Cruise the highways and rat runs of Gizmo City with
the grand wizard of gadgetology, Jonathan Margolis.
JAKE DYSON CSYS LED TASK LIGHT
PENTAX Q In a recent Technopolis, I mentioned male-grooming matters I’ve become
What unsatisfiable creatures we gadget heads rather particular about in recent years – decent haircuts, teeth, spectacles
are. A couple of years ago, before Olympus launched its and T-shirts among them. Moving on from attire, another thing I could
mirrorless Pen cameras, there was no such thing as a pocketable, have touched on was lighting. I can’t exaggerate how much I despise
interchangeable-lens camera with DSLR photo quality. Now there are hordes horrible lighting, from fluorescents to cheap, roasting-hot, patchy desk
of them. Olympus is still on great form, but there’s also Panasonic, Sony, Samsung and lights. And most modern lighting with eco-bloomin’-friendly bulbs stinks,
Nikon, with Canon due to give birth too. The trouble is that they don’t seem to be that pocketable thanks to that miserable, cold, flickery glare exuding all the joy of a chilly
any more. It’s not that pockets have shrunk, but expectations have changed. room on a December night in a low-budget motel.
So now Pentax, which amazed compact-camera fans with its Spotmatic in the 1960s and Auto I am particularly delighted, then, by this eco-matey but gorgeous desk
110 SLR in the 1970s, has shown it can still surprise with this perfect seasonal gift. The Q is the smallest light from clever Jake Dyson, illustrious son of James – who himself is on a
mirrorless yet. The body measures 98mm x 57.5mm x 31mm and weighs 200g (including batteries), and roll these days with those bladeless fans and the DC35 multifloor vacuum,
the lenses stick out less than in the next smallest competitor, the Sony Nex range. one of my top products of the year. Jake is a lighting specialist and a
There’s a price to pay: although the Q has a fantastic specification, lens choice is seriously talented engineer, and this, the Csys (pronounced “c-sis”)
small, and the sensor is tiny. This means the photo quality is very good indeed, Task Light is, for me, simply the best desk light ever – as well as being
rather than superb. It still might suit your needs perfectly – especially if a fascinating piece of mechanical and electrical engineering. I can’t
Pentax goes on to make equally pocketable longer telephoto lenses. think of anything I would be happier to receive this Christmas than
£600, in black or white, from Jessops stores and www.jessops.com, a Csys, especially in the blue colour pictured right.
and see www.pentax.co.uk for other stockists. A Csys, as you will obviously know, is the system of co-ordinates
that defines an object’s position in the X, Y and Z axes. But last
things first before the science bit. The perfectly directed pool
of light the Csys throws down is superbly bright and of a proper,
VERTU CONSTELLATION warm, incandescent colour. It’s dimmable by a satisfying
If you have a Vertu fan among your loved ones, the latest Constellation finger touchpad. And with just 8.8W of power, it runs at
model will solve your Christmas-gift problem at a stroke. And in the case such a low temperature that the eight LEDs in the head are
of this beautiful phone, you really will be stroking it. It’s the moment guaranteed for a slightly eccentric 37 years. This figure
Vertu has finally produced a phone I would use, rather than just admire. is based on a 160,000-hour minimum life. You may better
This Constellation has many serious virtues. Chief among these, for me, that, if you live to tell the tale.
are the exquisite balance and feel. I’m reluctant to take up Vertu’s style of The light’s mechanism, based on a combination of
calling it an “instrument”, but it kind of is, with subtle touches, including a a construction-site crane and a drawing board, is both
luminous call button on-screen, a snappy action for changing Sims, a near- smooth and pleasurable, and allows for meticulously
unbreakable, unscratchable sapphire-glass screen and slick functionality. precise placing of the light. The most
But Vertu is (sorry to seem pretentious) a lifestyle as well as a device. significant of the many techie virtues of
And the upgraded concierge service you get thrown in – all right, gently and the Csys is the heat-pipe technology,
decorously lobbed in – is no gimmick. The feature I would appreciate most is derived from satellites, which sucks
the location-specific free temporary membership of the best private members’ heat away from the LEDs and spreads
clubs wherever you happen to be. That has actual monetary value, even if it harmlessly along that horizontal
“value” is perhaps missing the point a bit with Vertu. strut. The strut ends up gently warm to the touch,
From £3,900, in satin brown, polished steel or rose gold, from Vertu, 38 Old the bulbs themselves just cool… like the Csys itself.
Bond St, London W1 (020-3205 1123; www.vertu.com) and branch/stockists. £550, in blue, black, grey, red and white, from Jake Dyson (020-
7713 0188; www.jakedyson.com); The Conran Shop, 81 Fulham Rd,
London SW3 (020-7589 7401; www.conranshop.co.uk) and branch; and
Selfridges, 400 Oxford St, London W1 (0800-123 400; www.selfridges.com).
Anyone old enough to remember the Newton’s cradle executive toys of the 1980s and VIEW JONATHAN’S VIDEO BULLETINS OF YET MORE
earlier will recall that when you weren’t actually setting those clackety chrome balls a-swinging, HIGH-TECH WIZARDRY ON TECHNOPOLIS TV AT
they were rather useless objects, more irritating than inspiring. They also FREE-TO-ACCESS WWW.HOWTOSPENDIT.COM AND
FOLLOW JONATHAN AT TWITTER.COM/TECHNOPOLISFT
made an annoying racket that even now I fancy I can hear in my head,
although I haven’t seen one of the silly things in decades.
This updated take on the executive toy, which is equally – more, I
think – suitable as a living-room ornament, doesn’t only do its intriguing,
curiously hypnotic thing all on its own, driven by battery power, but it does so SILLY STREET
in total silence. The Perpendum kinetic sculpture is a quite amazing mechanism I have rarely seen a product take off like the Dr Dre-branded
and it has actually been hard to resist the temptation to crack open the casing of headphones from Monster, which I judged pretty fine sounding
my sample model to find out how the heck it works, and how in particular it for a certain type of music, but rather plasticky and cheap.
manages to run for three years on a set of four AA batteries. Monster has now got into bed with Lady Gaga, whose
I would like to try to describe the seemingly infinite, perpetual-motion-like supremely silly Polaroid video sunglasses were the laughing
way its elegant arms swing and twist, but it’s practically impossible. Suffice stock of this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
it to say, they rotate constantly and appear never to be in the same These new Gaga-branded in-earphones, unsurprisingly, are
configuration twice. It’s a really beautiful and well-made thing that pretty fine sounding for a certain type of music, but rather
a lot of people – although perhaps not the proverbial maiden plasticky and cheap. They will be a huge hit, I’m sure.
aunt – would love to receive. Heartbeats by Lady Gaga, £120, in black or white/gold.
£300, from www.red5.co.uk. Google for suppliers and see www.beatsbydre.com.
Financial Times, How to spend it special christmas edition - Novermber 2011