Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Reality Augmented IOT ailsa bay whiskey
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Christmas 2018 Product Reviews

 

Jingle Bells, Batman Smells… and all that. Sigh, yes it’s Christmas again but it does mean PRESENTS! Giving & receiving, remember? So this week we have a sack full of techy gift ideas for you.

Ailsa Bay – Whisky Hacked

Kicking us off is the awesome Ailsa Bay a ‘Precision Distilled’ single malt. Ailsa Bay is the first whisky to have an analysed measurement of sweetness identified. This is possible through a revolutionary technological process managed by master blender Brian Kinsman. The whisky is defined as having a measurement of ‘Phenol’ content in parts per million, more precisely 022 PPM. The higher the ‘phenol’ levels the more ‘Peaty’ the whisky will taste plus a measurement of sweetness that is 019 SPPM, giving a perfect balance between the peat and sweetness. I can attest to this, in fact, it has an almost uncanny balance of sweet and salty peat flavours that keeps the taste buds jumping pleasantly between the two long after you swallow.

Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Reality Augmented IOT ailsa bay whiskey

Ailsa Bay is the only scotch whisky to undergo a process called ‘micro maturation’. the distillery’s newly made spirit is first filled into Hudson baby bourbon casks that are between 25-100 litres in size, for six to nine months. the relatively small casks – traditional american oak barrels can contain up to 200 litres of spirit – enables intense rapid maturation. the liquid is then transferred into virgin, first-fill and refill American oak casks for several years. the process is the first of its kind in the scotch whisky industry.

Ailsa Bay is the first whisky to have an analysed measurement of sweetness enabling a perfect balance between the peat and sweetness Click To Tweet

Now the thing that makes this whisky stand out is the technical approach to distilling, these guys are super into their numbers and from trying out the whisky I can say the results are unlike any traditionally made drop. The distillery team use data points to adapt the flavour and apply modern engineering alongside the family’s traditional approach to whisky making, allowing them to create an incredible single malt that delivers a unique balance of smoke and sweetness. The result is a taste that is more mellow and complex.

Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Reality Augmented IOT ailsa bay whiskey

“No other whisky is made with this much science. Using data points to adapt the flavour and applying modern engineering alongside our family’s traditional approach is truly innovative”. Explained Stuart Watts, Distillery Manager at William Grant & Sons “Ailsa Bay’s new look takes its inspiration from the creativity of science, which reflects the boundary-pushing technology used in our state-of-the-art distillery at Girvan in Ayrshire.

No other whisky is made with this much science. Using data points to adapt the flavour and applying modern engineering alongside our family’s traditional approach is truly innovative Click To Tweet

Tasting notes:

  • Nose: Fresh wood smoke with notes of smouldering damp heather and an extinguished bonfire. Following the smoke is a wave of oaky sweetness and vanilla oak, candied orange peel.
  • Taste: Beautifully balanced peat and rich vanilla oakiness, this batch maintains an intriguing flavour meandering between smoke, fruit and creamy toffee. The extra maturation period has developed deeper toasty oak notes with every sip.
  • Finish: An intriguing balance of oaky sweetness and peaty dryness.

Ailsa Bay is bloody delicious, has an ABV of 48.9% and is available from Amazon, The Whisky Exchange and The Whisky Shop at an RRP of £60 and offers itself as the perfect alternative gift for the tech-lover in your life this Christmas.

 

Coby Wireless Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker

Coby USA makes some really neat audio solutions including these cute little waterproof Bluetooth speakers. I tried out the smaller of their two models below and was very impressed with the quality of sound. Small size and a light plastic design make it super easy to carry around then add in the carabiner (included) and a sturdy loop and this tiny speaker will clip on to any bag you might be using. The sound is not great when at higher volumes but is really good at lower levels, speech, in particular, is very clear and defined.

Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Reality Augmented IOT coby bluetooth speaker

Small size and a light plastic design make the Coby super easy to carry around then add in the carabiner (included) and a sturdy loop and this tiny speaker will clip on to any bag you might be using Click To Tweet

If your phone or device has no Bluetooth then there is a mini-jack IN port which is a nice touch. Surprisingly for a tiny unit, it offers 12 hours of play time from the 1800 mHa battery, easily a day of playback. Each wireless speaker also comes with a USB charging cable and has an amazing 55 hours of standby time and charges fully in just 3 hours. They also boast a built-in microphone that lets you answer and decline phone calls. A smart choice when your hands are busy or you’re enjoying the pool!

Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Reality Augmented IOT coby bluetooth speaker
FEATURES:
•Play music wirelessly via Bluetooth
•Output power: 8w
•Waterproof: IPX5
•Built-in rechargeable battery •TWS Function
•Includes carrying carabiner
The slightly larger model pictured below includes a larger battery but basically the same features. I didn’t test this one but the larger size and weight will probably mean a bit better sound when cranked up but overall I like the smaller one for its shape and size. There are lots of similar speakers out there but the Coby models are hard not to like in these bold colours and simple design. Tech Trends recommends these and finally, I must point out their very reasonable price!

 

Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Reality Augmented IOT coby bluetooth speaker
Vype eTank Pro 2

Back in October, we reviewed the Vype ePen 3 and today we are looking at its bigger brother, the eTank Pro 2. As the word Tank in the name suggests, this model holds more eLiquid and a larger 1500mAh battery so should keep you shrouded in scented smoke all through a long day. The ‘Tank’ is heavier and much sturdier than the smaller ePen 3. That is a good thing if like me you appreciate a bit of weight in your hand when smoking.

The 'Tank' is heavier and much sturdier than the smaller ePen 3. That's a good thing if you appreciate a bit of weight in your hand when smoking Click To Tweet

Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Reality Augmented IOT vype etank pro 2

With a powerful 1500 mAh battery and a Japanese cotton wick, the smooth and easy-to-use Vype eTank Pro 2 delivers an intense vaping experience. What’s more, being an open-system device, you can play with mixology and flavour exploration.

With a powerful 1500 mAh battery and a Japanese cotton wick, the Vype eTank Pro 2 delivers an intense vaping experience Click To Tweet

It is easy to fill up and a really easy smoke with a light pull. The battery lasted longer than I ever used it so I just topped it up every day or so. I found the eTank Pro 2 easy to construct, charge and fill but did encounter an issue where eLiquid leaked into the mouthpiece if the eTank was left horizontal on a table or in a pocket. The eLiquid is foul tasting and leaves your lips tingling which is not very nice. I haven’t yet stripped and cleaned the eTank to see if that fixes the problem so won’t say it is a design problem but something to watch out for.

Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Reality Augmented IOT vype etank pro 2

In the hand, the eTank feels great and the button is well placed. I like the rubberised texture and the mouthpiece was a good size, in fact, the whole package is a good size and pleasant to use. There is a whole range of flavoured eLiquids available but my favourite was Creme Brulee, it really appealed to my cultured palate Ho Ho. No, I think the creamy flavour was the closest of the eLiquids I tested to a flavoured pipe tobacco I like. It is not expensive at £29.99 on the Vype website so check one out for your self, I really like mine.

In the hand, the eTank feels great and the button is well placed. I like the rubberised texture and the mouthpiece was a good size, in fact, the whole package is a good size and pleasant to use Click To Tweet

Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Reality Augmented IOT vype etank pro 2

eTank Pro 2 Starter Kit Contains

  • 1x eTank Pro 2 device
  • 1x glass tank
  • 1x stainless steel atomiser
  • 1x USB charging cable
  • 1x user manual

Design Features

  • Optimised wattage setting (up to 14 watts) and one activation button for ease of use.
  • Colour range with a choice of 3 premium metallic colours with soft touch finish for a comfortable feel/grip
  • LED for battery-life indicator
  • eTank Pro 2 has a +50% increase vs eTank Pro in terms of battery capacity

Safety Features

  • Intelligent software with:
  • Device short-circuit protection
  • Cell over-discharge protection
  • Cell over-charge protection
  • Micro USB for simple charging
  • CE Certified

 

Colonna Coffee Capsules

The UK barista champion, Maxwell Colonna-Dashwood has launched a recyclable coffee capsule range. Based in lovely Bath, Colonna marries their best competition winning coffees with cutting-edge capsule technology to enable ‘coffee lovers to take the coffee shop home’. Colonna is the only pod company that started in a café and employ a scientific approach with a real love of the finest coffees to offer us a coffee pod you don’t feel so bad about throwing away with fully recyclable aluminium pods (from £11 per box of 20 capsules).

Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Reality Augmented IOT ailsa bay whiskey colonna coffee white walker 06.jpeg Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Reality Augmented IOT ailsa bay whiskey colonna coffee white walker 01.jpg Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Reality Augmented IOT ailsa bay whiskey colonna coffee white walker 02.jpg Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Reality Augmented IOT ailsa bay whiskey colonna coffee white walker 03.jpg Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Reality Augmented IOT ailsa bay whiskey colonna coffee white walker 04.jpeg Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Reality Augmented IOT ailsa bay whiskey colonna coffee white walker 05.jpg

Maxwell and his wife Lesley set up their first coffee company providing people with, as Special Agent Dale Cooper would say “A damn fine cup of Coffee!” at events around the UK. Travelling far and wide, the couple brewed espresso through the night for revellers at music festivals and rain-soaked crowds at regattas. This was fun, but they quickly wanted a physical space to build something special for people from far and wide to visit, as well as creating a coffee lovers hub. The fruit of this vision is Colonna and Small’s in Bath, which is dedicated to showcasing coffee as a drink full of flavour, complexity and as an artisan experience in its own right. Utilising roller grinder technology, a new aluminium design and a revised capsule roasting approach, the Bath-based startup has been able to create Nespresso compatible capsules that translate from bean to cup ever more successfully.

We are always in search of technology that will help us showcase the full character of the best coffees from all over the world, whilst also trying to improve sustainability. We are constantly looking to improve the aromatics and quality of our capsules. Utilising roller grinder technology, a new aluminium design and a revised capsule roasting approach, we have been able to create capsules that are brighter, stronger and more characterful than ever before.” Said Colonna-Dashwood.

Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Reality Augmented IOT ailsa bay whiskey colonna coffee white walker 06.jpeg Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Reality Augmented IOT ailsa bay whiskey colonna coffee white walker 01.jpg Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Reality Augmented IOT ailsa bay whiskey colonna coffee white walker 02.jpg Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Reality Augmented IOT ailsa bay whiskey colonna coffee white walker 03.jpg Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Reality Augmented IOT ailsa bay whiskey colonna coffee white walker 04.jpeg Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Reality Augmented IOT ailsa bay whiskey colonna coffee white walker 05.jpg

By embracing new technology, Colonna has also been able to lower the oxygen content in each capsule to under 0.5%. This allows them to capture the freshness and character of each coffee for longer Click To Tweet

By embracing new technology, Colonna has also been able to lower the oxygen content in each capsule to under 0.5%. This allows them to capture the freshness and character of each coffee for incredible lengths of time. The revised life of each capsule is now 18 months, allowing the coffee to shine even longer. Driven by a scientific approach and a pursuit of excellence, Colonna underwent life cycle sustainability studies with Bath University and combined with industry-accepted research, it is clear that recycled aluminium is the most sustainable material for pods. Previously the challenge with aluminium capsules is they contained small amounts of plastic, making them hard to recycle. Colonna’s new plastic-free design can be recycled simply and conveniently, just as you would a canned drink.

Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Reality Augmented IOT ailsa bay whiskey colonna coffee white walker 06.jpeg Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Reality Augmented IOT ailsa bay whiskey colonna coffee white walker 01.jpg Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Reality Augmented IOT ailsa bay whiskey colonna coffee white walker 02.jpg Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Reality Augmented IOT ailsa bay whiskey colonna coffee white walker 03.jpg Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Reality Augmented IOT ailsa bay whiskey colonna coffee white walker 04.jpeg Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Reality Augmented IOT ailsa bay whiskey colonna coffee white walker 05.jpg

Previously the challenge with aluminium capsules is they contained small amounts of plastic, making them hard to recycle. Colonna’s new plastic-free design can be recycled simply and conveniently Click To Tweet Colonna is now about to launch a new Bartender Series in January 2019, three unique, single origin coffees but not for your cup, for your glass Click To Tweet

Colonna is about to launch a new range in January 2019, three unique, single origin coffees (RRP £5.50 per box of 10 capsules) but not for your cup, for your glass. The Bartender Series, created by award-winning author and bar owner Tristan Stephenson and Colonna Dashwood, uses Nespresso-compatible technology to deliver an exceptional coffee ingredient at the touch of a button. Designed by bartenders, the capsules are also ideal for coffee-loving home mixologists, to take both the bar and the coffee shop home!

Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Reality Augmented IOT ailsa bay whiskey colonna coffee white walker 06.jpeg Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Reality Augmented IOT ailsa bay whiskey colonna coffee white walker 01.jpg Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Reality Augmented IOT ailsa bay whiskey colonna coffee white walker 02.jpg Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Reality Augmented IOT ailsa bay whiskey colonna coffee white walker 03.jpg Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Reality Augmented IOT ailsa bay whiskey colonna coffee white walker 04.jpeg Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Reality Augmented IOT ailsa bay whiskey colonna coffee white walker 05.jpg

“The Bartender Series by Colonna is a landmark collaboration between barista and mixologist, enabling better tasting and more consistent coffee based mixed drinks. Maxwell and I have spent months exploring the potential in flavour pairing specific coffees with different styles of spirits, with the goal of elevating the role of coffee in cocktails well beyond the generic and into the fantastic. To that end we have sourced three coffees from three unique territories, each with a unique style that leans towards one of three specific flavour camps: FRUIT, EARTH, SWEET.”  Explains Tristan Stephenson. “The solution to ensure consistency, ease of use, and sustainability was to use recyclable capsules that work in any Nespresso machine. For the modern bar this solution meets all their needs, as it is inexpensive, takes up very little space, is easy to stock take, produces delicious results, and it couldn’t be easier to switch between different coffees during a busy shift. We think that this approach to implementing coffee in a cocktail bar environment has the potential to revolutionise the manufacture of drinks like the espresso martini as well as myriad other coffee-based drinks.”

