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New technology for your home

Our monthly pick of the latest state-of-the-art tech for your home, from air purifiers to artful televisions

mb01 over ear headphones from montblanc
Montblanc
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1 Business-class sound
mb01 over ear headphones from montblanc
Montblanc

Since it launched its first smartly engineered fountain pens in 1906, German firm Montblanc has been synonymous with executive style. In recent years, the brand has expanded its focus beyond the written word and now, with the arrival of the ‘MB01’ headphones, it’s proving as serious about sound as it is about penmanship. In grey, brown or black leather, all offer wireless audio, with up to 20 hours of active noise cancelling and Google Assistant voice control built in. £525, montblanc.com

2 In the night garden
new outdoor lighting collection by philips hue
Philips Hue

Brighter evenings mean more time in the garden, but once the sun goes down, you’ll need lighting. Philips Hue’s new additions to its outdoor range include ‘Appear’, which provides an upwards and downwards beam, ‘Resonate’, for a triangular glow, and the ‘Lily XL’ spotlight, for dramatic illumination. Connect to the Philips Hue ‘Bridge’ for smart control via voice or the app, switching between the 16,000 colour options. £129.99 each, meethue.com

3 Skip to the beat
tangram ‘smart rope’ from the conran shop
The Conran Shop

Sales of indoor gym equipment have surged during lockdown, but for those without space for an exercise bike or the desire to spend 30 minutes with a virtual Joe Wicks, there’s Tangram’s ‘Smart Rope’. LEDs in the rope display fitness data as you skip – satisfying and simple. £80, conranshop.co.uk

4 Find balance
bo beosound balance speaker
Bang & Olufsen

Bang & Olufsen is known for hand-picking the finest cutting-edge designers to elevate its speakers to works of art. For the latest design, the ‘Beosound Balance’, that meant turning to Benjamin Hubert and his UK-based Layer studio. Known for his love of functional minimalism, Hubert has created a portable speaker that’s ideal for modern urban homes. Covered in Kvadrat fabric in beige or black and resting upon a sleek wooden base, it disguises itself on shelves, looking just like an elegant objet d’art. Don’t be fooled, though – it makes some serious noise. £1,750, bang-olufsen.com

5 Switch it up
kelly hoppen light switches for focus sb
Focus SB

Light switches are rarely top of Pinterest searches, but that’s all about to change thanks to interior design legend Kelly Hoppen. Along with British manufacturer Focus SB, she has released five switch plates – the ‘Dot’, ‘Fifty Fifty’, ‘Corner’ (pictured), ‘Pinstripe’ and ‘Plank’ – all with an understated grace. From £60, focus-sb.co.uk

6 The future is bright
dyson light
Dyson

Continuing its mission to reengineer everyday life, Dyson has launched a new lighting range. The ‘Lightcycle Morph’, designed by Jake Dyson (Sir James’s son, above) is, he explains, ‘developed to track natural daylight and intelligently transform for different uses – providing the right light, at the right time, precisely where it’s needed’. That means you get an indirect or ambient glow to match or complement what’s happening outside your window, plus a task lamp that’s always bright enough for the job at hand – all controlled via the free ‘Dyson Link’ app. From £499.99 for the desk lamp, dyson.co.uk

7 Trash talk
townew bin
Knecktek Labs

American company Knectek Labs is tidying up one of the messiest chores in the home with its ‘Townew Trash Can’. Press the sensor on the front of the bin and the bag inside is automatically sealed tight, meaning no dirt or odours when you reach in to remove it. As soon as it’s emptied, a new bag slides effortlessly into place from the ‘Refill Ring’ – each one contains 25 fully recyclable bags. Bin, £93; ‘Refill Ring’, £15, plus shipping, hellotownew.com

8 Live lightly
plumen lampshade tech
Plumen

When it comes to creating sustainable products, UK brand Plumen has had a light-bulb moment. Partnering with east London-based 3D printing firm Batch.works, it has released two lampshades – three more designs are planned for this year – made entirely from recycled plastic. As they are printed to order, waste is kept to an absolute minimum. Both the ‘Neo’ (pictured) by Matthias Lauche and ‘Ribbon’ by Bold show the exciting possibilities of this smart production method. From £149 for the ‘Neo’ with ‘Milky Willow’ LED bulb, plumen.com

