From Bentley headphones to drones and robot dogs, Jeremy White reviews the coolest gadgets and top onboard tech for 2021...
Tech on deck: The coolest gadgets to keep on board
Optoma CinemaX P2 4K projector
You don’t need a lot of space to create a big-screen experience with this Ultra Short Throw model. Using a laser light engine, this projector can cast a 2.5-metre image on to a wall or screen from just 70 centimetres. Perfect for sports, gaming and movie nights.
Focal Radiance for Bentley headphones
Revered audiophile brand Focal has joined forces with the luxury car maker to create these exceptional open-backed headphones. Finished in striking black and copper and emblazoned with the diamond pattern found on the Bentley Bentayga, they also have full-grain Pittards leather from the company that made gloves for Spitfire pilots for a luxurious listen.
Boston Dynamics Spot robot dog
Boston Dynamics’ creepy-yet-cute Spot robot is finally available to buy. Fully programmable, it has a running time of 90 minutes per charge from its swappable battery and, thanks to its 360-degree cameras, sensors and the stability of its four legs, can handle a multitude of terrain, including stairs. Spot even has an attachable front arm to open and close doors. Its top speed of 4.8km/h will not see it chase off many intruders, but it can carry loads of up to 13.6kg. What’s more, IP54 certification means it’s protected against dust and rain, so outdoor duty is on the cards, too.
Evercade handheld arcade machine
This games machine sports an old-school design, sharp 4.3in display and a host of licensed cartridges for hours of retro fun. Choose the Namco Collection 1 for classics like Pac-Man and Galaxian, or the Techns Collection for beat ‘em ups including Double Dragon and Renegade.
From £55, evercade.co.uk
Bang & Olufsen Beogram 4000c Turntable
Launched in 1972, the Beogram 4000 redefined turntable design with its straight tonearm and a second arm that sensed the size of the record, automatically adjusting position and speed. Now Bang & Olufsen has embarked on a mission to track down, restore and upgrade 95 examples, not only saving some classic tech but introducing it to future generations. Upgrades for 2021 include the addition of an RIAA phono pre-amp to bring this retro record player in line with the modern world – it will even work with B&O’s wireless multiroom ecosystem.
Mi TV LUX OLED Transparent Edition
See-through OLED screen technology may be nothing new, but what makes this special is that it is the world’s first mass-consumer transparent OLED television. The necessary processing units are cleverly hidden in the stand, leaving the 55-inch screen clear as glass when turned off. A 120Hz refresh rate and Dolby Atmos support round off the impressive package.
Rocket Espresso R Cinquantotto coffee machine
Retaining the impressive technology of the brand’s R58 – “Cinquantotto” means “58” in Italian – Rocket Espresso’s new R Cinquantotto now features a touch display as well as auto on/off to enable it to wake up and sleep at pre-set times. Independently operated boilers mean you get the optimum extraction of any coffee or roast style, while a commercial-grade rotary pump draws water from an internal reservoir should you not wish to connect the machine to a water supply.
Damon HyperSport Premier electric motorcycle
Not only is the 200hp Damon HyperSport capable of 320km/h and 300 kilometres of city riding on a single charge, it has the astonishing ability to electrically shape-shift between two riding positions. At the touch of a button, the seat, footpegs, windscreen and handlebars transform from upright to a tucked-in superbike stance.
LG CLOi disinfecting robot
This handy bot kills germs and viruses using ultraviolet C (UV-C) 1 light. Thanks to onboard autonomous technology, it can weave its way around furniture independently, even in high-traffic areas such as restaurants and hotels, and irradiate a room’s touchable surfaces in 15 to 30 minutes. Of course, a smartphone app lets users monitor progress, and built-in human-motion-detection sensors with a five-metre radius minimise any unwanted exposure to the UV rays.
Deep Trekker Revolution NAV ROV
The carbon fibre, anodised aluminium and stainless-steel Deep Trecker Revolution NAV ROV can dive to 1,300 metres, driven by six powerful thrusters (two vertical, four horizontal). Thanks to its quick-change batteries, it can be back at work in no time after its eight hours of operation time per charge has elapsed. A floating transducer means you can see the drone’s position on Google Maps, and it will leave a digital trail to show it has been, as well as marking points of interest.
Bose Frames Tempo
The original Frames were mightily impressive in their ability to play music, take calls, access digital assistants and take voice directions from map apps. Now this new sports pair joins the line-up and, like the others, weighs little more than a standard pair of sunglasses. As Bose Frames are not in-ear, the main benefit is the ability to hear what’s going on around you while you run, row or ride. And thanks to three interchangeable polarised sport lenses and non-slip silicone nose pads, you can set up the Tempos for whatever activity takes your fancy.
Sony WH-1000XM4 noise-cancelling headphones
The best noise-cancelling headphones you can buy are also the smartest, thanks to new AI used to improve performance. Combining superb audio quality with slick design and excellent battery life, these over-ear headphones offer the perfect Bluetooth escape.
Sennheiser Ambeo Dolby Atmos soundbar
Tipping the scales at 18.5 kilograms, the Sennheiser Ambeo isn’t exactly small, but then if it was it wouldn’t be the best Dolby Atmos soundbar in the world. Perfect for even large onboard spaces, the Ambeo creates an immersive listening experience by cleverly bouncing sound channels off the walls and ceiling. The result is big movie sound with no structural work required.