The dust has settled, the last of the turkey sandwiches have finally been finished up and you’re proudly finishing off the last of the Christmas chocolates in preparation for the start of a New (and hopefully) productive year. But rather than simply pledging to cut down on your calorie intake or half heartedly go for a run once or twice, why not make this year about upgrading your technology to fit inline with the modern age? Here are some of my tips to make sure you know exactly what you need to make 2015 up-to-date.
Keep it Safe
It may seem like an odd way to make sure you’re up to date but this essential piece of kit is in case you (like me) find yourself a little clumsy at times. There’s no good being up to date on technology if you then drop it all in a toilet or a pint of beer. Revive-A-Phone is the same method many phone repair shops repair water damage and would you believe it, it actually works. Forget rice, radiators and prayers, this is an essential way of saving money and your tech.
Keep it charged
If you haven’t already got one, a portable charger is an essential gadget to take with you on those days you know you may not be near a charger. Veho World do a really smart one (The Pebble) but there are endless miniature chargers out there to keep your gadgets juiced up. Just make sure you have one.
Upgrade your Smartphone Camera
Although it’s fantastic that smartphones have replaced the handheld cameras people used to carry around with them, they’re still never quite as good. The reason for this isn’t the MegaPixels that manufacturers are constantly upgrading but the lens on the smartphone itself. Without a decent zoom range you’re never going to capture those long distance photos a DSLR camera can. The answer to this problem? The Sony QX30 Smart Lens. This handy little device attaches to your smartphone and hooks up to the WiFi on your phone to provide an incredible zoom you never would have on your phone but it’s small enough that it isn’t a hassle to carry it around unlike a DSLR may be. If you like photography then this is an essential upgrade.
Upgrade your headphones
That’s right, this is the year to finally give up on those crappy jelly earphones you use all the time despite them breaking every other month. The best way to do this is to have multiple pairs for different purposes, personally I use a huge pair of Sony DJ style headphones for listening to music and films in my own time (beautiful sound and a 2m cable but a bit bulky for day-to-day use), I use some SkullCandy Navigators for working and travelling (the sound is fantastic and they fold away for easy storage and finally I use Sennheiser PMX 685i headphones for running (perfect for keeping your mind off the cold in those early January runs), for such slender headphones this smartly designed headset delivers amazing bass as well as being really difficult to knock out of your ears mid run. There’s really no excuse for having terrible headphones when there are so many great pairs out there, your music deserves the extra attention.
Upgrade your Audio
Are you still using the same sound system you’ve had for years? That same dodgy hi-fi system connected up with failing connections? Have no fear, I’m not suggesting that you replace the entire system, but simply the way you connect to it. The way to do this is via a DAC (Digital to Analogue Converter), although all HiFi systems have one of these built in, an external one can simultaneously improve the quality of the sound, the volume and update the connectivity. For instance the MiniBlink DAC is a perfect example of one which provides levels of detail to improve sound played at great volume and also makes it easier to connect your phone, iPod or tablet up to it using Bluetooth. Although it may sound like an unnecessary addition, it sure beats upgrading the whole system but gives you an essential upgrade in sound and connectivity to bring you into 2015 in style.
You’ve probably already heard of the Apple Watch (there was a massive press storm over its announcement last Autumn) but what you may not necessarily realise is how useful Wearable tech is – and how much of it is already out there. For instance, there are plenty of Android watches out there which can be incredibly handy. Although not all are fit for purpose (essentially, they should be a way of keeping up to date on notifications without digging around for a phablet tucked away in a pocket) there are some which are really smart. For instance the Pebble Smartwatch is a clever balance of a watch which adds some handy functionality to your phone without simply copying them and there is a huge variety of fitness bands for those keen on tracking their heart rate and other vitals during exercise. Although it may be a bit early to dive into the wearable market (all eyes are on the Apple Watch at the moment) it’s certainly something to think about in 2015.
Although many of you will have probably been doing this without really noticing it, Subscriptions are definitely where pretty much every entertainment industry is headed. Whether it is paying to subscribe to your online news (The Sun has surprisingly made a success of its pay wall scheme so most of the national newspapers and magazines are following suit) your film and TV (Sky, Netflix, BlinkBox, Amazon Instant all vie for your attention), your music (Spotify), books (Audible) and even shaving (Harry’s), Snacks (Graze) and shopping (Amazon Prime). It seems that everything we do in the future will be carefully planned in advance via a subscription. It certainly makes sense to account for all these luxury services with a set outgoing every month and also save time by having at the touch of a button. If there’s one upgrade you should do this year then it will have to be subscribing… Unless, like me, you’re unnaturally attached to your collections of books, DVDs and CDs it’s clearly the most sensible way of spending your money.