The Bartender Series by Colonna is a landmark collaboration between barista and mixologist, enabling better tasting and more consistent coffee based mixed drinks Click To Tweet

I drink too much coffee (and some might say a little too much alcohol) so unsurprisingly enjoyed all these coffees and coffee mixers from Colonna. The flavours were a step above your average shop-bought stuff and flooded the mouth with sweet, fruity flavours with nice, balanced bitterness and long pleasing aftertaste. They are not expensive for boutique capsules so I recommend you give them a try (if you have a Nespresso machine) and experience what new tech can bring to the coffee-making process.

Lots more info about the growers and the process here on ColonnaCoffee.com and you can subscribe to buy their capsules or beans here.

 

Duracell Powerbank

With new Duracell research data revealing Brits are in danger of running out of battery as many as 260 days of the year, this might just be the perfect gift for that person who is always on 20% battery

Duracell research data reveals Brits are in danger of running out of battery as many as 260 days of the year Click To Tweet

Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Reality Augmented IOT IQOS 3 heated tobacco mesh duracell power bank

Available in three different sizes, these lightweight and great value Powerbanks are designed to keep you swiping, scrolling and surfing for up to 72 hours longer so you can wave goodbye to the dread of running flat at the most inconvenient time. These new Duracell Powerbanks are an ideal gift for the on-the-go commuter, the cultured traveller, the gadget geek craving power for their latest devices or the Instagram obsessed!

These new Duracell Powerbanks are an ideal gift for the on-the-go commuter, the cultured traveller, the gadget geek craving power for their latest devices or the Instagram obsessed Click To Tweet

Product Features:

Ready to use (pre-charged)
Up to 2 x faster with fast charge technology
Up to 5 x iPhone 7 charges
Dual-Charge – Phone or Tablet + Powerbank for simultaneous charging
10 safety features inc. over temperature protection, flame retardant case and overcharge
3-year guarantee
Universal compatibility
Approved for flying
72hr device can charge multiple devices with 2 x USB ports

Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Reality Augmented IOT IQOS 3 heated tobacco mesh duracell power bank

Further findings from Duracell’s low-battery research include:

  1. On average, Brits consider their phone battery almost 10 x a day
  2. Over 250,000 of us have shed a tear during a low battery low.
  3. 1 in 10 fail to catch a train, tube or bus because their e-ticket was made redundant due to overused battery
  4. The average Brit would pay £240 a month to keep out of the red. That’s more than a monthly London travel card for zones 1 – 6!
  5. 20,000 Brits have such a symbiotic relationship with their phone that they feel physically drained when their phone is powerless
  6. 1 in 7 have sat on the floor in a public place to charge their phone

These new, updated power banks from the most trusted name in batteries are really very nice looking and come with all the latest safety and charging tech options and most importantly for travellers are flight safe, so no confiscations at security or better yet no in-flight explosions!

Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Reality Augmented IOT IQOS 3 heated tobacco mesh duracell power bank

Duracell Powerbanks are available in three different sizes:
Rechargeable Powerbank 3350 mAH

  • For up to 24 hours of extra talk or surf time
  • For Apple, Android and most USB-powered devices
  • RRP £19.99

Rechargeable Powerbank 6700 mAH

  • For up to 48 hours extra talk or surf time
  • For Apple, Android and most USB-powered devices
  • RRP £24.99

Rechargeable Powerbank 10050 mAH

  • For up to 72 hours extra talk or surf time
  • For Apple, Android and most USB-powered devices
  • RRP £34.99

These cool new Duracell Powerbanks can be had from leading online retailers including Argos and Amazon, and instore at Sainsburys and Morrisons, they are even approved for carry-on!

 

Johnson’s Baby Bath Time Gift Set and Bedtime Baby range – Johnson’s, still the original and best?

