There are concept devices and then there are devices that consumers like us can actually touch, feel, buy and own. While quirky concept gadgets are dime a dozen, our list focuses on the ones we checked out and experienced this year. We are talking gadgets that are on sale in India and used design as a differentiator to create new lifestyle experiences for us.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G: This wasn’t the first foldable from the Samsung stable but it was certainly the foldable of the year. It came with some thoughtful design enhancements over its predecessor. First, the cover screen went from being a tiny strip to a 1.9-inch Super AMOLED display (260 x 512 pixels). The primary 6.7-inch AMOLED 2X display (2640 x 1080 pixels) display got a boost with a 120Hz refresh rate. The device feels more rugged (compared to its predecessor), and it’s the first water-resistant foldable with an IPX8 certification. (From Rs 84,999)
Nothing ear (1): Nothing ear (1) broke clichés in the True Wireless Bluetooth earbuds space with a stripped-down design – you can see the microphones, magnets and the circuit board. The design is not intended to just be a showstopper but it also features practical touches. A fisheye dip in the case secures the buds, while the instantly recognisable red colour differentiates the ‘right’ earbud. These lightweight buds also deliver in the sound quality department. (Rs 5,999)
Sonos Roam: Emily Lazar, the Grammy award-winning mastering engineer from the Sonos soundboard distinguishes the Roam from a megaphone by calling it a finely tuned speaker. It’s diminutive yet it packs a punch thanks to two Class-H amplifiers, a mid-woofer and a tweeter that creates crisp high frequencies. It’s also a speaker that offers the best of both worlds. Hook it up to your Wi-Fi and you have voice-controlled integration with Google Assistant, or sync it with Bluetooth and it can stream your Spotify or Apple Music Playlist straight off your phone. (Rs 19,999)
Amazon Echo Show 10: The design language borders on quirky; it’s a tab mounted on a smart speaker, but it’s super functional. The colors are vivid on this large 10.1-inch display (1280 x 800 pixels). With two 1.0-inch, front-firing tweeters and a 3.0-inch woofer, the Echo Show 10 delivers incredible audio and can double as a party accessory as well. Aside from Alexa’s improved skills and growing intelligence, the Echo Show’s coolest trick is how it keeps up with you with AI-controlled swivel movements up to 350 degrees. (Rs 24,999)
XGIMI Horizon Pro: Home projectors don’t always look good or merge seamlessly into your living room or den. And that is why the Horizon Pro has our attention. We dig the edgy, cuboid design in matte black. It is compact, weighs under 3 kg, making it easy to move around your house or toss in the boot when you head out for a holiday. Aside from the slinky design, it’s the projector’s smart elements (Android TV is baked in) that make it a compelling proposition and allow it to be set up as easily as an Android smartphone. (Rs 1,87,500)
Apple iPad Mini: Large screen smartphones have become the norm and they’ve pushed small 7-inch and 8-inch tabs to the verge of extinction. Apple resurrected the small tab segment with the new Mini that features a new 8.3-inch display that shaves off the bezels and maintains its compact footprint despite a larger display. Touch ID is now added to the power key, making it easy to unlock. Support for Apple Pencil also makes it perfect for jotting down notes. (Rs 46,900 onwards)
OPPO Band Style: Busting the myth that budget fitness trackers lack style and oomph, the Oppo Band Style is one of the most elegantly designed bands in the sub-Rs 3,000 price category. It gets a refined gold metal buckle (with a beige band) that encircles the display, and you can swap this for an all-black band and case that’s bundled in the box. The Band Style also features a vibrant 1.1-inch AMOLED display (126 x 294 pixels). (Rs 2,799)