Outdoor Gadget Reviews

150-bw-ellaGadget Girl Ella has joined the TOG team as the go-to person for expert commentary on the subject, explaining the latest technological devices and applications in a comprehensive fashion.

Gadgets to get you Fit

We know we should eat less and move more, but do you know what *she says through a mouthful of chocolate biscuit*, getting motivated can be tough. I’ve been through a number of fitness bands and trackers in my time and I have to say that whilst the functionality can be impressive, having a big chunk of black plastic on my wrist isn’t my idea of style. If I want to accurately track my daily exercise, I need something I am happy to wear all the time, something that looks good, which I have found with the Withings ActivitE range.

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I’ve been testing the ActivitE Pop. It looks like a traditional analogue watch, no digital screens or complex buttons, just a nice classic watch face. The watch face sports a subtle exercise dial spanning 0-100 (%) – again, analogue – that shows you how much of your daily exercise target you’ve achieved. To me it’s like a fuel gauge, I know at a glance if I’m miles away from target, a kick up the gluts to move more. Pop syncs via Bluetooth LE to your smartphone and tracks your steps, sleep, calories burnt and general exercise levels. You can input additional sports and food you’ve eaten for an extra accurate assessment of your day.

Vivitar DVR 914HD Action Cam

This week I’ve been messing around with the Vivitar DVR 914HD Action Cam.

The beauty of the Action Camera category is that you can capture moments and memories in environments that you would never dream of pulling out your traditional camera or smartphone. So that’s wet environments, dirty environments, sandy environments and on rugged terrain. So regardless of whether heli-skiing or country walks in the British elements is your bag then an Action Camera is a great shout.

The one I have been using this week is from Vivitar – a Californian company that have been specialising in optics and camera accessories for nearly 80 years. As well as coming with various mounts for your helmet, bike and an under-water casing – it will record videos in both full HD and 4K plus stills in 16MP.

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One of the key benefits that this camera has over some of the competitors in the category – for the price – is that it has a preview screen. The little 2.4″ screen allows you to actually see what you are capturing and playback footage when you are on the go.

A nifty WiFi button allows you to connect the camera to an Apple or Android device. You can wirelessly control the camera from within the WiFi range and even put it into Time Lapse or Slo Mo mode.

The underwater housing is a real favourite of mine. Great for fun family snaps in the pool on hols and also loving it as a Doggie Cam. Here is a vid of the gorgeous Bella the Dog having her Bond Girl moment coming out of the water.

She’s Electric: Biking

18th February 2016
It is fascinating, not to mention exciting, for me to watch the transition from a world where transport is powered by fuel alone,  and seeing it become increasingly eco-friendly and electrically powered.

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Now my family have always been early adopters and my parents (in their 60s and 70s) have fully embraced the electric car. The car isn’t perfect and has seen them be towed from a motorway lay-by more than once, but as with any newer technology the electric car is still a work in progress and that progress is very exciting indeed.

Over in California, inventor Storm Sondors has proudly announced his own electric vehicle, a bike – and this bike is billed as “the lightest, fastest and most affordable electric vehicle available”. The electric bike is called ‘Thin’ and will launch to market in May this year for around £350. It has already almost quadrupled its initial $100,000 crowd-funding target on Indiegogo and looks incredibly sleek and streamlined.

Electric bicycles are seriously versatile. They are great not only for tackling a daily working commute to eliminate excessive sweating in your finery, but they are also fantastic for exploring the great outdoors. Hills happen and we are glad they do as they are beautiful to admire – not so beautiful to pedal up. Electric bikes can free your energy up to really open your eyes and take in the nature around you.

Thin has an impressive spec for its price tag. It will travel at 20mph, provides 20 miles on a single charge from its lightweight Panasonic single cell battery, sports a lean aluminium frame, a 350W motor and, crucially, an extremely easy to navigate set of controls. Roll on May…