From power on the go to a mobile lightshow and the sound silence, we pick out the essential new gadgets to make you sigh.
In the world of smartphones, it can be hard to stand out. The front is all screen, the back is all, well, back. So the new phone from Nothing catches the eye with its transparent glass reverse with 900 white LEDs. Nothing is the company co-created by Carl Pei, formerly of phone brand Oneplus. The LEDs are there for a purpose too: if you want to be less distracted, turn your phone face down; when it rings, the lights will react in time to the ringtone. They can also be a gentler alternative to flash when using one of the two rear cameras. The 6.55-inch OLED display with fast refresh rate is impressive, especially at half the price of an iPhone.
Huawei already has several excellent true-wireless earbuds to its name but for the Freebuds Pro 2 it has collaborated with French audio firm Devialet. The sound quality is extremely good, with decent bass and crisp higher tones, and it supports Hi-Res audio. The word “pro” in the title of any headphones nowadays suggests the presence of noise-cancelling and this is compelling. A “dynamic” setting adjusts it automatically dependent on the ambient noise levels around you. The Freebuds Pro 2 look good and fit the ear well, sitting securely even if you’re running. Remove one earbud from your ear and music playback is paused. The buds are lightweight and smaller than previous versions. Battery life is about four hours with noise-cancelling activated.
Battery anxiety is a 21st-century malady. But while many of us are used to carrying extra devices to charge our phones, tablets or smartwatches, most power banks are unable to help with a bigger device, such as a laptop. Enter the The Excitrus charger. Using the USB-C output it can recharge a laptop by up to 85 per cent in an hour. You can connect four devices at once, splitting the total 103W output across three cable sockets, plus a magnetic wireless charging pad on top. The fabric cover makes it look less gadgety. With all this power, it’s not light (480g) but that won’t weigh heavily on those in need of a timely charge.
Samsung’s latest laptop is outstanding, matching brilliant design and light weight with long battery life. It’s convertible, so it doubles as a tablet and can be propped up for watching films. In tablet form you can scribble on the screen with a smart stylus. The 13.3-inch display is touch-sensitive and, unusually, is an OLED screen, that’s colourful and bright with pin-sharp resolution. Performance is strong, with a choice of fast processors, memory and storage. It’s very lightweight, beating rivals such as the MacBook Air. The webcam is not as high-quality as many, so you won’t look as good video-conferencing but that can be your excuse for leaving the camera off. Battery life is up to 21 hours of video playback, Samsung says, but real-world times will be lower.
still life: Tony Hay