Friday, 20 December 2013

A last-minute Christmas

OK, like last year I'd intended to go through December with an idea for a Christmas present each day, writing about them in a little depth. Then some stuff happened - I won't bore you with the details - and it's suddenly the 20th and I've covered very little.

Which is a shame because I've been sent a few good items to look at. The Colgate ProClinical A1500 toothbrush would make a good stocking filler for the hygiene conscious; it adjusts its pressure and speed according to where it thinks it is in the mouth. There's a display and a 30-second pacer that tells you when you've done enough on one area.

I liked the idea a lot and since I'd recently replaced my own toothbrush I passed this to my daughter to see what she thought. She found the display a little disconcerting - difficult to read while the brush is actually in your mouth, which is when the display will count - but in spite of her protestations, she's got cleaner teeth than she had before.

For me this has been a year of getting more and more clutter around the place and given that I write a lot about technology this means a lot of wires. This is why I thought BlueLounge's CableBin so useful; it's basically a large bin with a gap down the side so you can put an extension cable in, and then have all of your other cables simply coming out of the bin.

It really tidies the place up and for all I know makes it safer, too.

Another gadget on sale this week is at Aldi - the 7in DVD player for £39.99. I can confirm it works, the packaging is nice and stable and it plays many formats on DVD or CDs.


I'd have reservations about how many kids (I'm assuming a younger market) will want it. It's an exaggeration to say we're all on downloads now, but many people are and they won't want this player. If they do, they may want a larger screen. It's only ten years or so since this sort of technology was a big wow and if you're certain your recipient wants to watch a DVD whilst travelling (and hasn't got a plain laptop) then go for it; my instinct is that these things have had their day.


If this year has been about anything for me then it's been about getting fitter. This is where my favourite gadget of the moment, the MisFit Shine, comes into its own. It's an activity tracker worn like a wristwatch; you sync it with an app on your phone and it tells you what you've been doing.

It can take a little getting used to. You can read the time from it but it has a system of lights which take some deciphering. You can tell it when you're performing a particular activity - swimming was mine - by tapping on it three times, but I didn't tap correctly apparently so after a one-kilometre swim it thought I'd been fairly inactive.

Persevere, though, as it's a lovely little gadget that tells you how much of your daily target you've achieved and how many calories you've burned. Don't do what I did, though, and keep it on whilst getting the Christmas tree out of the loft. The wristband can catch on things, then you get downstairs and find you haven;t got the thing on your wrist any more, and the lighting in the loft rather suggests you won't be able to find it again even if you try.

But a lovely gadget and my favourite of the season - all too briefly, I'm afraid.

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