Five Christmas presents for techies

From stellar sound to serious processing power

Clockwise from top: LaMetric Time, £159. Lumie Bodyclock Luxe 700, £170. B&O Play E8, £269
Clockwise from top: LaMetric Time, £159. Lumie Bodyclock Luxe 700, £170. B&O Play E8, £269 | Image: Hugh Threlfall

A retro-styled WiFi-connected clock

Due to the lack of clocks chez moi, finding the time when I don’t have my mobile phone to hand can take longer than in 1958. LaMetric is a WiFi-connected digital clock that can be programmed by a phone app to perform an array of tasks, from displaying messages and social media notifications to giving the weather forecast or flashing up key stock prices. It’s also a Bluetooth speaker and can be set to wake you with your favourite digital radio station. The gimmick – a cool one – is that LaMetric displays information to you via a blocky, scrolling 1980s-style, eight-bit LED display. £169, The Hardware Club, 3rd Floor, Harrods, 87-135 Brompton Road, London SW1 (020-7893 8821; lametric.com).

From left: Shadow box, £110, or £7.95 a month to rent, plus subscription from £27 a month. Q Acoustics Concept 500, £3,999 for the dual finish, £3,559 for full gloss
From left: Shadow box, £110, or £7.95 a month to rent, plus subscription from £27 a month. Q Acoustics Concept 500, £3,999 for the dual finish, £3,559 for full gloss | Image: Hugh Threlfall

Bang & Olufsen’s Play E8 earphones

The E8 is Bang & Olufsen’s first true-wireless model: earphones that each have a battery and live independently, one in each ear, not connected by a wire to each other or to the music source. True wireless is 2018’s headphone trend and is very complex to make work. And what’s not to love about the E8s? They look good. They sound a notch or two better than the wonderful but sometimes slightly harsh Apple AirPods. The E8s work with devices other than Apple. They stay in place even during vigorous exercise. They seal your ears near perfectly, meaning that on long flights they’re as good as noise cancellers£269, beoplay.com.

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Lumie’s multitasking daylight simulator

Light therapy specialist Lumie’s latest daylight-simulating wake-up bedside lamp is a certified medical device. And there’s proper science behind the principle that being woken at an appropriate time by a dawn simulator boosts cortisol, and hence alertness, during the ensuing day. The Bodyclock Luxe 700 is also good for falling asleep to: variable colour LED bulbs mean it can be set to an option with low levels of blue light – the sleep-destructive element we get too much of these days from phone and computer screens. £170, lumie.com.

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Blade’s revolutionary virtual computer

Shadow is a top-specification Windows 10 PC in the cloud. Its sleek box is a portal to this remote computer. I wired my sample into my 24in Lenovo 4K screen and plugged in a keyboard and a mouse. But if you are working on a MacBook, mobile phone or tablet you don’t even need the box – there are Shadow apps for Windows, Apple and Android products. The virtual PC you subscribe to with Shadow is well-endowed enough to play serious games as well as that boring-but-vital B2B software your work requires. And as Blade constantly upgrades your cloud computer, the Shadow will never become obsolete. Shadow subscription from £27 a month; the box, £110, shadow.tech.

Q Acoustics’ Concept 500s speakers

These glossy new speakers, selling at just under £4,000 a pair, sound like a £20,000 product. The Concept 500s are not exactly handsome, but sound five-star near perfect. The bass was juicy and rich, but not silly and overdone. Fleetwood Mac, in particular, sounded amazingly alive – close your eyes and you could almost believe they were playing in front of you. These are truly top-class speakers for a mid-market price. £3,999 for the dual finish; £3,559 for full gloss, qacoustics.co.uk.

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