9 Hear and now
amazon echo buds
Amazon

Fans of Amazon’s Alexa can now ask her anything, even on the go. The new ‘Echo Buds’ (£119.99) are wireless in-ear headphones with the smart assistant built in. Just press and hold one of the earbuds to ask for her help with answering a burning question, writing a text, calling a friend, playing a song or checking your calendar. A customisable fit means they will stay in even during exercise, with 20 hours of audio on a full charge. amazon.co.uk

10 Turn up the minimalism
OD-11 speaker by Teenage Engineering is a speaker with a minimalist look
Teenage Engineering

In 1974, Swedish sound pioneer Stig Carlsson created the ‘OD-11’, a small speaker with outstanding sound quality. Today, the design, aka the ‘Carlsson Cube’, has been updated by Teenage Engineering for a new breed of audio fans, its simple wireless style speaking volumes. From £699 teenage.engineering

11 Finely-crafted sound
Ruark X Linley Tempo radio
Ruark

What do furniture brand Linley and audio firm Ruark have in common? They’re both British, and they both see the value in fine craftsmanship. Their first collaboration, the limited-edition ‘Ruark X Linley Tempo’ DAB radio is a showcase of these similarities. Each of the four colourways features delicate marquetry inspired by soundwaves. £1,295, ruarkaudio.com

12 Smarter than Edison
Philips Hue Filament bulbs for smart homes
Philips Hue

Philips has taken inspiration from the past with its newest smart lighting range. The ‘Hue Filament’ smart bulbs offer all the benefits of the brand’s existing connected bulbs – controlled via your phone’s Bluetooth or voice via Alexa – while producing a vintage, softer glow. There are three shapes, from the classic ‘Edison’ (£19.99) and rounded ‘Filament’ (£17.99) to the ‘Globe’ (pictured, £24.99), which looks good enough to be left bare meethue.com

13 Artful TV
Bang & Olufsen’s Beovision Harmonytelevision
Bang & Olufsen

Offering more than just a pristine picture, Bang & Olufsen’s ‘Beovision Harmony’ television conceals much of its 77-in OLED display behind its elegant oak and aluminium sound system, but switch it on and the speakers gracefully fan out – like a butterfly opening its wings – as the cinematic screen rises to the perfect viewing height. £20,000 bang-olufsen.com

14 Unlocking potential
Key organiser with GPS tracker by Ekster
Ekster

A messy key fob indicates a disordered mind. Tidy yours with the ‘Key Organiser’ (£15) by Ekster. It holds up to seven keys and, when paired with the ‘Key Tracker’ (£22), means you’ll never misplace them again – you can pinpoint their exact location via the accurate in-app ‘Lost & Found’ feature ekster.com

15 Wonder wall
The Wall television by Samsung
Samsung

As the technology to hide TVs in plain sight advances, the temptation to opt for a supersized screen is increasing – and there’s none bigger than ‘The Wall’ by Samsung. The innovative display can be as large as you choose; its modular LCD panels combining to create a bespoke television. The picture quality will ensure a cinematic experience and, when you switch it off, it can transform into a customisable canvas to display your favourite art or blend chameleon-like with your wall. Price on application samsung.com

16 Purity project
Larq bacteria-killing reusable water bottle
Larq

Single-use plastics are bad, but reusable bottles often develop a smell over time. The ‘Larq’ is different – it uses a bacteria-killing UV-C light, powered by a rechargeable battery, to purify water and itself. Activated every two hours, the sterilising rays ensure your drink is always fresh. Plus, its double insulation ensures cool fluids remain chilled and hot ones toasty for up to 24 hours. £95 livelarq.co.uk

17 Forged by sound
Upcrafted speakers by Transparent Sound
The Conran Shop

‘We aimed to investigate to what extent a speaker can also be a design object,’ says Per Brickstad, head of design at Transparent Sound, the Swedish brand behind the ‘Upcrafted’ speakers. The range, available at The Conran Shop, features three devices made by skilled craftspeople – ‘Steel’ by Swedish blacksmith Jonas Majors, ‘Wood’ by Stockholm’s Dry Studios and ‘Stoneware’ by French ceramicist Hortense Montarnal. From £1,300 conranshop.co.uk