If you refuse to buy your infant child an iPad mini or similar tech products, shame on you! So the least you can do is keep your baby clean and smelling good through Christmas! Johnson’s has the answer, even if it is a non-techy one. As soon as you open any of these products you’ll be hit by that nostalgic Johnson’s smell, you know what you’re getting here and it doesn’t disappoint. The gift set includes Baby Oil, Baby Bath, Baby Shampoo and Baby Lotion. They’ve also included quite a big duck sponge and a bath book which counts up sea animals, both of which genuinely delighted my daughter. There are also some ‘milestone cards’ which aren’t of much interest, and the large clear sponge bag it comes in which is actually really handy.

If you refuse to buy your infant child an iPad mini or similar tech products, shame on you! So the least you can do is keep your baby clean and smelling good through Christmas! Click To Tweet

Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Reality Augmented IOT johnsons baby bath set

The Bedtime products (I tested the oil, shampoo, baby bath and baby wash; there is also a cream, powder and lotion) are essentially versions of the traditional range with a different, lavender scent designed to chill out a baby at bedtime. They smell recognisably Johnson’s but distinctly soothing. Giving our baby ‘cues’ that it is bedtime has really helped us in getting our 18-month-old daughter to sleep, I cannot speak highly enough of an established evening routine and it’s really astonishing what a difference we have found with little things like always saying the same final thing before leaving the room. Because of that, I’ll be carrying on with the Bedtime products in the evening to help her know what time it is.

As soon as you open these products you’ll be hit by that nostalgic Johnson’s smell, you know what you’re getting and it doesn’t disappoint Click To Tweet

Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Reality Augmented IOT johnsons baby bath set

The bath time set would be good for parents who are establishing a bedtime routine and want to wind down with some calmer fun Click To Tweet

None of the products aggravated my daughter’s dry, sensitive skin and she is clean, moisturised and gorgeous. She loved playing with the bubbles (pop pop pop).
These Johnson’s products are lovely for toddlers; they’d make a great present for the first birthday but in my opinion are not suitable for newborns. The bath time set would be particularly good for parents who are establishing a bedtime routine and want to wind down with some calmer fun, the gift set is a convenient and economical way of getting all the classics in a nicely presented collection.

Available for £19.95 on Amazon here in the UK

Review by Naomi Hepworth-Andrews, Digital & IT Consultant, mother, ferret fanatic and tech enthusiast

 

Ninja Future: Secrets to Success in the New World of Innovation

How can innovators thrive in a disruptive future? The President of the Consumer Technology Association shares tips for success in a new book out this month. As the much-missed playwright William Goldman once said, where it comes to predicting success, ‘Nobody Knows Anything’. And that certainly holds for technology as well as screenwriting. In fact, it holds for most things in life, but let’s stick with Tech for now. Highlighting case studies from global brands, breakout innovators and startup companies, Shapiro offers an inside look at the emerging technologies that are shaping our world. Read the Full Review here.

Tech Trends Gary Shapiro Ninja Future Book Review CES Consumer Electronics Association

 

 

Tile Mate – New 2018 Version

The Tile Mate is a great stocking filler and damn handy to have on your important objects. Ring your Tile when you’ve misplaced your belonging if it’s close by, and use it in reverse to call your phone – even when it’s on silent. If you fear you’ve left your belonging further away, check where your item was last seen on a map, or tap into Tile’s community, the world’s largest lost-and-found network, which will anonymously help find the lost or stolen item almost anywhere in the world.

Ring your Tile when you’ve misplaced your belonging if it’s close by, and use it in reverse to call your phone - even when it’s on silent Click To Tweet

Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Reality Augmented IOT johnsons baby bath set tile mate

This new 2018 version of the Tile Mate has a replaceable battery which is a big improvement meaning it will last as long as you keep replacing the battery. Previously you had to post the old flat Mate back to Tile and pay a little bit for a replacement or just buy a new one. I have had one of these on my keys for a couple of years but always wanted another to go inside my camera bag so I stashed this Tile Mate attached to the interior zip in my bag and know it will be in there if I ever lose it… again! On my keys, it has been a lifesaver so trust me when I say, you will not regret getting a few of these to help keep track of your valuables.

These go for £20 in the UK on the company website.

 

GP M-Series PowerBanks

Tech Trends tested the new M-Series GP PowerBank Mobile Chargers, the MP15MA 15000mAh in Grey and the MP10MA 10000mAh in Mid Teal.

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With an impressive energy capacity of 15000 mAh, the bigger of these two sexy looking power banks is remarkably compact. I loved the solid hardwearing metal case and the full range of connections, compatible with Apple and Android devices. GP make great quality rechargeable batteries so you know you are getting quality and durability in these products and GP’s high safety standards make me feel better about leaving them in hand luggage and charging overnight or on the go. To top them up you get USB-C and Micro-USB IN/OUT ports and a matching 2-in-1 charge and sync cable included in the pack.

