TECH

These Five Tech Wonders Are Guaranteed To Make Your Life Easier

Time and hassle savers, ideal for making urban life that little bit easier.

19/09/2017 10:20 BST | Updated 19/09/2017 10:43 BST

It’s often the case that so-called tech life hacks can actually make life a bit more complicated. But here are five that will genuinely take some of the stress out of your day, and will ultimately save you time and money (and some even help save the environment).

  • Tile Mate
    Tile Mate
    A no-brainer this one. The Tile Mate is a Bluetooth tracker that you can attach to anything you might need to locate. Use it as a key ring and those hours spent frantically turning over the contents of your home in search of your house or car keys are over. Via an app on your phone, you simply press a button and the Tile Mate rings.

    Similarly, if you have access to the Tile Mate but lose your phone, you press a button on the Tile Mate and it causes your phone to ring – this works up to a range of 100ft.

    But what if you attach a Tile Mate to something like a bike or rucksack and this gets lost or stolen and could be miles away? In this instance, the app lets you know the last location the Tile Mate was registered, while also utilising the Tile Mate community at large. If you register the item as lost, when someone else with a Tile Mate comes within Bluetooth range, you will receive an alert notifying you of the location.
  • A portable battery
    Anker
    It’s not the sexiest gadget in the world but it’s the kind of item that could save the day if you find your phone is out of charge precisely when you need it most. There’s a wide range to choose from out there, but you can’t go wrong with something like the Anker PowerCore 1000, which can provide multiple charges to phone or tablet before needing recharging itself.

    Alternatively, if you’re unlikely to be near an electricity source anytime soon, a solar-powered portable battery like the iBeek is capable of charging a smartphone three or four times over.
  • Vacuum robot
    iRobot
    We haven’t quite arrived at the promised land of the robot butler yet, but a machine that does the vacuuming while you put your feet up is certainly moving in the right direction.

    There are a wide variety of models on the market, and some of them are far from cheap, but iRobot’s Roomba range are among the best. Not only does the Roomba adjust its suction power according to the terrain (rug, carpet, hard floor, etc.), you can programme it remotely via your phone, setting it to work while you are out. Using a combination of sensors, it slaloms around furniture and household clutter, picking up fluff and dust, before rehousing itself in its docking station to recharge.  
  • Smappee energy monitor
    Smappee
    Fit the Smappee energy monitor to your fuse box and it communicates with an app on your phone or other device to give you real-time information on electricity usage and cost, as well as providing information that enables you to better understand your consumption habits.

    Combined with their plugs, you also have the ability to turn appliances on and off remotely via the app. Smappee also make gas and water monitors that work in the same way, with the additional bonus of alerting you to any leaks in the system. Ultimately, you could be looking at reducing your energy costs by 30 percent. 
  • Universal remote
    Logitech
    So you’ve got the TV, the TIVO box, the DVD player, the surround system and maybe a streaming device like Apple TV or Google Chromecast. And they’ve all got their own remote controls. Cue spending the next half hour with steam coming out of your ears trying to locate them all, and then a further ten minutes juggling these remotes simply to power up everything in order to watch/surf/play what you want.

    If you added up all the time spent doing this, you’d realise a universal remote was the way forward. Logitech offers the broadest range. At the top end is the Logitech Harmony Elite (£215 approx), which synchronises easily with all your devices, comes with colour touchscreen, voice control and a vast range of settings. But if you want a remote without all the bells and whistles, the Harmony 350 (£40 approx) will do the job perfectly well, and is able to synch up with 225,000 different devices over 5,000 brands.