Sunday, 14 August 2016

Thirty of the best gadgets under £30

Over-ear headphones

Sennheiser HD 201 (£16.99)
Arrestingly reasonable offering from the stately German brand, and they ain’t too hard on the ears either. Click Here!

Gaming controller

Logitech F310 Gamepad (£26.99)
This console-style controller is compatible with a swath of new and classic PC games, as well as “console port” versions. Robustly built, it has the general shape and weight of a PlayStation controller. Click Here!

Video streamer

Google Chromecast (£30) 
This rubbery little dongle forms a wireless bridge between your TV and your phone, tablet or laptop – a cheap shortcut to watching Netflix in comfort. Click Here!


Bresser Topas Pocket (£21)
German optics giant Bresser launched this model last year, aimed at the entry-level twitcher. They’re metal-cased with decent quality roof prisms and they fold down to almost nothing. Click Here!


Logitech Z200 (£27.99)
If you can’t be bothered with fancy wireless gadgets and would rather run your music through a trusty 3.5mm jack, these sleek and beefy mains-powered speakers are a nice, affordable option. Click Here!

Smart lightbulb

LIFX White 800 (£29.99) 
Cheaper than its Philips rival, the “fully dimmable” LIFX bulb is low energy, long lasting and controlled by a smartphone app. Click Here!


McFlip Reversible Micro USB cable (£9.99)
The answer to a million whispered prayers has come in the form of this charging cable, the symmetrical nose of which can be inserted into a charging socket either way up. Click Here!

 Memory bliss: the Sonnics 320GB portable hard drive. Photograph: Suki Dhanda for the ObserverPortable hard drive

Sonnics 320GB (£24.95) 
This unassuming yet capacious external drive has room for a good 64,000 MP3s, or the equivalent in films, game data or photos. It also has an aluminium shell, if you like that kind of thing. Click Here!

Smartphone mic

iRig Mic Cast (£29.99) 
A minuscule unidirectional microphone with a headphone monitor output and adjustable range, the iRig Mic Cast is a godsend for on-the-hoof interviewers and smartphone film‑makers. Click Here!


Nokia 105 (£20)
The 2015 reboot of this adorable Finnish classic remains as popular as ever to smartphone refuseniks. Not much room for texts, but you only need to charge it about twice a month. Click Here!

Bluetooth keyring

Tile (£19.99) 
An updated version of that keyring that beeps when you whistle, the Tile answers to your smartphone like a GPS tracker, allowing you to locate missing keys, recover stolen possessions etc. Conversely, you can also use the Tile to find your smartphone. Click Here!


VonShef Variable Temperature Kettle
Racking your brain for things to buy? Buy this kettle, which can heat water to the precise temperature you require for brewing various niche teas. Click Here!

External battery

Anker Powercore 5000 (£10.99) 
This lipstick-size device contains enough juice to fully recharge a dead smartphone. A useful backup for travelling, hiking etc, it only weighs 134g. Click Here!

USB flash drive

Lexar Professional JumpDrive P20 32GB(£18.99) 
This USB stick contains an encrypted “vault” that protects and, if necessary, erases sensitive files: useful for those given to paranoia or fearful of fraud.

 Wireless for sound: the Goodmans Pebble. Photograph: Suki Dhanda for the ObserverDigital radio

Goodmans Pebble (£29)
This comely digital radio from distinguished British firm Goodmans is a cheery intro to the sometimes pricy world of DAB+.

VR headset

Google Cardboard (£15) 
Even Google was shocked by the success of its fold-out VR headset, which was designed to promote the new technology, rather than sustain it. Five million units of the surprisingly reliable gadget have now been sold. Click Here!

Wi-Fi button

Flic Smart Button (£29.99) 
The powers of this programmable button are limited only by the imagination. Customise it to your personal requirements: call an Uber, order a bhuna, turn up the thermostat, fire up an old series of Lovejoy – the possibilities are endless.

Lightning cable

Anker Powerline 3ft (£12.99) 
Long cables are sometimes a pain but these Anker cables are made from Kevlar and double-braided nylon for extra durability and come with a Velcroed sleeve that enables you to roll them up for storage or to adjust their length.

Clever Dog (£22.99) 
Those who worry about their pets and jewellery might be grateful for this little spy camera, which can stream images through Wi-Fi and alert you remotely if it detects movement.

Audio streamer

Neet AirStream (£23.99)
This device will update your old wired stereo system for the digital age. Connect to your amp and your home Wi-Fi and it will allow you to stream files from your hard drive, iOS or Android device or from streaming services such as Spotify or Apple Music.


Anker Ultra-Slim (£17.99)
Anker again, steadfastly undercutting the big names. This cheap but effective keyboard is thin and light, but with nice responsive keys and reliable Bluetooth connectivity.


Hubsan Q4 Nano (£18.45)
Proudly proclaimed as the smallest quadcopter in the world, the Nano Q4 is 10cm across and covered in garish LEDs. A full charge provides five minutes of airborne mischief.

Fitness tracker

Misfit Flash (£24)
Not the flashiest fitness tracker, the Flash is nonetheless a handsome, water-resistant little rascal that records your steps, calories and sleep via a dedicated app. Click Here!

Bluetooth speaker

JBL Go (£24.99) 
Half the price of the better known Clip model, this Bluetooth speaker is so small you can wear it on a lanyard like a kind of noisy necklace. lick Here!

Ikea Nordmärke (£30) 
If you have a handset with the capacity, there is surely nothing more satisfying than slapping it down on a wireless Ikea charger, done up in tasteful pine. Click Here!

 Brand new toy: the Lomography Konstruktor camera. Photograph: Suki Dhanda for the Observer

Lomography Konstruktor (£25) 
So-called “toy cameras” can produce surprising and artistic results. This one takes 35mm film and they even let you build it yourself. Click Here!

In-ear headphones

SoundMAGIC E10 (£29.95) 
These elegant buds are giving their pricier rivals a few sleepless nights, winning widespread plaudits for their detailed sound. Click Here!

Kitchen scales

Salter Contour 6kg (£29.99) 
A flashy scale that’s accurate to 1g, weighs solid and liquid ingredients and can deal with 6kg loads, for the unusually zealous baker. Available in black, grey or red. Click Here!

Keyboard magnifier

LogicKeyboard XLPrint LogicSkin Keyboard Cover
Eyesight not what it once was? This silicone keyboard cover should reduce your typo count. They come in various sizes and colours including ones that fit Macbooks. Click Here!

USB type C hub

Dodocool Charging Hub(£17.99) 
The controversial new USB Type C port will imminently revolutionise home computing. Be ahead of the trend with this splitter hub, which will allow you to charge your next-generation MacBook through an additional port. Click Here!