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The 10000 mAh version is really very slim, perfect for carry-on bags or briefcases. This one will be my new day trip charger and should charge my phone 2.5 times, more than I will ever need while out and about. The solidity and hardwearing designs of these power banks are excellent and they are a pleasure to just hold in the hand, while my testing shows they do their job perfectly, including fast charging from the USB-C Port.

Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Reality Augmented IOT christmas 2018 reviews gp power bank torch

They come with a range of colours and capacities, from 5000mAh to 15000mAh however the 10000mAh and 15000mAh PowerBanks feature a better range of useful ports, including USB-A and USB-C, allowing you to charge up to three devices at the same time in 3A rapid speed. Both these models handle pass-through charging so you can plug the bank into the wall and three devices into the bank at the same time! Stay prepared for anything and keep your devices at full power, always.

Technical Specifications:

• Capacity: 5000/10000 or 15000 mAh
• Input: USB-C: 5V DC 3A, Micro-USB: 5V DC 2A
• Output: USB-C: 5V DC 3A, USB-A x 2: 5V DC 2.4A
• Battery Type: Li-Polymer
• Recharging Time: up to 6.5 hours with USB-C port ^
• 2-in-1 USB Charge & Sync Cable (USB-C & Micro-USB connector) included

Check out the new M-Series range here for more details. They sell for between £19.99 and £34.99 here in the UK.

 

Devolo Magic 2 WiFi

These network extenders from Devolo are flipping great! Really awesome and I now have a stable cable network in my house after living on pure WiFi for two years, not much fun. The most important thing to do before you start setting these up… download the app!! I did not do this and so there was much stomping up and down stairs, shouting and fiddling about before I found out that there even was an app. Grrrrrrr.

These network extenders from Devolo are flipping great! Really awesome and I now have a stable cable network in my house after living on pure WiFi for two years Click To Tweet

Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Reality Augmented IOT devolo magic wifi mesh

In my defence, I don’t think this was made clear enough in the instruction booklet being mentioned on only one page. Anyway, with the app, available online here and for Android and iOS it was a snip and I was up and running in fifteen minutes. It was simple and is now rock solid across a two PCs, a Mac Mini, a printer plus two servers and integrates with other WiFi connected devices well. I am now a happy rabbit! There is a lot more technical info on their website so you geeks out there can learn about the Devolo system.

It was simple and is now rock solid across a two PCs, a Mac Mini, a printer plus two servers and integrates with other WiFi connected devices well. I am now a happy rabbit! Click To Tweet

Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Reality Augmented IOT devolo magic wifi mesh

Experience the new no-border world of surfing with all-encompassing devolo Mesh WiFi. Magic 2 WiFi streams incredibly stable, ultra-fast Internet through your home at up to 2400 Mbps – and is phenomenally simple, using your power lines. Stream films in fantastic UHD. Enjoy high-speed surfing in any corner of your home. Travel in virtual realities and discover the expanse of the Internet of things (IoT). Everything is possible, nothing impossible – with devolo’s magical Mesh WiFi.

The brochure says - Magic 2 WiFi will be your bridge to the future - and they might just be right. It's simple, get this now Click To Tweet

 

Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Reality Augmented IOT devolo magic wifi mesh

Dead WiFi spaces are a thing of the past since real Mesh WiFi ensures that you always access the fastest hub Click To Tweet

Devolo Magic 2 WiFi brings fast & stable internet to even the weirdest laid out homes. Dead WiFi spaces are a thing of the past since real Mesh WiFi ensures that you always access the fastest hub. In the remotest corner of your house. Let’s face it, in the UK we are not going to be building advanced connected homes for the masses anytime soon – if ever – so technology like this is essential if we are going to engage with the IoT future in any meaningful way.

Let's face it, in the UK we are not going to be building advanced connected homes anytime soon - if ever - so technology like this is essential if we are going to engage with the IoT future in any meaningful way Click To Tweet

Devolo’s magical WiFi brings the Internet wherever you need it. I daily enjoy UHD films in fantastic resolution without any lags. I test out a lot of VR experiences and this new stable network means less laggy behaviour, quicker connections and more fluid VR frolics. The brochure says “Magic 2 WiFi will be your bridge to the future” and they might just be right. It’s simple, get this now!!! You will not regret it plus it is really cheap 🙂

The Starter Kit is only £169.99 in the UK and a larger kit or extenders enable you to fit the network to your needs.

