What’s our top gadget of the year? Matthew Herbst gives you the lowdown
Gadget of the year: Go-Pro-fessional
With 2014 being all about on-the-go video, it was obvious that Go-Pro would steal the show. This year saw Go-Pro come back with its biggest hit, The Hero 3+ black edition. Video in action couldn’t be easier. Unlike it’s predecessor, this one is 20 per cent smaller and lighter making it easier to clip onto your helmet. It’s also the perfect companion for capturing scuba adventures but beware, it’s only waterproof up to 40 metres. A big selling point of this gadget is that the Wi-Fi-enabled, adrenaline-fuelled camera also comes with a remote that can control the Hero 3+ from an impressive 180m away for even more creative freedom. R0237 from gopro.com
Runner-up: Runner Up
Mention a drone to anyone this year and the answer you’ll get? “Of course, I have one.” Drones are fast becoming as common as mobile phones and therefore a definite runner-up for 2014. The AR.Drone 2.0 Power Edition Quadricopter is the best development of 2014 from Parrot’s world of hi-tech flying gadgets. Advanced, ready to fly and Wi-Fi controlled, you can easily navigate it with your smartphone or tablet. The two high-density lithium polymer batteries provide a lengthy 36 minutes of flying time. The best part is that this power-packed machine features a high-definition camera with video recording and flight data sharing, meaning you no longer need to strap your expensive iPhone to it’s base. It costs RO207 and can even perform 360-degree flips on command – if you are an experienced pilot. www.amazon.com
Almost a winner, but still one of the best of 2014. The head-mounted Sony HMZ-T3W Personal 3D Viewer is your own personal home cinema system where you can experience truly immersive entertainment. The viewer offers clear 360º audio thanks to its 7.1-channel surround sound. The headset includes wireless connectivity and a near-zero screen response time, making it ideal for gamers. Check it out at www.sony.com. RO384
Luminaid Inflatable Light Bag
In Oman, we are blessed with plenty of sun, spectacular outdoor activities and camping opportunities. These make the Luminaid Inflatable Light Bag an absolute must when relaxing with friends on dark dunes. The bag is lightweight, waterproof, dustproof and an ideal camp-mate, shedding light on your campground. RO13.45 from firebox.com
Not a winner, but worthy of being one of our best picks of 2014. Year after year, our life schedules get heavier, so thinking about clean windows is usually the last chore on our minds. The Winbot Robot Window Cleaner with cleaning solution just made 2015 easier. Simply fill the bot, attach it to a window and press the power button. It cleans your windows in three stages: spray, squeegee and wipe. Check out www.ecovacs.com; RO153 amazon.com
One for the kids
A winner in Y’s eyes because nothing beats the beauty of a night sky. The Orion SpaceProbe 3 AZ Reflector Telescope and starter kit is a great kit for children who want to explore the Moon, the rings of Saturn and the moons orbiting Jupiter. It is easy to set up and, best of all, very affordable. Included in the starter kit is a 76mm aperture reflector, a map to discover the names of craters and features of the Moon. It also comes with a Star Target planisphere, which is a star chart to understand it all. Available at www.amazon.com, from RO45.81.
Best of New:
For Panasonic, 2014 will mostly be remembered for being the year the brand pulled the plug on its prestigious plasma TVs, which sent fans into a buying frenzy. However, later in the year it unveiled an even better product in the form of The AX800 edge LED series, which is a winner when it comes to quality, especially when it comes up against some tough competition. RO1,204.18
App of the year:
Why not leave your mark for 2014 and use your smartphone to record your lasting moments, just like the 15 million people currently using Magisto. The clever App analyses your photos and videos and then crafts them together into an edited movie ready to close 2014 off nicely. Free on iOS and Android.