Welcome to the Rapid Reviews Summer of Tech 2021 article! I thought I’d do something a little different this Summer. In this article, I will be sharing some of the gadgets that I’ve been using recently. In each category, I will be giving an overview of the product and a link to where you can read more about it. I hope that you enjoy it!
HidrateSpark Steel Water Bottle
The HidrateSpark Steel is a Bluetooth-enabled water bottle. It comes in two sizes, 500ml and 620ml. There are also two types of lids, chug and straw. Mine came in a brushed steel finish and looks very smart. The bottle is insulated, and it keeps your water cold for up to 24 hours.
The real magic of the bottle is the LED puck at the bottom of the bottle. Built into the puck are LEDs that light up to notify you that you need to drink more water. When paired with the app, you can customise the LEDs and set yourselves targets for how much you want/need to drink.
Find out more about the HidrateSpark Steel here.
Nextbase 622GW 4K Dashcam
The Nextbase 622GW 4K Dash Cam is a fantastic piece of tech. We’ve been testing it out on our family outings over the summer holidays, and it’s been very reassuring to have it in the car. The setup was straightforward. Using the included power cable fitting tool, you’re able to neatly and quickly fit the power cable under the roof lining of your vehicle. My wife, who takes no notice of gadgets, commented on how tidy it looks.
In terms of video quality, the 622GW can record up to 4K @ 30fps. Combined with digital image stabilisation, you’re getting a really clear recording of any incidents that you’ll hopefully never have.
Other great features include the ability to use Alexa to control aspects of the camera, and the 622GW 4K also has what3words integrated into the device. For those who don’t know, what3words is a coordinate system that labels each three-metre square with a unique set of three words. It’s built into the dashcam and could prove crucial if you’re lost or involved in an accident or breakdown.
Another excellent safety feature is called Emergency SOS, of which you get a free three-month trial with the 622GW. If you are in an accident and unresponsive, an alert is sent to the emergency services with your location and details such as your blood type.
You can find out more about the Nextbase 622GW dashcam and its amazing features here.
Kita Grip 360 Lite
The Kita Grip 360 Lite is an excellent piece of kit and has been used every day since it arrived! It snaps onto your Nintendo Switch Lite, and not only does it protect from drops, but it also provides very good textured grips that makes gaming on the Switch Lite very comfortable.
The Kita Grip 360 Lite also protects from bacteria, thanks to the antimicrobial agent. In addition to the grip, you’re also getting an easy-to-apply screen protector. The screen protector doesn’t have any negative effect on the touchscreen either.
Find out more about the Kita Grip 360 Lite here.
Official Xbox Gaming Locker
What better way to store your Xbox controllers, headset, games, and accessories than the Official Xbox Gaming Locker? Not only does it look cool, but it’s also well made and is a great way to keep all of your gaming gear safe in one place. At the bottom of the locker is a drawer that is deep enough to store your charging leads and storage expansion cards. Inside, you can store up to ten games. If like me, you’ve got a Series S, you can store other things instead. I use it to store my Nintendo Switch games. Find out more about the locker here.
Talking of leads, if you’re looking for an excellent one, then look no further than the Official Xbox One Play and Charge Micro USB Charging Cable from Numskull games. This 4-metre braided cable not only looks the part, with the Xbox green and black along the length of the cable but feels the part too. It’s tangle-resistant and easy to store away. Not only can you use it with your compatible Xbox controller, but other Micro USB gadgets too. You can purchase the cable here.
Nacon Pro Compact Controller for Xbox
The Nacon Pro Compact Controller for Xbox is an excellent choice as a compact alternative to the Official wireless controller. It’s very light and comfortable, even more so with the textured grips on the rear of the controller. I was concerned that it would feel too small in my hands, but it’s not at all. The way that Nacon has located the buttons means that they’re in a familiar location, even with the smaller form factor.
The controller is wired, meaning that you won’t ever be searching for batteries, and the lead is long enough (3 meters) to allow you to sit on the sofa without sitting too close to the TV. The cable is detachable, meaning that if you trip over it, it should disconnect without pulling your console over with it.
Another standout feature of the Nacon Pro Compact Controller is customising the controller using the free Nacon Pro Controller App. This includes the ability to map all buttons and change the response curves of the sticks depending on the genre of the game. It also allows you to change the travel of the triggers. Further options are the ability to turn vibration off, invert the left and right sticks, and make the d-pad 8 way or 4 way. A switch on the rear of the controller lets you choose between the classic set-up and your customised plan – the plethora of customisations is incredible!
If that wasn’t enough, you get a Dolby Atoms activation included. When you download the Dolby Atmos App and insert a pair of headphones into the 3.5mm headphone jack, your licence for Dolby Atmos is automatically activated.
You can find out more about the Nacon Pro Compact Controller for Xbox here.
Anker Nano II Chargers
Anker are well known for their fantastic range of charging solutions, be it chargers, wireless chargers, and portable chargers. The Nano II Series are their newest chargers, and I have to say that they are very impressive. The two that I had the chance to use were the Anker Nano II 30W and 45W, and I couldn’t believe their size! They quite literally fit in the palm of your hand and are comparable to the size of a wireless earbuds case. The 30W version is excellent for charging your smartphones, and with my iPhone, it charged faster than the original charger. The 45W version is great for charging smartphones, tablets, and some laptops.
We recently took a trip to Legoland, and rather than searching for different chargers for each of the devices that we were taking, I just took the two Anker Nano IIs, and they ensured that we had charged devices throughout the trip. If you’re looking for a great charging solution, look no further than the Anker Nano IIs. Find out more about the Nano II chargers and the rest of the Anker range here.
Something For The Kids
ONANOFF BuddyPhones Explore + and Play+ Heapdones
The BuddyPhones Explore+ are an excellent pair of wired headphones for young children. My 5-year-old loves her Rose Pink pair. They’re easy to use, and as a parent, it’s great to know that they have SafeAudio, meaning that the volume is limited to 85dB, which is ideal for young ears.
The headband is adjustable and padded, as are the earcups, meaning that your child will be comfortable when wearing them. The box includes a soft travel bag, and the headphones fold up nearly to fit inside. Children will appreciate the stickers that they can use to customise the headphones to their liking. Another great addition is the BuddyCable Audio Sharing Cord, which allows children to attach another pair of headphones and share what they are listening to. The cable also allows children to play and pause what they are listening to, and there’s a microphone if the headphones are going to be used to answer calls or use apps that require voice interaction.
BuddyPhones Play+ Kids Wireless Bluetooth Headphones
If you have older children, the BuddyPhones Play+ are a fantastic choice. They offer the same comfort and portability as the Explore+ headphones but have the added benefit of having a Bluetooth connection with a 20 metre range. Fully charged, you can get almost 20 hours of playtime, enough for enjoying films, TV shows, and listening to audiobooks and music. If you find that the battery runs out, you can charge them with the included USB-C cable or use them in wired mode with the included BuddyLink Cable. This also allows another child to share the audio output.
The Play+ headphones have an excellent study feature called StudyMode, which makes voices clearer and easier to hear, perfect if your children are going to be homeschooling. Children can also talk to their teachers, classmates or friends using the built-in microphone.
In terms of SafeAudio functionality, the Play+ headphones allow children to listen to music at three different volume limits, 75/85/94dB. This brilliant feature provides comfort as a parent, knowing that your children are not damaging their hearing.
You can find out more about the ONANOFF range of children’s heaphones here.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading this article as much as I’ve enjoyed putting it together. If you’d like to read some more of your tech reviews, click here.