18 What’s the catch?
Courant Catch:2 wireless charging pad for iPhone and Android devices
Courant

Avoid low battery anxiety with Brooklyn-based brand Courant’s ‘Catch:2’ wireless charging pad. The device is so stylish – now available in ‘Dusty Rose’ (above) and ‘Pacific Blue’ – you’ll want one on your desk, your bedside table, in your kitchen… everywhere. Boosting battery life is as easy as placing a smartphone (Qi-enabled) on its Italian leather surface. £160 staycourant.com

19 Suite sound
Formation Suite audio system by Bowers & Wilkins
Bowers & Wilkins

Bowers & Wilkins’ striking ‘Formation Suite’, a luxury audio system for the whole home, promises to banish wires and deliver noticeably pure sound. The individually designed pieces (speakers, soundbar and hub) stream audio with up to 24-bit resolution. Compatible with Apple AirPlay 2 and Spotify Connect. From £600 bowerswilkins.com

20 Smarter shade
Ikea smart blinds
Ikea

Continuing its foray into smart products, Ikea has released wi-fi-connected blinds. Operate them via a remote control or invest in the ‘Trådfri’ gateway (£25) to control them with your voice or smartphone using the ‘Trådfri’ app. The black-out ‘Fyrtur’ is available in five window sizes, with the sheer ‘Kadrilj’ due to be launched next year. And with a built-in rechargeable battery, there’s no wiring required. From £115 ikea.com

21 Show and tell
Google Nest Hub Max smart display
Google

Google’s ‘Nest Hub Max’ smart display is a voice assistant that answers in visuals as well as audio. The 25cm matt display is big enough for squint-free video calls, can be gesture controlled and it features a camera for home security monitoring. £219 store.google.com

22 Clean air act
Blue 221 air purifier by Blueair
Blueair

This whisper-quiet Swedish home air purifier will help you breathe as nature intended. The 51cm-high ‘Blue 221’ by Blueair comes wrapped in a choice of fabrics and is simple to use – there’s only one button. £355 blueair.com

23 Throw some Shapes
Teufal Audio and Rosenthal speakers
Teufel Audio

Audio brand Teufel has collaborated with ceramics expert Rosenthal to combine state-of-the-art wireless speakers with fine porcelain – it not only looks good, but the material is so dense it actually reduces audio distortion. Blending craftsmanship with cutting-edge touch-sensitive controls, each pair comes with an external amplifier wrapped in a matching white coat. £3,490 teufelaudio.com

24 Stream Queen
Sony ‘XG95’ television
Sony

Slender and artfully crafted, the Sony ‘XG95’ is one of the first of a new breed of ‘Netflix Calibrated’ 4K LED TVs, designed to display the streaming service’s films and TV shows in handsome ‘studio master’ quality. Built-in Google Assistant means you can ditch the remote and use your voice. £2,499 for a 65-inch model, sony.co.uk

25 Set the Scene
Nuimo ‘Click’ Philips Hue lighting
Senic

Control smart home devices – such as Philips Hue lighting – with the tactile Nuimo ‘Click’. Alter your mood at the touch of a button – the wireless switch can soften lights and activate your favourite music playlist. Plus, it never needs charging. Instead, it gathers energy from every press.£159, senic.com

26 Sound Effect
‘Symfonisk’ wi-fi speakers by Ikea
Ikea

Ikea’s teamed up with Sonos to furnish our homes with sound. The dual-functioning ‘Symfonisk’ wi-fi speakers come in two models; a wall-mounted shelf version and a table lamp with a blackor white fabric-wrapped speaker as its base. Each has AirPlay 2 – for streaming directly from Mac devices – and Spotify connectivity built in, plus two of the same speakers can be linked for stereo audio. From £99, available August, ikea.com

27 Fire at your Fingertips
Everdure by Heston 4K Outdoor Electric Ignition BBQ Cooker
John Lewis

Heston Blumenthal has reinvented the barbecue for smart homes. Requiring no matches or lighter fluid, the ‘Everdure by Heston 4K Outdoor Electric Ignition BBQ Cooker’ ignites witha touch of the ‘fire’ symbol. Inside, probes sync with your smartphone to report live temperature data and ensure food is succulent rather than singed. £1,799, John Lewis

