Start the year with new gear

Your resolutions will (probably) stay the same but you can still find a new way to do things.

by Potions

It’s 2024, and the tech geeks at have come up with a list of tech upgrades that aren’t your usual smartphone and TV recommendations. While these suggestions are not critical to your daily life, they will make how you work, play, and live so much smoother and more enjoyable.

Bake it up with AI

We are firmly in the Internet of Things era — with everything and anything being connected to the cloud. And while 91% of Singaporeans own a smartphone and 3.3 connected devices, we are now adding more smart products in our homes, from smart water meters to air conditioners.

During the COVID lockdown, many of us kept ourselves busy at home by expanding our cooking skills, but since life has (nearly) returned to normal post-pandemic, most of us rarely want to prepare a complicated, time-consuming recipe for dinner.

Bosch Series 8 Oven
And you no longer need to, with the latest smart connected ovens like the Bosch Series 8 oven, which uses AI and cloud data to accurately predict when your turkey or lamb will be perfectly roasted or to stop steaming when your pandan cake is ready. From SGD5,099

Bigger, brighter screens

With 5G, streaming a 4K UHD video is no longer complicated, and with the latest smartphones and tablets, you can stream high-quality video, either in a Zoom video call or directly to TikTok. But what if you want a device with a high-quality screen for your work or play? Here’s what we recommend.

Oppo Find N3
When it comes to folding phones, Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold5 is pretty much remains the benchmark and the segment’s ol’ reliable. But if you’re feeling adventurous, the recently released in Find N3 foldable brings Oppo’s high-quality cameras to the business foldable. A 7.8-inch OLED main screen has a 2440 x 2268 resolution with 426 PPI and 1.07 billion colours, ensuring every minute detail is displayed accurately. For Zoom and WhatsApp calls, the 20MP front camera and AI will ensure you look your best. SGD2,399

Apple iPad Mini
With foldable smart devices still bearing a higher production cost, due to the economics of scale, Apple’s iPad Mini has surprisingly a very competent rival to the latest foldables from Samsung, Oppo, and Huawei. The 6th generation iPad Mini may now be two years old, but it’s still a powerful device that combines an A15 Bionic processor with iPad OS 17.2 and 5G/Wi-Fi 6 connectivity, plus an amazing 8.3-inch True Tone Display. From SGD756

Take better videos for your vlogs

The best camera is the one that you have with you. Truer words have never been spoken because smartphones massacred the compact camera segment for this exact reason. Also true is the fact that these things are often cyclical–at some point, you want to take things more seriously, and naturally, enthusiast-level cameras are just what` the doctor ordered. When it comes to videos, these are two fine examples of ‘starter’ cameras offering good video quality and ease of use with features like UVC/UAC for a plug-and-play experience.

Sony ZV-1 MkII
Of the two, the Sony ZV-1 Mark II is the compact and portable option, perfect for capturing on-the-go content while travelling light. The wide-angle zoom lens, while fixed, covers a versatile range from 18 mm to 50 mm, taking care of landscapes, portraiture and points in between, and together with the 1” sensor, ensures that the images are a step up over your smartphone. A built-in Intelligent 3-capsule microphone offers clear audio recording. The camera gives you creative leeway with Cinematic Vlog so you can turn everyday moments into cinematic imagery without post-production edits. The modern compact camera, perhaps? SGD1,209

Canon EOS R50
If you’re willing to sacrifice portability slightly for better image quality, a ​​mirrorless like the Canon EOS R50 makes perfect sense. With a 24.2 MP APS-C sensor, it can deliver high-quality, 4K 30p videos oversampled from 6K footage or IPB for social media. And now that you’re on a camera system, you can enjoy other useful perks like Coordinated IS (in-body stabilisation and lens stabilisation, finely tuned) and speedy autofocus speeds. Meanwhile, little touches like Close-up mode (prioritise focus on item closest to screen), and focus breathing correction (no ‘pulsing’ effect when focusing) lets you focus on content rather than technical stuff. SGD1,149 with the 18-45mm lens (Harvey Norman has it for SGD949)

Do you feel the need for Wi-Fi speed?

While you can now go fully unwired at home with 5G wireless modems, home broadband service providers are offering 10 Gbps home broadband plans available for families or gamers who require a high concurrent data stream to simultaneously stream, game and video call in 4K HD without lag or disconnection.