 

IQOS 3 & IQOS Mesh – Heated Tobacco vs Vaping

In the quest to avoid smoking classic cigarettes the IQOS 3 is just about the fanciest alternative I have seen. The ‘Heet’ sticks it takes contain a filter and real, compressed tobacco and look exactly like a mini cigarette. They insert into a hand-held battery-powered device that heats the tobacco rather than burning it. The idea is that the vapour produced contains less unpleasant chemicals and nasty cancer causing carcinogens. Once your ‘Heet’ stick is dead you simply swap it out and the IQOS 3 is ready for the next one. My kit came with an excellent how-to video guide inside a small booklet. Very useful and got me started quickly.

In the quest to avoid smoking classic cigarettes the IQOS 3 is just about the fanciest alternative I have seen Click To Tweet

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IQOS 3 is a new two-part heated tobacco system that works hand-in-hand to deliver the best taste satisfaction. A newly designed pocket charger fits perfectly in your hand to keep you recharged for 20 single tobacco stick uses. IQOS 3 is engineered to last. Our new IQOS ProtectPlus™ System uses robust materials and fortified design to safeguard your heated tobacco system.

Charging the device is easy, just slip it back into the ‘Protect Plus’ case and it will recharge itself and stay protected in your pocket or bag. I have to say smoking it is a very nice experience! The smoke is lighter than I expected but has the authentic smell and taste of tobacco and when inhaled gives an almost identical feeling and effect. You definitely get the nicotine through this new heating system and your fingers retain none of that rank old smoke smell. Another hugely enjoyable feature is that the ‘Heet’ sticks feel exactly like a regular cigarette in the mouth with a paper wrapped filter for you to puff on.

I have to say smoking it is a very nice experience! The smoke is lighter than I expected but has the authentic smell and taste of tobacco and when inhaled gives an almost identical feeling and effect Click To Tweet

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A robust outer shell enhances shock resistance while stress-tested door openings provide guaranteed performance, even after many uses. We give you peace of mind that your IQOS will remain your reliable companion with a longer battery lifespan. The new IQOS 3 is designed to withstand a greater range of temperatures so that you have guaranteed performance across a range of weather conditions that you and your IQOS encounter.

To be honest I was at first a little baffled by the whole thing but that is just because I had never heard of this cunning technology before Click To Tweet

To be honest I was at first a little baffled by the whole thing but that is just because I had never heard of this cunning technology before but it works perfectly and gives a really nice smoke. Hats off to the inventors for surprising this cynical journalist, it really is something new. Take a closer look on the site for more info and to get a better idea of how it works. The designers have made both the handheld IQOS and the case customisable and there are a vast range of clip-on or slide over options in the shop so you can make this 21st-century smoking device fit with your personal aesthetic, but the Starter Kit they offer starts at £99 and looks like a good place to start.

Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Reality Augmented IOT IQOS 3 heated tobacco mesh vape smoking

Next up is the IQOS Mesh, a vaping device similar to the Vype ePen 3 I tested recently but a bit sturdier feeling and nicer looking. It works on the replaceable mouthpiece system with each new mouthpiece already containing the flavoured ‘Veev’ liquid so there is no need for unscrewing tops and dribbling in smelly sticky stuff from horrible little bottles. Of all the vaping device designs out there I think this is the one that will really catch on given time.

Unlike wick and coil e-cigarettes, the IQOS MESH heater, made in Germany, is in constant contact with the e-liquid for a consistent vaping experience. Its smart digital controls detect when liquid levels are low, avoiding overheating and burnt taste. Our IQOS MESH battery is certified according to ISO standards featuring 3 protection levels to prevent overheating, short circuiting and pressure build-up.

It works on the replaceable mouthpiece system with each new mouthpiece already containing the flavoured 'Veev' liquid Click To Tweet

Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Reality Augmented IOT IQOS 3 heated tobacco mesh vape smoking

VEEV flavour caps are for exclusive use with IQOS MESH. The cap design eliminates the need for refilling and enables quick and easy flavour switching on the go. VEEV flavour caps contain high quality liquids made in the EU. The liquids contain pharmaceutical-grade nicotine for purity, and authentic taste experience.

It has a big battery that is easily charged in the usual expected way and changing the mouthpiece is really simple, a doddle in fact. The smoking experience is very pleasant as you don’t need to keep pressing a little button everytime you want a drag, it is always active until you turn it off. This made a surprisingly big difference for me, I think it was just less to think about so I could concentrate on something else while I was smoking. More relaxing I guess.

