Spring has (finally) sprung, but just because you’ll be spending more time in the Great Outdoors doesn’t mean there aren’t great gadgets to help keep you entertained, organized and in touch with family and friends.
In fact, there are dozens of new tech toys for on-the-go Canadians and something for all tastes and budgets.
The following is a look at a half-dozen recommendations.
1. Thin Is In
Whether it’s your first or next iPad (from $429 for 9.7-inch version), Apple’s latest model features a gorgeous multi-touch “Retina” display, powerful A10 Fusion chip and now supports Apple Pencil for those moments you want greater precision (like writing, drawing sketching, or colouring).
A camera graces each side of the device: the main (rear) 8-mepagpixel lens is ideal for taking photos, recording videos and for augmented reality experiences, while the front-facing HD camera is perfect for FaceTime video calls with friends and family. This thin and durable tablet with all-day battery life supports more than a million apps available on the App Store.
2. All in the Wrist
One of the hottest activity trackers, Fitbit Alta HR (from $199) is a slim and stylish wristband that monitors your steps, distance, calories burned and heart rate and gives friendly reminders to move.
Fitbit Alta HR also includes SmartTrack automatic exercise recognition, which gives you credit for being active, while optional smartphone notifications keep you connected throughout the day. Tailor your look for any occasion with interchangeable metal, leather, and classic bands. By night, Alta HR automatically tracks your sleep and shows your time spent in light, deep and REM sleep.
3. Lay Me Some Skin
Why should your smartphone look like everyone else’s? Instead, decorate your device with high-quality skins from Toronto-based Gelaskins (from $20) that affix to the back of your favourite gadget – a smartphone, tablet, ebook reader or laptop — to give them unique flare. You can also download free matching wallpaper to display behind your phone, tablet or laptop’s icons. A percentage of each sale goes to the artist, plus you can upload your own design to create a custom one-of-a-kind skin – such as a family photo.
4. Lost and Found
While you might not admit it, you could probably benefit from a gadget like this: Tile Mate ($69 for 4-pack) is a small white Bluetooth-enabled tracker that you stick or attach to everyday items that are often misplaced like house keys, a wallet or purse.
If one of the items are misplaced, the user simply logs into the Tile Mate app, selects the device in question and follows the sound of the alert emitted by the tracker.
On the flip side, if you can’t find your phone, double-tap your Tile Mate to make your lost phone ring. It even works when your phone is on silent. You’re welcome.
5. Sound Advice
Who says you need to break the bank for a sweet pair of wireless headphones?
The Sony WHCH500 On-Ear Headphones ($119) sound great, thanks to its 30 mm drivers, and they’re comfortable to wear even for long periods of time. Simply pair these Bluetooth headphones with your favourite smartphone, tablet or laptop, and enjoy up to 20 hours of playback between charges, at home or on the go. The built-in microphone lets you make hands-free calls and allows for you to talk to your smartphone’s voice assistant.
6. Remote Possibilities
Keep an eye on your home, even when you’re not there. It’s a cinch to do so with the D-Link Wi-Fi Indoor Mini HD Security Camera 2-Pack ($119).
Standing less than 10 cm tall, this pair of compact wireless cameras records video in high definition, with a 120-degree wide-angle lens, and even supports night vision up to five metres away. As soon as these cameras detect sound or motion, you’ll receive alerts on your smartphone, plus you can save live footage by pressing the record button on the free Mydlink app. A built-in microphone lets you hear what’s going on at home, too.