WHO doesn’t love the end of the financial year. It means you can file your tax return and get an influx of money that you can spend at your leisure.
While most people already know what they want to spend their tax money on, if you’re short of ideas, here are five gadgets that promise to make your life better without breaking the bank.
It should come as no surprise that Sennheiser – a company best known for its supreme sound quality – has released noise-cancelling headphones that rival the likes of Sony and Bose.
Dubbed the Sennheiser HD 4.50, the travel-friendly headphones offer active noise-cancellation at just a fraction of the cost.
The lightweight and flexible product has a black and silver colour scheme, with the Sennheiser logo on each side of the headphones.
On the right ear cup, you will find the controls for music playback, power and volume — holding both volume rockers down at once will activate or deactivate the noise cancellation.
While most people will use wireless Bluetooth, the product has a 3.5mm stereo jack and comes with an audio cable in the box.
The headphones are extremely comfortable, with the earcups and headband covered with high quality memory foam.
In terms of sound, the headphones offer deep and powerful bass that you will struggle to find on a lot of competitor models.
When it comes to noise-cancelling, the product uses dual omnidirectional microphones to monitor where ambient sound is coming from and then electronically cancels it out.
The product has a huge battery life of up to 25 hours, which is great news for those travelling.
If you’re looking for mid-range noise-cancelling headphones, the HD 4.5 BTNC headphones are a product worth your time.
2. SAMSUNG POWERSTICK PRO VACUUM — $599
Samsung has developed a reputation for quality household appliances and it’s innovative vacuum cleaners are no exception.
The Powerstick Pro is the company’s latest answer to Dyson’s hugely popular stick vacuum range and it doesn’t disappoint.
Driven by Samsung’s Digital Inverter Motor, the Powerstick Pro delivers up to 150W of suction power which does such a good job at collecting dust, dirt and hair from various floor surfaces, you will be forced to reconsider your definition of clean.
The fantastic cleaning properties of stick vacuums usually come at the cost of battery, which is something Samsung has addressed with this model.
The Powerstick Pro runs on a 32.4V lithium-ion removable power pack that offers an impressive 40 minutes of battery life — additional batteries can also be purchased if you don’t want to wait to finish the cleaning.
Built with convenience in mind, the Powerstick Pro’s handle folds back to 50 degrees so you can reach awkward areas like under the bed or couch without having to strain your wrists or back.
Those with allergies can also rejoice, with Samsung promising 99.9 per cent of the dust collected will stay in the canister thanks to high-efficiency particulate air filtration.
While the Powerstick Pro might be on the more expensive side of vacuum cleaners, the hugely impressive cleaning power and flexibility make it the perfect addition to your home.
3. D-LINK COVR MESH WI-FI SYSTEM — $499
If you’re looking for an affordable solution to fix Wi-Fi dead spots that receive no signal in your home, D-Link’s Covr mesh Wi-Fi system is the product for you.
The product includes three base stations powered by USB-C connectors, which are placed around your home to act as Wi-Fi hot spots to ultimately create a mesh network.
Covr units come pre-paired and are easily to set up using an Android or iOS app, with the system’s Wi-Fi protected set-up button creating an instant connection to new devices without the need to enter new settings or passwords.
Each of the three units also have two on-board gigabit ethernet ports which help free up wireless bandwidth for people using gaming consoles or smart TVs.
The three hot spots are also capable of supplying Wi-Fi access to up to 465sq m, with speeds up to 1200Mbps — during testing I found an improvement of 20-30Mbps in parts of my home where I used to get little or no connection.
The product also uses technology to scan the wireless signal strength and automatically connect your devices to the strongest available signal, meaning you walk from room to room without experiencing a drop in quality.
Additionally, Covr uses multiple user, multiple input, multiple output (MU-MIMO) technology which efficiently handles traffic to multiple devices and multiple streams at the same time.
The product is very discreet for the most part, although the bold “Covr” branding on the top of each base station which illumuiates in the dark is a bit of a let down.
And for parents, the accompanying app allows you to find out what devices are connected to Covr and offers the ability create schedules for when these can and can’t be used.
4. SONY’S HT-CT290 BLUETOOTH SOUNDBAR — $399
If you’re someone like me who loves to watch movies in bed, you might also think you are selling yourself short by using the speakers built-in to your TV.
But no one wants to spend thousands of dollars on an expensive theatre system that will be overkill for a small space like a bedroom, which is why Sony’s HT-CT290 bluetooth soundbar is so good.
The 2.1 channel sound system has a powerful 300W total output and offers a cinematic listening experience from a slim soundbar and versatile two-way subwoofer.
Both the soundbar and subwoofer feature an black body combined with dark mesh, which work together to deliver a clean and refined looking unit that appears more premium than its $399 price tag.
Measuring 90×5.2×8.6cm, the soundbar can easily be placed in front your TV without it obscuring your view, plus there is the option to wall-mount.
The 17×34.2×36.2cm subwoofer is a little more challenging to disguise, although the two-way design means it can be positioned vertically or horizontally.
All of the inputs — optical, HDMI and USB — are hidden on the rear the device, with the unit also offering Bluetooth wireless streaming.
Sony said its offering comes with “S-Force PRO Front Surround” which uses virtual surround sound technology to emulate cinema-style audio.
While it’s not going to be able to match a Dolby Atmos offering or even traditional 5.1 channel surround sound system, the unit is more than sufficient for your bedroom.
At each end of the soundbar are drivers, which deliver a clear mid and High Range, while the wireless subwoofer brings decent lows.
5. FITBIT VERSA — $299
After copping heat for the bulky size of its first smartwatch activity tracker, Fitbit has returned with a fresh design that could easily be worn by both men and women.
The Versa uses the same square watch face as Apple, with curves around the edges to offer a softer appearance.
While it’s only available in a single size, the default case and silicone strap has three different combinations including a black aluminium case and strap, a rose gold case with a peach strap, and a silver case with grey strap — you can also purchase other bands for an additional cost.
The 1.34-inch touchscreen is bright and clear, and has a resolution of 300 by 300 pixels.
Fitbit gives the option to select from a myriad customisable clock faces to meet your own personal tastes, but sadly you will not get the edge-to-edge display of the Apple Watch with the Versa containing a small amount of bezel.
You can expect to get around four days battery life out of the product, with it charging from empty to full in around two hours.
If you’re buying a Fitbit, chances are you’re not using just for its ability to tell you the time.
The Versa obviously measures you daily steps, but it can also record over 15 different exercise modes including cycling, interval training and weight sessions.
And given it’s waterproof up to 50 metres, you can also record swimming.
If you need extra motivation, you can set personalised reminders to ensure you to stay active and hydrated or stick to a sleep schedule — the Fitbit also provides information on how you sleep.
There is also the option to use the Fitbit Coach app, which provides you with video tutorials available to guide you through a series of essential workouts.
It’s worth noting the coach will only offer a few free sample workouts, with users wanting more personalised workouts having to pay for the service.
You can get a set of Sennheiser noise-cancelling headphones when you sign up to this 12-month Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph digital subscription.
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