Top Tech For Summer
The scuba mask, speaker and smartwatch to pack in your holiday suitcase
According to Professor Stephen Hawking, AI robots could spell the end of civilisation as we know it – unless we colonise another planet within the next 100 years. But it’s summer. So let’s not get bogged down in that whole apocalyptic-robo-bogeyman scenario. Not when there are pool-safe Bluetooth speakers, 007-inspired snorkel masks and flying cameras waiting to amplify your enjoyment of every gleaming ray of holiday sun. Here is the useful, intelligent – and slightly indulgent – tech that will help you see out the summer in style.
The collaborative cans
Master & Dynamic + Leica MW60 Wireless Headphones
Whether you’re jetting off to a sunbaked island, loafing around an infinity pool or hiding from that annoying guy at work who asks questions that any normal person would Google, we can recommend slipping on a pair of Master & Dynamic’s finely-tuned cans. The NYC-based brand has established itself as “the anti-Beats” by impressing well-heeled audiophiles and tech fiends with its craftsmanship, panache and high-fidelity audio (no hokey “earth-shaking” bass). To cement its rising profile, M&D has released a limited-edition capsule collection with Leica – a stylish nod to the two brands’ shared obsession with engineering excellence. The collaboration sees the addition of the Leica red dot, red acoustic ear pad mesh, and custom etching and knurling. Been discouraged by the performance of wireless headphones? These boast four times the average signal range and are guaranteed to sweeten the beat of your favourite summer jam.
THE ULTIMATE SUITCASE
ArloSkye The Carry-On
Announcing your arrival in business class with a squeaky suitcase is guaranteed to elicit a look that says, “Are you sure you’re in the right seat, sir?” Happily, ArloSkye’s high-end carry-on is tagged as “luggage for the design-obsessed” and features whisper-quiet Silent Run wheels. The traditional zip – the first point of failure on any piece of luggage – has been removed and replaced by a sleek, one-touch open/close frame, while the removable high-speed phone charger prevents the need to dig around the back of airport vending machines in search of a power socket. It’s tough, too. The handsome shell is constructed from an anodised aluminium-magnesium alloy that’s 2.3 times stronger than polycarbonate. If you’ve not heard of ArloSkye before, it was founded in 2016 by former Louis Vuitton and Tumi execs who have managed to pack both luxury and functionality into their carry-on. There are bigger sizes coming – and they will be available on MR PORTER later this year.
THE MOBILE MOVIE SCREEN
Flicks Mobile Cordless Boombox Projector (280WH)
This innovative, all-in-one cordless “boombox projector” harks back to Grease-era drive-in movie theatres, heavy petting and waitresses on roller skates. Combining the romance of outdoor summer screenings with cutting-edge wireless technology, the Flicks projector throws out surprisingly good quality 720p HD streamed content from a smartphone or tablet. Find a suitable flat surface (or string up a white sheet between two olive trees) and the 700 LED lens beams out a 100in picture from a distance of just over 8ft. Unlike 1950s drive-ins, which required guests to tune into an FM radio station for dialogue, this device features two custom-designed neodymium drivers with a dynamic range worthy of Mr Charlton Heston. Watching a movie on your phone never looked so good.
THE AUTONOMOUS DRONE
DJI Mavic Pro
It won’t be long before the sky is buzzing with drones dropping parcels down our chimneys. But in the meantime, while there’s still space in the air, you can have some fun with this aerial camera. The DJI Mavic Pro is incredibly portable (it folds up to the size of a water bottle), shoots 4K video with a gimbal-mounted camera and stays airborne for a class-leading 27 minutes per charge. If you’re surfer, it’s worth noting that this model has automatic subject tracking, making for cinematic aerial footage without anyone “steering” the camera. Oh, and if you’ve flown a drone before, you’ll know that a gust of wind can send them crashing to earth like a cheap kite. Not so the Mavic, which features an ingenious FlightAutonomy camera and sensors that allow it hover precisely and dodge airborne obstacles.
THE INDESTRUCTIBLE SPEAKER
The UE Wonderboom is a world-beating, wilderness-friendly wireless speaker. One of this summer’s stand-out accessories, it’s perfect for festivals, all-night beach parties and outdoor adventures. Like it’s older cousin, the Megaboom, the Wonderboom blends portability with rich audio and an IPX7-rating. In layman’s terms that means it’s waterproof, dust-proof and shockproof to a high degree. Drop it in the sea and it floats; submerge it in water up to a metre deep and it will survive for 30 minutes; bury it in sand and it can be rinsed off under a tap. Don’t be fooled by its diminutive size, either. A mighty assemblage of tweeters and drivers pump out 86dB of room-filling, 360-degree sound. And with a battery life of up to 10 hours, we’d wager that the Wonderboom will be partying like a boisterous college kid long after after you’ve hit the hay.
THE BOND-STYLE DIVING GEAR
H2O Ninja Mask GoPro Edition + GoPro Hero5 Session
If there was one thing that Mr Ian Fleming loved – apart from smoking 60 cigarettes a day – it was exploring the private coral reef at his home of Goldeneye in Jamaica. So were he alive today, it’s a sure bet he’d be first in line for one of these revolutionary, full-face snorkelling masks. Blending science-fiction styling with a hint of espionage, the H2O Ninja (not the best name, guys, just FYI) allows the wearer to breathe naturally underwater, through both nose and mouth, instead of sucking on an oversized straw for dear life. As well as affording panoramic views of coral and cetaceans and perhaps people in swimwear, it has a handy mount for a GoPro camera. Affix the new GoPro Hero5 Session to shoot 4K video of your aquatic exploits at a depth of up to 10m (33ft). Crucially, the camera features advanced video stabilisation, thus preventing your footage resembling the inside of a washing machine on spin.
THE SMARTER SMARTWATCH
Montblanc Summit Smartwatch
Most of us aren’t willing to compromise our sartorial code to play Dick Tracy with a bulbous smartwatch. Instead, we want craftsmanship and connectivity. Montblanc’s first foray into the world of wearable tech, the Montblanc Summit, adroitly blends Silicon Valley tech and Swiss mechanical tradition with the best possible results. The 1.4in AMOLED screen, powered by Google’s Android Wear 2.0 operating system, displays one of 10 pre-loaded digital watch faces, which can be easily swapped out for one another with a simple swipe of the finger. The Summit links easily with your phone, While built-in apps include Foursquare, Runtastic and the ever-indispensable Uber. In short, it boasts everything you’d expect of a modern smartwatch, but in a package that feels like the sort of thing you’d expect from a proper watchmaker.