The smoking experience is very pleasant as you don't need to keep pressing a little button everytime you want a drag, it is always active until you turn it off Click To Tweet

Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Reality Augmented IOT IQOS 3 heated tobacco mesh vape heet smoking

They offer seven ‘Veev’ flavours at the moment but I got on pretty well with the Tobacco Harmony and the Mellow Tobacco, not stepping too far from the traditional taste I enjoy. Red Berry Fusion sound like hell to me but everyone to their own. There’s a lot more info on the website but I can give it a thumbs up from Tech Trends. If this is your thing then check out their Starter Kits here, however, the IQOS 3 gave me the 21st-century smoking experience I was after. The kits start at £19.99.

 

GP Xplor PHR15 Head Torch

If you are like me and spend an unusual amount of time crawling around under desks messing about with PCs then you need a hands-free rechargeable prosumer headlamp “designed for the most demanding conditions”, with distance sensor smart brightness control that automatically adjusts light levels to your surroundings. Trust me you do need one… and you could use it for picking up dog poo in the dark, which I also do, Sob!

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As with all GP products you get style (as much as possible in a head torch), quality and performance, this 300-lumen lamp has a beam distance of up to 157 metres. Choose from 3 brightness levels plus flashing mode, plus IPX-6 water resistant. Thanks to the headlamp’s distance sensor, the brightness is adjusted automatically by increasing or decreasing the lumen output to suit the environment. USB rechargeable, the lamp provides up to 69 hours of continuous illumination on a single charge. Mini USB charge cable included.

Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Reality Augmented IOT christmas 2018 reviews gp power bank torch

Whether you need a bright light for caving (as if…) or dimmer setting to read your map, the versatile XPLOR equips you with 3 brightness levels as well as a flashing mode for emergency signalling. Other key features include its safety lock to prevent accidental activation, a really useful multi-position tilt clicker thing for near or far objects plus it comes bundled with a reflective washable head strap, making it comfortable and easy to wear even for long stretches of time. I love mine, it is just so damn useful! With the GP XPLOR Headlamp, you know you are ready for whatever comes next.

GP’s excellent batteries, power banks and head torches are available here and the Xplor PHR15 sells for £34.99 in the UK.

 

Johnnie Walker – White Walker

Send a raven – Scotch has officially entered the realm. Johnnie Walker is proud to present this limited-edition Scotch whisky, inspired by the most enigmatic and feared characters on the hit HBO® show Game of Thrones – the White Walkers.

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Created by whisky specialist George Harper, alongside the small team of expert blenders at Johnnie Walker, this innovative whisky is best served directly from the freezer, echoing the chilling presence of the White Walkers.

“Whiskies from Clynelish have endured long, Scottish Winters, not dissimilar to the long periods endured by the Night’s Watch who have ventured north of the wall – so it was the perfect place to create this unique whisky.” Explained Master Blender George Harper.

The Scotch has notes of caramelised sugar and vanilla, fresh red berries with a touch of orchard fruit and features Single Malts from Cardhu and Clynelish – one of Scotland’s most Northern distilleries Click To Tweet

The Scotch has notes of caramelised sugar and vanilla, fresh red berries with a touch of orchard fruit and features Single Malts from Cardhu and Clynelish – one of Scotland’s most Northern distilleries. Blender George Harper used the Frozen North as his starting point for creating White Walker by Johnnie Walker.

Alice Bonasio VR Consultancy MR Tom Atkinson Tech Trends Review AR Mixed Virtual Reality Augmented IOT ailsa bay whiskey colonna coffee white walker

This limited edition blend brings you right to the Frozen North with the iconic Johnnie Walker Striding Man now fashioned in armour to fit in among the ranks of the Night King’s forces Click To Tweet

This limited edition blend brings you right to the Frozen North with an icy white and blue design along with the iconic Johnnie Walker Striding Man now fashioned in armour to fit in among the ranks of the Night King’s forces. Utilising temperature-sensitive ink technology, fans will be reminded that “Winter is Here” from an unexpected graphic icy reveal on the bottle when frozen.

Now I have drunk a lot of whisky in my time and am not generally a fan of spiced whisky but this is pretty damn good Click To Tweet

Now I have drunk a lot of single malt in my time and am not generally a fan of spiced whisky but this is pretty damn good. I took their advice and chilled the heck out of it like a good vodka and it was definitely better like that than warm. The bottle is very cool (pun intended) and for a special edition whisky, it is a good price so if you fancy a frosty tipple from beyond the wall give it a try.

Pick up a bottle for £33.83 here.

 

Tom Atkinson is a Digital Producer & Photographer at R3Digital and Reviews & Dept. Editor at Tech Trends. Connect on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter @R3Digital