Two of these include the Starhub UltraSpeed 10Gbps plan (24 months), which is priced at SGD69.90 and includes a ONR Mesh WiFi router, free Premier League for 14 months, Disney+ for 12 months, and Entertainment+ for six months. MyRepublic HyperSpeed 10Gbps (24 months) costs SGD59.99 and includes a TP-Link AXE300 Wi-Fi 6E Router and a free home phone line.

If you’ve added dozens of IoT devices to your home and are thinking of getting a 10Gbps home broadband plan but haven’t updated your wireless router in a few years, then it is time to do so, especially as that Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) wireless router you purchased in 2019 simply cannot cope with the massive upgrade to the data load and switching data streams between multiple devices.

Right now, we are actually in-between Wi-Fi standards, with the new Wi-Fi 7 (802.11be) Wi-Fi standard set to be about to be adopted in 2024, and we shall soon see more smart devices and PCs using Wi-Fi 7.

We have already seen Wi-Fi 7 routers from TP-Link that are available in Singapore, with the ability to reach up to 10-20 Gbps speeds with Multi-Link Operation (MLO) — which allows the router to connect to a device using two frequency bands for high data transmissions of up to 5.8Gbps to a single device, and reduce latency (which is a dirty word to online gamers).

You can have a look the TP-Link Deco BE65 BE1100 Whole Home Mesh WiFi 7 SGD899 (2 pack), SGD1,399 (3 pack)  or TP-Link TPL Archer BE550 BE9300 Tri-band WiFi 7 Router SGD599.

Game anywhere

OK, this topic is a misnomer, as people have been ‘gaming’ everywhere en masse since the introduction of the affordable Tamagotchi in 1996. Still, with better connectivity and, more importantly, more powerful CPUs and GPUs, we’ve reached a confluence between the PC and handheld consoles.

Handheld gaming PCs aren’t a new concept. Alienware showcased the Concept UFO nearly four years ago at CES, but the idea didn’t take off (pun intended), likely due to the cost of creating a handheld with adequate CPU, GPU and battery performance.

In February 2022, Valve unleashed the Steam Deck handheld gaming PC. Powered by a custom AMD APU, and while Steam Deck lacks mobile connectivity, the ability to access Steam for games such as Portal 2, which could be played on the original Steam Deck for up to six hours without recharging, was in effect a game changer, and soon heralded new handheld PC gamers.

Asus ROG Ally
Asus positions the ROG Ally as the ultimate handheld gaming console that can handle both Windows and Android games, plus it’s compatible with Steam, Xbox Game Pass, Epic and other cloud services. Powered by AMD’s latest Ryzen Z1 Extreme APU, the Ally is your ally in any gaming session, from Geshin Impact to Cyberpunk 2077. SGD999

Lenovo Legion Go
The Lenovo Legion Go is Lenovo’s first ‘go’ at a handheld PC gamer and includes detachable controllers with a sharp 8.8-inch PureSight display with a 144hz refresh rate. It is also powered by an AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme APU and comes with the Legion Space app to access a user’s game library and access to services like Steam. SGD1,149

Work on the move essentials

If you’re a road warrior who constantly has to pull out your laptop to sort out work stuff, you almost always need power and silence. You may be a warrior but even you might not like the idea of lugging around multiple essential gadgets in your bag. These two gems will be a godsend.

Belkin 4-Port GaN Wall Charger
Some will argue against having your charger stuck in the wall and beyond your reach, but power cords take up plenty of space and wires are always annoying to manage. On top of that, not all wall chargers are made equal. This GaN charger not only emits little heat, but it divides power efficiently – 65W, 45W, and 20W — when all three USB-C ports are engaged, ensuring that the holy trinity of essentials — a laptop, smartphone, and earbuds — all have enough power to charge at a reasonably quick rate at the same time. If you could find a way to fold the prongs that would be perfect, but this is close enough. SGD199

Jabra Evolve 65 Flex
This discreet-looking headset can replace your regular headphones and offer a host of benefits: noise cancelling, a decent enough microphone, long battery life (up to 21 hours of music with ANC on), a long 30-meter range, an option for connecting to a wireless dongle for a more robust connection, and it folds nicely enough to be stowed in a modern, twill-like case. If that’s not a proper Swiss-Army piece of kit, I don’t know what is. SGD518