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Jonathan Margolis, technology writer for the Financial Times and BA Business Life, chooses six products worth adding to anyone’s tech-to-check list
If you like making handwritten notes in meetings, but don’t want more paper cluttering up your office, this smart pen system from Montblanc (£530) is simple, effective and elegant. As long as you use the special Montblanc paper, the adapted Starwalker ballpoint stores your writing internally, then downloads it to a phone or tablet when you choose. If your writing is neat, it will also turn it quite accurately into type.
Apart from being sleek and beautiful, this smart carry-on travel case (£290) is packed with clever tech. There’s a Bluetooth bag locator that works from a companion phone app, a 7,800 mAh battery with two USB ports and a micro USB for charging a mobile device, and an integrated scale that gives you an exact readout on your phone of the case’s weight.
Many mobile operators have pared down roaming charges, but using your phone overseas remains a minefield. Several dongles offer access to local data at more sensible rates, but none is as sophisticated as the Goodspeed (from £198) from Finland. A single Goodspeed can hold ten destination SIM cards, providing fast 4G at reasonable rates. Bonus: the battery lasts a full working day.
The first fully Google-designed smartphones, the Pixel (from £599) and the bigger Pixel XL, have established themselves as among the best Android devices available. With a distinct resemblance to the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, the Pixels are a little cheaper, with a better camera and screen. Google’s voice command system – Google Assistant – is at the top of its game.
It’s established that webcams can send you reliable live-streaming video of your home or office when you’re on a trip, but France’s Netatmo has a new trick up its techie sleeve. The Presence (£250) outdoor security cam/floodlight combination can tell you – wherever you are in the world – whether the entity lurking around your house/garden shed/boat house is a person, an animal or a vehicle.
These may look like a pair of the new wave of non-connected wireless earbuds, but they are more. Here One (£260) can be used as traditional headphones, but their special power is that, in combination with a phone app, they can ‘edit’ the sounds around you. Want to tune out noise while you work on the go? No problem.