Inspect a gadget - Issue 157 - Magazine | Monocle

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Base One MagSafe Charger


Wireless charging is extremely convenient: when your phone is juicing up, you no longer need to unplug it to check something, you can just pick it up from the charging pad. The only problem is that since Apple introduced MagSafe magnets to ensure a secure and strong connection, these pads have tended to lift up with the phone. Until Nomad’s beautifully crafted and, above all, heavy (it weighs 515g) charger came along. However quickly you grab your phone, the Nomad pad stays put. It has a metal chassis, glass charging panel and rubber base so that it doesn’t slip and you can choose between a carbide, silver or (limited edition) gold finish. Note that Nomad does not supply a charging plug and needs a 30W adapter as a minimum.

Xperia 1 IV


In the world of smartphones, you need to stand out. Sony has leant on its Bravia TV division to create a phone with a 4K Ultra HD screen. It’s also introduced a brilliant camera system thanks to its Alpha digital-imaging section. It means that this phone has an optical zoom, something other smartphones almost universally lack. There are three 12-megapixel cameras. In point-and-shoot mode they’re fine but with manual options they really excel. The Xperia 1 IV has a longer display than rivals; the 21:9 aspect ratio makes it fit in the hand more easily than other big phones. Video playback works brilliantly for TV and movies, thanks to an OLED 4K screen that is rich and gloriously detailed. Get the picture?

Sparkling Wine Preservation System


You know how it is when, at the end of the evening, there’s a third of a bottle of champagne left and you decide you don’t feel like guzzling the rest of it? No, us neither. But assuming that there is a scenario where you have leftover sparkling wine, there are better options than putting a teaspoon in the bottle. Coravin’s system is ingenious. First, there’s the Sparkling Stopper which secures to the bottle with a lock. Then the Sparkling Charger automatically fills the bottle with CO2 to the right pressure. It keeps the sparkle intact for up to four weeks (though you might never put it to the test for that long). It works very well and means that the fear of wasting sparkling wine evaporates as quickly as the fizz otherwise would have. And when you’re in a restaurant that doesn’t serve champagne by the glass you can raise your eyebrows and ask, “Oh dear, don’t you have a Coravin?”

MacBook Air


The newest Apple laptop is a MacBook Air with a completely overhauled design. Since its launch in 2008, when then CEO Steve Jobs revealed it by sliding it out of a manila envelope to show how thin it was, the Air has had tapered edges. Now, the lid is flat and the edges are sharper, making for a machine that’s thin all over. It’s lighter than the model it succeeds and has a bigger display, 13.6 inches against 13.3 inches, though the laptop is not noticeably bigger. And it has a sumptuously comfortable keyboard. This laptop also restores MagSafe charging and comes in two new colours: midnight, a near-black with blue notes (though a bit of a fingerprint magnet) and the gorgeous starlight (pictured), which is silver but glints gold in the right light.

Still life: Tony Hay

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