28 Breath of Fresh Air
Pure Cool Me fan by Dyson
Dyson

According to Dyson, all manner of harmful particles are flying around inside our homes, making them up to five times more polluted than the air outside. The brand’s solution: a space-age personal purifying fan. Its ‘Pure Cool Me’ traps 99.95 per cent of airborne nasties, such as pet allergens, bacteria and cooking fumes, with an activated carbon and glass HEPA air filter. Touch the dome to angle a jet of clean air towards your face, or set it to rotate on a warm night. £300, dyson.co.uk

29 Mind, Body and Scroll
Samsung smartphone
Samsung

Samsung is bringing a touch of (much-needed) mindfulness to the selfie-obsessed age of the smartphone. The company’s latest handsets come with ‘Calm’, a relaxation app that provides guided meditation, soothing sounds and audio-led exercises, plus softly-spoken sleep stories to help you transition from a hectic day to a restful night. Free, samsung.com

30 Private Screening
BenQ’s 'GV1’ portable projector
Benq

The popularity of streaming apps, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, has given rise to a boom in portable projectors. BenQ’s stylish ‘GV1’ fits in to the palm of your hand and doubles as a portable Bluetooth speaker. Its three-hour battery life will sate your appetite for binge watching, as well as proving useful when following cookery or yoga videos. £329, benq.com

31 Sparkling Design
Carbonator II by Aarke
Aarke

Swedish start-up Aarke’s aim is to make kitchen appliances beautiful. Its debut product, the ‘Carbonator II’ sparkling water maker, is a compact, elegantly refined takeon the SodaStream, available in copper, black, steel or brass. From £169, aarke.com

32 Shine On
‘Mini Day & Dusk’ lightbulb
Apple

LIFX is on a mission to make smart bulbs even smarter. To boost wellbeing, the Wi-Fi-connected ‘Mini Day & Dusk’ cycles through a natural light spectrum. Wake to soft whites, work to bright tones and relax to calming amber hues that dim at a pre-set bedtime. Opt for a single bulb or, for maximum Zen, an entire network. £28 each, Apple, apple.com/uk

33 Blind Ambition
 						‘iQ’ app-controlled blinds by Bloc Blinds
Bloc Blinds

Thanks to beautiful textiles and smart technology, roller blinds are back. Bloc’s ‘iQ’ app-controlled blinds open and close at the swipe of a smartphone. Need help measuring up? The brand’s design team offers bespoke consultations – via video call, of course. From £225, blocblinds.co.uk

34 Sleeping Beauty
Casper Glow Light
Casper

Sleep cycles are dictated by light, yet most lighting isn’t designed to help us sleep. Casper’s ‘Glow Light’ addresses this anomaly, dimming like a sunset to ease your body into sleep mode. It’s intuitive to use, too – flip it over to turn it on or off, androtate it to increase or reduce the amount of illumination. £89 casper.com

35 Charged Design
Pink Jesmonite wireless mobile phone charger with Apple Mac, keyboard, mouse and iPhone
Native Union

The new ‘Terazzo Edition’ of Native Union’s sleek ‘Dock’ wireless charger takes this on-trend material into the tech realm. The ‘Black’ and ‘Rose’ (pictured) jesmonite discs make a stylish home for your phone. It works with all Qi-compatible devices, including the latest iPhones. £130, nativeunion.co.uk

36 Clear your Desk
Samsung monitor mounted flush to wall with monitor stand on desk
Samsung

Samsung’s ‘Space Monitor’ is a stylish way to declutter your home office. The display features an adjustable tilting arm that provides effortless close-up views, or can be pushed flush against the wall. It’s available in either 27-inch QHD or 32-inch 4K resolution, and the cables are hidden in the arm to enhance the minimalist aesthetic. £400, available June, samsung.com

37 Sleep Easy
Google assisted Smart Clock by Lenovo
Lenovo

Stress, caffeine and, soon, a final season of Game of Thrones to binge-watch – there are many reasons why you may not be getting enough sleep. Lenovo’s ‘Smart Clock’ aims to help you by bringing Google Assistant into your boudoir. With a single command – ‘Hey Google, goodnight’ – it can dim your smart lighting and serenade you with music. £79, lenovo.com

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