5G phone networks are finally arriving in Europe, though so far only major cities such as London and Lisbon are getting the new service. 5G brings broadband to your mobile phone, so you can watch movies, play games and do serious work while you are out and about.
Smartphone makers are launching new 5G models at all price points. The Sony Xperia 1 II weighs in at the eye-watering end, at over €€1,000 sim-free, but it is an outstanding phone with a serious camera and a wide screen that makes watching video or playing games just like the TV.
That wide screen does make the unit feel tall and thin in the hand, but many people will find that more comfortable to hold. The camera is based on Sony’s a9 professional camera, and offers lots of specialist features such as continuous autofocus and autoexposure making for top quality video. The three main camera lenses give ultra-wide angle and telephoto capabilities. The app provides lots of manual settings for those who want total creative control. worten.pt
If you want 5G but regard a grand as too much to pay, the Motorola Moto G 5G Plus costs from €398.40. It doesn’t have the Sony’s premium design but it looks good and sports four lenses in its forward-facing camera wide angle, a 48 megapixel main camera, a macro lens for close-ups and a depth sensor. Unusually, it also has two selfie cameras, one for regular self portraits and the other wide angle for groups. All in all, a very capable phone for not much money. greatecno.com/pt
Now the world works from home, laptops are selling briskly again, but the main interest today is in hybrids, laptops with screens that fold right round so you can use them like a tablet. Ideal for working on the sofa and, of course, you can pay as much or (almost) as little as you like. At the upper end at around €1,940 comes the new HP Spectre x360 13. Its main selling point is the sparkling 13in amoled screen which makes watching videos a huge pleasure. Sadly, however, it has no graphics card so gaming performance is slow. And the rather odd angular styling may not appeal to everyone. fnac.pt
At the budget end, the Acer Chromebook Spin 311 costs around €272. The screen is only 11in, but that makes the unit compact and ideal for travel. It is robust, with a Gorilla glass screen. You do have to accept the limitations of Chrome OS, but these are now far fewer than they used to be (working offline is not a problem) and the new ability to install Android apps brings a new flexibility. At the price, it is a winner. fnac.pt
The demand for ultra-slim designs of phone and computer has been a major challenge for audio engineers, because you need physical space to create decent sound. Bluetooth speakers have become a best-selling category as a result. The new Kitsound Diggit 55 Bluetooth Speaker is designed for the garden or patio as well as indoor use, featuring a removable spike so you can drive it into the lawn or flowerbed to hold it securely above the ground in the best location for filling the area with music. An auto-equaliser feature enables you to optimise the sound for your garden by simply pressing a button – very clever. And if you want stereo, you can link another Diggit 55 unit to it by simply touching them together. It is stylishly finished in wood and fabric, but waterproof and dustproof with it. At €40 it is excellent value. amazon.de
If you want great audio without annoying everyone else in the house, the new Klipsch Earphones are a not-too-expensive (€200) way to get great sounds. They are designed for comfort, with elliptical rubber cups to fit the shape of the ear canal better. A huge range of cup sizes is provided so everyone should get a perfect fit. The speakers themselves are exceptionally large for audiophile sound quality, and the antennas are cleverly mounted externally in a metal band round the outside casing for the best possible Bluetooth 5 reception. klipsch.com
Electric scooters are about to become a must-have aid for short journeys, especially in town, where they are convenient, reasonably speedy and a whole lot of fun. Plus, they are solo machines so social distancing is not a problem, which is why they will become legal on British roads soon.
The Pure Air Pro e-scooter was designed by Brits for British weather, so it is waterproof and also dustproof which will be handy in the Algarve, too. Its 10in wheels with pneumatic tyres makes it capable of handling most city obstacles, and the wheels even come ready-filled with puncture-prevention fluid.
The scooter is heavier than most, but is also capable of carrying a heavier person – up to 120kg, and speaking as a rather tall person I find that a big advantage. The weight also helps keep the scooter stable. At €760 it is on the pricey side but it is worth it for the quality construction. pureelectric.com
If a city scooter is not for you, how about a scooter for the sea? The Sublue Seabow Underwater Scooter is a sort of handlebar with an electric propulsion unit at each end. Hold on, press the button and you can reach speeds of up to 7kph and down to a depth of 40m for more than an hour on one battery charge. It is fitted with camera mounts to record your fishy adventures. It costs over €1,299 but is about as much fun as you can have with a wet suit on amazon.de
One of the major annoyances of modern life is running out of battery while out and about, so €50 is not a lot for peace of mind on that front. The new Belkin Pocket Power 10K is a spare battery with enough juice to recharge the average phone three times, while being light and compact enough to pop in your bag or pocket without noticing too much. fnac.pt
The item we touch most of all is probably our smartphone (at least, mine is, judging by the fingerprints all over it.) So it makes sense to sanitise it regularly, which is exactly what the UV Sanitizer from Invisible Shield aims to do. Just place your phone inside, close the lid and it is bathed in UV light for a few minutes to blitz all those pesky viruses and other microbes, including any hiding in nooks and crannies. You can also use it on your keys, remotes and other small objects. It is powered by a USB-C cable so it is eminently portable. Around €50. amazon.de
Words: Chris Partridge