It’s time for the second in my series of Christmas gift guides, and today I’m focusing on stylish technology that combines sleek Scandinavian looks with handy features to help make daily life a little bit easier.
I’ve taken a slightly different approach to my last gift-guide post as I thought the products warranted a little more explanation. So, here are six present ideas for anyone who likes their gadgets to be as beautiful as they are useful…
Skagen ‘Signatur T-Bar’ hybrid smartwatch
First up is the brand-new ‘Signatur T-Bar’ – one of a range of hybrid smartwatches from Skagen that offer the aesthetics of a normal watch alongside lots of handy extras. It’s one of the slimmest hybrid smartwatches around and it’s incredibly stylish, with an elegant T-bar fitting and a variety of face and strap options (I have the rose gold steel-mesh version). It connects to your phone via Bluetooth and can alert you to calls and messages, track your steps and sleep, and find your phone if you misplace it; you can even use it to control your phone’s camera (ideal for selfies!) and music. There’s also an app which lets you customise which alerts you receive, set personal goals, and assign contacts to each number on the watch dial so you can see at a glance when they get in touch.
‘Signatur T-Bar’ hybrid smartwatch, £195, Skagen
Beoplay ‘A1’ and ‘P2’ portable speakers
Next are the snazzy round-shaped ‘A1’ and oval-shaped ‘P2’ speakers from Bang & Olufsen. They’re the smallest speakers in the Danish brand’s ‘B&O Play’ line of mobile products (4.8cm by 13.3cm and 8cm by 14cm by 2.8cm respectively) and they’re by far the prettiest I’ve ever come across. Available in several colours, they connect wirelessly to any Bluetooth device and produce excellent sound quality. They have battery lives of 10 hours (the ‘P2’) and 24 hours (the ‘A1’) and both are splash- and dust-resistant, making them ideal for travelling and day-to-day use. The ‘P2’ even has smart features which mean you can control it via voice commands and gestures, and personalise it using an app.
Beoplay ‘A1’ portable speaker, £199, and ‘P2’ personal speaker, £149, Bang & Olufsen
Sudio ‘Vasa Blå’ wireless earphones
These Bluetooth earphones from Swedish company Sudio mean you can listen to music and podcasts on the move without getting tangled up in any annoying cables. They have an eight-hour battery life and a range of 10m, and come in a variety of colours – I have the white and rose-gold version and I love their understated look.
‘Vasa Blå’ wireless headphones, £59, Sudio
KREAFUNK ‘toCharge’ powerbank
I rely on portable chargers when I’m out and about at blogger events and design fairs, but most of them are fairly ugly. Not the ‘toCharge’ powerbank by Danish lifestyle brand KREAFUNK. Shaped like a pebble and available in black, dark grey and light grey, it works with phones, tablets, MP3 players, GPS devices and more. At only 7cm by 11cm, it’s small enough to slip into a bag or pocket, but when fully charged its 6000mAh lithium battery has the capacity to charge a phone twice. It comes in a wooden box with a fabric-covered cable and a storage bag, and also has an integrated microchip to prevent over charging, overloading and short circuits.
‘toCharge’ powerbank, £39, KREAFUNK
Le Cord cables
These cables from Swedish company Le Cord make eye-catching alternatives to the standard black- or white-plastic leads that come with phones, chargers and other gadgets. There are fabric-covered Apple-certified iPhone and iPad versions in a huge range of colours (my favourites are rose gold and black and white), plus braided white- and black-leather USB to micro-USB cables with solid-wood connectors.
Le Cord cables, €29.90 to €54.90, Le Cord
P.A.P. ‘KUNGSTEN’ tablet and laptop cover
I know it doesn’t exactly qualify as technology, but this beautiful case from Sweden-based leather-goods company P.A.P. (Premium Accessories by Pyk) is ideal for prettying up laptops and tablets. It’s handmade using ecological Italian felt, with a brass button and a contrasting leather closure strap. It comes in 12-inch, 13-inch and 15-inch versions, all available in light or dark grey; there are also matching phone covers.
‘KUNGSTEN’ tablet and laptop cover, SEK500-550 (around £45-49), P.A.P.
This is a sponsored post with Skagen, but all words and opinions are my own.
Skagen and Sudio images by Abi Dare; all other images via the respective brands named above