Not sure what to get your resident tech-head for christmas? This choice selection of gadgets by Jenneth Orantia gives you plenty of food for thought!
Check out our phone gift guide for even more tech inspiration.
GoPro Hero6 Black
If you’re travelling for the summer, packing an action camera is a must-have. The Hero6 Black is the most capable GoPro to date, adding on to an already impressive feature set introduced with the previous flagship model.
Like the Hero5 Black, it boasts both a front panel for checking video recording stats, and a rear touchscreen display that enables you to review footage immediately. This is a significant change from previous GoPros, where you could only watch captured videos through an external screen like a smartphone or laptop.
New to the Hero6 is an upgraded GP1 custom processor that lets you create smoother, more professional-looking videos all-round. This includes sharper 4K and slow motion video, better dynamic range and low light performance, and superior image stabilisation.
Fitbit has long been a leader in the fitness tracking space, and the Ionic is its first real play into smartwatch territory. For dedicated users of the Fitbit ecosystem, there’s plenty to like here, with the addition of waterproofing to 50 metres (letting you track laps in the swimming pool), a crisp colour display, support for music playback and built-in GPS.
Interestingly, it also supports contactless payments with ANZ, NAB and the Commonwealth Bank, letting you pay for things with a flick of your wrist. At $449.95, however, it’s competing with more advanced smart watches from the likes of Apple, Samsung and Huawei.
Cygnett USB-C ChargeUp Pro 20,000mah Power Bank
Another must-pack for the travel bag, the Cygnett ChargeUp Pro Power Bank has enough juice to keep your smartphone charged for an entire week and a half. It also sports a USB-C port that can charge larger devices like the latest laptops, tablets and game consoles that support USB-C. Perfect for anyone constantly on-the-go.
TomTom Runner 3 Cardio + Music
Now in its third generation, the TomTom Runner is an excellent fitness companion. Disregarding the name, the watch works well across a variety of sporting activities, including outdoor and indoor cycling, swimming, and indoor running on a treadmill. It offers music playback (with Bluetooth headphones in the box), and the full-featured heart rate monitor can track your workout in different heart rate zones.
Given it comes from a company renowned for GPS products, it’s no surprise that the Runner 3 excels with its navigational capabilities, with live feedback for running stats and a route exploration feature that guides you back home safely after a run. The Runner 3 is also waterproof to 40 metres, which means you can go for a run and then jump in the pool immediately afterwards for some cool-down laps.
Bose SoundLink Revolve+
Bose’s latest portable speaker has a form factor just begging to be taken to beach parties and BBQs, with a fabric carry handle for easy transport and a water-resistant IPX4 rating. The 360-degree wraparound speaker produces phenomenal audio quality, with booming bass and a rich, multi-dimensional sound. Two speakers can be paired up for true stereo sound, and a fully-charged battery is good for 16 hours of music playback.
Samsung Gear Fit2 Pro
Samsung has taken the pros of a fitness band (smaller form factor, longer battery life) and smart watch (large colour display, enhanced fitness tracking capabilities), and has managed to merge them together into the Gear Fit2 Pro.
There are little, if any, checkboxes un-ticked when it comes to its capabilities, boasting a built-in music player, GPS, a vibrant 1.5” curved screen, and enhanced swim tracking functionality that measures lap count, lap time and stroke type.
The Gear Fit2 Pro can also auto detect a broad range of workouts, which saves you from having to manually configure a session beforehand – even activities like tennis, soccer and dancing are supported. You can also set workout goals based on heart rate zones.
Tired of getting your headphone cable caught on things, or the buds falling out of your ears when they get sweaty? Upgrading to headphones that are specifically designed for fitness will help. The Jaybird RUN is one such creature, with an impressive pedigree of features that make your next jog as smooth as possible.
The Jaybird RUN uses Bluetooth in a way that enables it to be truly wireless. As well as using it to connect cable-free to your smartphone, it also uses Bluetooth to connect the two earbuds – which aren’t physically attached – together. With multiple sized, sweatproof eartips and earwings included in the box, you can play around to see which combination delivers the best fit.
The bundled carry case is impressive. As well as serving as a handy way to carry the headphones when they’re not in use, it also tops up the battery, extending the four-hour battery life to a total of 12 hours.
Huawei Watch 2
The Huawei Watch 2 is packed with features, making it a great option for mobile power users. Support for iOS and Android means you can use it with almost any smartphone, and it boasts a 4G SIM card slot that lets you stay connected when you leave your smartphone at home. This is beneficial for streaming music, receiving instant messages and making/receiving phone calls.
Huawei has paid extra attention to beefing up the Watch 2’s fitness prowess. The lower crown is dedicated to launching the workout app, providing quick access to a variety of workout options, while the enhanced coaching features employ the built-in GPS and heart rate monitoring to provide real-time feedback on workout progress. The post-workout analytics are impressive, too, displaying VO2 max, training effect, recovery time and the time spent in the different training zones.
Apple Watch Series 3 GPS + Cellular
They say three time’s the charm, and it’s an axiom that certainly rings true for the Apple Watch. The Cupertino-based company has taken a great smart watch and made it even better, adding a unique eSIM feature to the flagship GPS + Cellular model that lets you receive phone calls and text messages, as well as use data, from your existing phone service.
The benefit of this, compared to the Huawei Watch 2, is that you don’t need to pay for a separate service, and you can stay contactable on the same phone number used on your iPhone when you leave the latter at home. At present, this functionality is only supported by Telstra and Optus. Vodafone is expected to come on board later in the year, but bad luck to anyone on other networks like amaysim and Kogan Mobile.
Of course, the other thing to note is that the Apple Watch 3 is compatible with the iPhone only. Probably not something to worry about for Apple die-hards, but if you frequently switch between camps, you may be better off with a smart watch that supports both iOS and Android.
Jabra Elite Sport
These are for those people who can’t wear wireless earbuds — whether their ears are too big, too small or missing the little fleshy bit which holds the earbuds in. While Jabra’s Elite Sport series won’t make lifting heavy weights easier, they will make it easier to listen
to your favourite boyband playlist, truly wirelessly and without falling out. With over 13 hours of battery life (including charging from the case), customisable fitting options, built-in heart rate monitoring and a 3 year sweat warranty, they definitely hold their own.
Garmin vivoactive 3
There’s plenty of competition in the smart watch space, but if fitness if your first priority, the Garmin vivoactive 3 may well have stolen the show. Garmin has leverage its long-held expertise across a variety of verticals – including golf, running, cycling and swimming – to create a smart watch that does a superior job of tracking almost any type of sporting activity.
Even indoor gym work, which hasn’t traditionally been a strong point of fitness tracking gadgets, is well-supported on the vivoactive 3, with preloaded activity profiles for strength training, cardio training, elliptical training, stair stepping, floor climbing, indoor rowing, and yoga. Importantly, it can automatically count reps, making it possible to track strength training workouts seamlessly.
It’s also the clear winner when it comes to battery life. While other smart watches will limp to the two-day mark, the vivoactive 3 can last a whole week.