PitPat then offers simple advice and recommendations based on its database of guidelines for over 200 different breeds. It’s waterproof, and will run for a year on a simple coin-style battery… So if you want to know exactly what preoccupies your pooch, attach one today.
You need this… To keep your best friend on top form
From $398 per month
There comes a time in almost every entrepreneur or self-employed person’s working life when they realise that a little bit of help would go a long way to helping them reach their goals. Well, services such as Zirtual offer Virtual Assistants (VAs) to outsource your tasks to, with flexible plans, and pride themselves on the quality of their staff. Take a look… It could make all the difference to your company’s productivity.
You need this… To help you keep your eyes on the prize
Sign up for Highbrow and the organisation will send knowledge to your inbox – in the form of a series of courses, broken into bite-size, five-minute chunks, designed to be read every morning as you blearily sip a coffee on your commute. Choose from a fantastically wide range of subjects, from the science behind attraction to programming SQL databases, and rejoice in being a little smarter every day.
You need this… If you want to learn on-the-go
Apparently, print magazines are making a comeback – we say they never went away. Treat yourself to a subscription from some of these outstanding titles
Putting the world to rights since 1973, runs the slogan, and New Internationalist continues to fight the good fight, shining a light on political and socio-economic injustice with daring, well-written journalism and positive ethical campaigning.
A stylish look at cooking, dining, travel, shopping and lifestyle, each issue of Lucky Peach is created around a distinct theme. With design that’s fresher than a newly unearthed potato, the content here is wide-ranging, informative, educational and life-affirming.
A cycling magazine with a difference, Far Ride is an ad-free publication which documents cycling journeys around the world. A beautiful read with epic photography, it represents the perfect wish fulfillment for armchair cyclists, as well as being actively involved with events and boutique bike makers found on the magazine’s contributors’ travels.
Little White Lies
This bi-monthly mag believes in ‘truth and movies’, and features great design, journalism and illustration. A beacon for independent publishing, it’s renowned for its striking covers, in-depth coverage and for its intelligent writing.
A world of adventure, style, innovation, nature and culture awaits – so, a broad remit for this bi-annual magazine. If you’re drawn to innovation, thrillseeking and acts of endurance, Avaunt is a stylish, thought-provoking and essential digest.
One of the leading men’s adventure gear sites has recently taken a foray into print, and the Gear Patrol magazine, currently ‘gearing ’ up for its second issue, is much more than a mere brochure. It focuses on travel, adventure and other lifestyle-magazine content with a high-end approach to design and an ambitious take on travel writing.
This classy journal about food and culture has such high-production values, you probably wouldn’t dream of reading it in the kitchen, where it might end up splashed with stray Pot Noodle sauce. Interviews, spotlights on culinary trends, a New York Pizza Map and articles about kitchen design are all typical of the magazine’s focus.
The Surfer’s Journal
Surfing magazines have been around since the Endless Summer of the 1960s, cresting a wave of ever-better photography and the global rise in popularity of the sport. The Surfer’s Journal is a less advertising-heavy periodical than many, and prides itself on approaching surf from a different angle – covering travel adventures, surfboard design and more alongside the usual breathtaking imagery.
The weekly business oracle is in fine shape going into 2017, and aside from eyecatching design and attention-grabbing covers, it offers cutting-edge insight but articles are streamlined, to-the-point and never outstay their welcome. From global politics to tech, there’s a lot of entreprenueurial insight here.