From smiley domestic robots, to digital assistants that obey your every command, it seems the shops are heaving with amazing bits of tech this summer. Here are four of the best.
By Laith Abou-Ragheb
Amazon seems well ahead of its rivals in the race to get digital assistants into our homes. You can ask this Alexa-enabled speaker to do everything from playing your favorite music tracks and reading out the latest news headlines, to turning your living room lights on and off and ordering a pizza or even an Uber. A smaller and cheaper version is also available in the form of Echo Dot.
The Bottom Line: The Echo provides an exciting glimpse into our always-connected future.
Asus says this cute, Internet-enabled robot will provide “companionship, assistance, and entertainment” for all the family. As well as being able to whizz about your home independently, responding to voice commands, playing music and reminding you to do the laundry, Zenbo, which is fitted with a camera, can recognize faces, take photos, and make video calls. But best of all, Asus say it can learn your preferences and express various emotions thanks to its inbuilt AI.
The Bottom Line: It might look like a children’s toy, but Zenbo is actually a sophisticated bit of kit that could become an indispensible part of your home.
With a peak power output of 2×140 watts, this Bluetooth speaker packs a punch way beyond its diminutive size. And typically for a Bang & Olufsen product, the sleek A1 is beautifully cast from aluminum. The whole impressive package is topped off with luxurious leather handle and an impressive 24-hour battery life.
The Bottom Line: The A1 offers high standard audio and build quality. But be warned, it comes with a hefty price.
Apple iPad Pro 9.7
If like many of us you deemed the gargantuan 12.9-inch iPad Pro a little too unwieldy, then you should find the 9.7-inch version much more manageable. Though it occupies a much smaller footprint, it still manages to pack the same impressive processing power as its bigger brother thanks to the inclusion of the same powerful A9X chip, and Apple have even fitted a screen that’s now 25 percent brighter.
The Bottom Line: If you’re in the (shrinking) market for a tablet, then this really is state of the art.
Price: From $600