Don’t forget to pack these gadgets...
Roula Khalaf, Editor of the FT, selects her favourite stories in this weekly newsletter.
Take off, tune out and sleep tight
The marketplace is awash with wireless earbuds at every price point, but these ones don’t play music. No, the remit of QuietOn is to provide glorious silence in the most unobtrusive way possible, and they start in promising fashion by weighing just 1.8g each and slipping neatly into your ear with a push and a turn. While the foam tips simply act as earplugs, the built-in Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) deals with pesky hums and other persistent noises – perfect for long-haul flights. There’s no on-off switch, but the ANC gently eases in shortly after they’ve been taken out of the case. Pop them into your ears at bedtime, and after 20 seconds or so you’ll experience an uncanny transition to something approaching serenity. QuietOn 3.1 sleep buds, £225 RM
Take the party to the water
Bluetooth speakers have made it easier to bring your favourite sounds outside, but what might count as loud indoors can sound feeble in the open air. Marshall’s newest model, however, is its most powerful portable speaker to date, with a four-channel amp, 60W of total output and a 20-hour battery (which doubles as a phone charger). It’s also cleverly multi-directional, emitting excellent fidelity from every angle, and water resistant to boot. To test its sound quality I used it as a keyboard amplifier at a gig I did at the Royal Geographical Society, of all places. Cranked up full, there was no distortion and zero complaint from my musical colleagues, or indeed the audience (for once). Marshall Middleton speaker, £269.99 RM
Connected in the wild
Part of the appeal of venturing into the wilderness is that no one can contact you. But the unexpected can happen, and having an emergency communication channel that doesn’t depend on mobile coverage is probably a good idea.
The Android-based S75 offers just that: satellite connectivity, allowing messages to be sent back and forth to standard mobile networks when you’re in that dreaded zero-bar scenario. All you need is a clear view of the sky and a paid-up subscription (£4.99 a month gets you 30 messages plus free SOS assistance). The phone is resistant to dust, sand, dirt, water, heat and cold. Sorry, intrepid explorers: all your excuses for not replying to that text have been eliminated. Cat S75, £549; satellite plans from £4.99 a month RM
Pack for the trail
At 23 litres, the Ulvo 23 pack (made from Fjalraven’s durable, waterproof Bergshell fabric) is just big enough to accommodate all the essentials for hitting the trail but is also lightweight at 650g. The main compartment has a padded laptop pocket, so the pack doubles as a carry-all for the daily commute. Fjalraven Ulvo 23 backpack, £120 FS
Your own portable Cinema Paradiso
This pint-sized projector quickly transforms a nearby wall into a 120-inch screen, auto-keystoning and auto-focusing to give a vivid, bright display. Crucially, it’s powered via USB, so if you have a power bank that outputs at least 65W you don’t need mains power. (I had it working nicely with Excitrus’s excellent NitroCharge 120 Pro.)
It’s an Android TV device, so set-up is particularly smooth for Android phone owners; just a few clicks and you’ll feel instantly at home, with the usual range of streaming apps (no Netflix, but there are ways around it). Two 8W speakers give an impressive stereo field, but if you prefer to use headphones there’s a 3.5mm jack socket provided and an HDMI port for additional input flexibility. XGIMI MoGo 2 Pro, £529 RM
A beach bag for life
Not only pleasing on the eye – particularly in the new Alpine Yellow – the Yeti Camino Carryall tote is also hugely practical: with a capacity of 35 litres, it’s made from a tough and waterproof material with an EVA moulded base, so you can hose out sand and debris after use. Yeti Camino 35l Carryall, £150 FS
Go Dyson on a city break
Last spring, Dyson floated the radical notion of combining noise-cancelling headphones with personal air purification. On paper it looked like a mad idea, and the pictures of the prototype looked mad too. Overall, the collective response was one of incredulity – but hey, we once thought similarly about bagless vacuum cleaners, and yet here we are. Just over a year later, the finished product is sitting on my head and covering my nose and mouth, the result of what Dyson describes as the biggest challenge its engineers have ever tackled. How do you miniaturise an air purifier, place the motors into two headphone cups and cancel out the sound of the motors – along with any other environmental hubbub – to create a noise-free, easy-breathing musical experience? Who knows why they’ve done it, but they have. They really have.
It’s hardly the Zone’s USP, but it needs underlining: when noise cancelling is on and the equaliser is set to “neutral” via the MyDyson app, the sound is quite perfect. As regards personal air purification I’ll have to trust the stats, but given Dyson’s three decades in the airflow business and a thumbs-up from an independent lab, I’m happy to do that. When the “visor” (the name they give to the purification attachment) is magnetically clipped to the headphones, you begin to breathe a gentle, cooling stream of air, free of particles measuring more than 0.1 microns across – including pollen – and filtered of acidic gases such as NO2 and SO2. The app tells you how much air and noise pollution surround you, and you’re fully equipped to take action against both.
Yes, it looks bizarre. But while I was wearing it outside London’s Liverpool Street station, a mother and daughter came up to me and asked me for directions without even mentioning it. Maybe the device suffused me with a majestic air of wisdom. I tapped the earcup to turn off noise cancelling, deftly dipped my visor, and pointed them heroically towards the Elizabeth Line. Dyson Zone, £749.99 RM
Having a blast
The Miguel is a brilliant back-to-basics suction-powered water blaster, made even better when you have a pair of them for parent and child. Miguel Water Blaster, €28 FS
A slim and sustainable toothbrush for your soap bag
Billed as the world’s most sustainable electric toothbrush, Suri acknowledges the environmental impact of brushing our teeth: four billion toothbrushes heading to landfill or the ocean every year, unrecyclable plastic parts, excessively wasteful packaging and so on. These brush heads are made from corn starch, the bristles from castor oil and Suri recycles them free of charge for UK and US customers. It has an attractive, slim profile that makes most other electric toothbrushes feel rather chunky, two modes (“everyday clean” or “polish”, depending on your mood) and that’s about it, but who needs bells and whistles? You’re only brushing your teeth, after all. (And with a relatively clear conscience.) Suri toothbrush, from £75 RM
A cool shade
Fatboy’s Miasun Swallows and Amazons-style cotton-canvas canopy creates the perfect beach base camp with three square metres of shade (enough for two adults and two kids). It’s very simple to set up and packs down easily for transport. Fatboy Miasun beach tent, £119 FS