If you’re a tech junky like me, you doubtlessly like to include gadgets in every aspect of your life – even your downtime. The good news is that there are plenty of fun ways to inject tech into your hobbies; be it sports, photography or simply reading a book.
With that in mind, here are nine products that will add an all-new dimension to your favourite things to do.
This tech roundup is brought to you by Officeworks. Inspiration is calling these holidays, and at Officeworks you’ll find everything you need to start that personal project.
The following tech products are designed to compliment a wide range of hobbies popular in Australia. Whether you're a die-hard enthusiast or looking to give a new hobby a go for the first time, you'll find something here to enhance the experience. Inspiration is calling! And the best part is that you can find every last one of them in the one place at Officeworks.
As any seasoned hiker will tell you, a good power bank is important to have in your backpack. Even if you prefer to switch off from technology and embrace the nature around you, you're going to want a way to communicate in the event of an emergency.
Comsol's 6000mAh Slim Dual Port Powerbank is a good option for your next bushwalk: it comes with a pair of USB ports so you can charge two mobile devices simultaneously and has a compact design for easy storage. It will extend the battery life to your smartphone by up to 220%, making it perfect for multi-day camping trips.
While there has been some divided opinions on the AirPods in the past, it's hard to deny just how good the sound is on these bad boys.
Driven by the custom Apple W1 chip, AirPods use optical sensors and a motion accelerometer to detect when they’re in your ears.
Apart from sound, the best thing about the AirPods is the way they instantly turn on and connect to your device when you pull them out of the charging case. They also boast five hours of listening time on one charge. They're the perfect accessory for musos on-the-go (especially if you happen to also love Apple.)
If your hobby involves sports and/or exercise, the Fitbit Charge 2 is a great choice. It provides the advanced features of a smartwatch with the portability of a fitness band, essentially giving you the best of both worlds.
The Fitbit Charge 2 can be used to track the kilojoules you've burnt, the distance covered and overall activity time. It also keeps tabs on your sleeping patterns and comes with an inbuilt heart rate monitor - which is important if you're getting a bit long in the tooth, like me. (Naturally, it can also be used to tell the time.)
The device wirelessly connects to your smartphone and will alert you to any phone notifications you receive. It will also encourage you to move if you've been stationary for too long. (Thankfully, this feature can be switched off.)
So you want to be a photographer, eh? The Nikon A100 is a solid entry point into this wonderful and artistic hobby. It's a point-and-shoot compact capable of capturing 20.1-megapixel still images. Crucially, it also has a 5x optical zoom which means it will be able to take photos that you're smartphone can't, no matter how fancy it is.
Other highlights include a NIKKOR lens, 10x Dynamic Fine Zoom technology and the ability to record 720p HD video. It also comes with eight special effects so you can edit your photos in-camera. Before you step into the world of DSLRs, start here.
If you're one of the many people who count watching movies amongst their hobbies, you need to invest in a good quality tablet. When you don't have access to a TV, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A is the next best thing: it boasts a roomy 10.1 inch LDC touchscreen with a native resolution of 1920x1200 pixels. It includes a storage capacity of 16 GB with the option to add an additional 200 GB via microSD - that's enough for around 170 HD movies!
The inbuilt WiFi connectivity means you can catch up on Netflix or other streaming services with a minimum of hassle. The battery will last you up to 12 hours in-between charges. Not too shabby!
We mentioned the Nikon A100 for beginners. Now here's something for the serious photographer: Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 6. Compatible with Mac and Windows computers, the in-depth program from the makers of Photoshop has everything you need to edit, manipulate and organise your digital photography. There are also built-in presets available for people who want to make their photos look professional in a few mouse clicks.
If you don't like the idea of paying Adobe a monthly subscription, this is the way to buy. The download card counts as an outright purchase - no further software subscriptions or renewals are necessary.
Are you still reading actual, printed books? If so, it's time to upgrade your hobby to the digital era. (Trust us; it's scary at first but you will never look back!)
One of the best ereaders on the market is the Kindle Paperwhite. It features an inbuilt, adjustable light and a 300 ppi display that looks just like real paper. The screen has an anti-glare surface that won't reflect sunlight even in the height of summer.
The Paperwhite has access to over one million books from the Kindle Store and comes with 4GB of flash storage. It also has impressive battery life: even if you're a voracious reader, you'll only have to charge the device once every two weeks.
Here's another one for the many photography fans out there. The HP Sprocket 2 x 3" Photo Printer does exactly what it says on the tin: it allows you to instantly print 2 x 3 inch photos from your smartphone via Bluetooth. The device uses ZINK photo paper which has a peel and stick backing that will stick to almost any flat surface.
The accompanying HP Sprocket app can be used to make edits and enhancements on the fly prior to printing. Unlike most "portable" printers, the HP Sprocket boasts an ultra compact design which means you really can take it anywhere.
Here's a fun hobby extension for the VR gamers out there. Parrot's Mambo FPV Mini Drone comes equipped with a 120-degree wide-angle camera that you can use to record and stream 720p HD video. But the real attraction is the included Parrot Cockpitglasses 2 headset. As its name suggests, this puts you into the cockpit of your drone, allowing you to look through the drone's camera in real-time; just like if you were in the cockpit.
You can fly the drone over a distance of up to 100 metres using a choice of three flying modes: Easy, Drift and Racing. There's also a FreeFlight Mini app.