20 dream gadgets for every designer's wish list

Image courtesy of Olympus

At Shillington we see technology as a tool for creativity, rather than an end in itself.

And so most of the time, a phone, a computer, a creative software suite, and good old fashioned pen and paper are all we really need.

But every now and again, it's worth having a look at the latest gadgets, and whether there's anything cool that might make our lives easier, more efficient or just more fun.

In this post, we bring you 20 intriguing devices that offer something genuinely innovative and inspiring. Read on and find out whether any of them could help you become more creative, more productive, or just a happier human being.

1. ReMarkable

Like the feel of making notes on a real paper notepad, but also the convenience of recording things digitally, so you can easily search and organise them later? ReMarkable is a digital tablet and stylus that automatically converts your handwritten notes to typed text, making them easy to refine and share. In doing so, it comes pretty darn close to a true pen-to-paper notetaking experience.

Priced at £499 | Find out more

2. Sony WH-1000XM3

From music to podcasts, audio is an important part of our lives as creatives. And yet in truth, we tend to mainly consume it in places where street and vehicle noise reduce our enjoyment dramatically. So it’s worth investing in these brilliant noise-cancelling headphones, which automatically detect your activity such as travelling, walking, and waiting, then adjust ambient sound settings to provide an optimal listening experience.

Priced at £329 | Find out more

3. Timbuk2 The Authority Pack

The nature of your design work means you need to carry a lot of stuff around with you. You don’t want something as stuffy as a briefcase, but you still want to look smart. The Authority Pack is a professional looking laptop bag that squares that circle perfectly. With a beautiful base fabric, tuck-away sternum straps, and an air mesh back panel, it’s also wonderfully functional, with a range of pockets sizes to store everything your day job (and side gig) require.

Priced at £131 | Find out more

4. All-new iPad Air

If you’ve been thinking about getting an iPad Air then it’s a good time to do so, as Apple has just released an all-new version, in an ultra-thin 10.5-inch design. A new chip delivers a 70 per cent boost in performance and twice the graphics capability, and the Retina display is nearly 20 per cent larger, with over half a million more pixels. Go on, you know you want one.

Priced at £479 | Find out more

5. H20Pal

H20Pal is like a Fitbit for your water bottle. This clever device helps you keep track of the water you drink, and sends you smart reminders via your iPhone so you stay better hydrated throughout the day. It even auto-adjusts your goals based on your activity, weather, and profile information such as height and gender.

Priced at £75 | Find out more

6. Sonos One

There are some pretty cheap smart speakers on the market, but they’re rubbish for listening to music. If you want a smart speaker that will do justice to your tunes, we’d recommend the Sonos One. It provides a rich, room-filling sound, as well as having Alexa built in for all your voice control needs.

Priced at £199 | Find out more

7. Insta360 Nano S 360 VR Camera

This impressive device turns your iPhone into a VR camera, so you can use it to shoot fully-immersive, 360-degree 20MP photos, not to mention 4K video. Perfect for live-streaming, video chat, blowing up Instagram, or just creating cool images and footage.

Priced at £199 | Find out more

8. Logitech Ergo Mouse

How much of your working life do you spend using a mouse? If the answer is ‘a lot’ then consider what a good investment a more ergonomic and comfortable mouse might be. We recommend this device from Logitech, which uses a unique adjustable hinge and the latest tracking, scrolling and power management technology to deliver 20 per cent less muscular strain than a regular mouse.

Priced at £76 | Find out more

9. Moment 18mm M-series Phone Lens

Smartphone cameras are increasingly professional these days, but the one area where they lose over actual cameras is the lens. So this Wide 18mm M-series Lens, which works with the latest Apple, Google, Samsung and OnePlus devices, is a great innovation. Its wide angle, glass design allows your phone to capture twice as much picture, and shoot photos and videos that are beautifully crisp.

Priced at $119.99 (free worldwide shipping) | Find out more

10. Wacom Intuos Wireless Graphic Tablet

When it comes to digital drawing tablets, Wacom remains the brand to beat. This slim and compact (7.9 x 6.3-inch) device offers 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity, can be set up for left- and right-handed use, and is perfect for digital art, photo-editing and animation tasks. It also comes with three creative software packages, so you can get started creating straight away.

Priced at £179.31 | Find out more

11. Huion H420 USB Graphics Drawing Tablet Board Kit

Wacom may represent the gold standard in drawing tablets, but they’re pretty pricey. If you’re looking for something cheap and cheerful, then this device from Huion represents excellent good value. It’s pretty basic, for sure, but it works and at £26.99, it’s a great choice for a first-time drawing tablet, for signing and similar office tasks, and/or the occasional light bit of digital sketching and drawing.

Priced at £26.99 | Find out more

12. Air Bar by Neonode

Do you love your Windows 10 or MacBook Air notebook, but wish it was touchscreen? Well the Air Bar, which attaches to your screen using the included magnet stickers, can make it so! It’s compatible with Windows 10 notebook with a 16:9 display (13.3”, 14” or 15.6”), and the MacBook Air 13.3 (although not the 2018 version).

Priced at £29.55-£33.56 | Find out more

13. The Light Phone 2

Do you feel like your phone controls your life, rather than the other way around? It’s a common feeling, and one that led to the creation of the Light Phone, dubbed ‘your phone away from phone’. The idea is that you put away your main smartphone, with all of its distractions, and swap it for your Light Phone, which is intentionally limited in what it can do. That way, you can properly decompress from your daily work and enjoy spending time doing the things you love.

A crowdfunded device, the original Light Phone is actually sold out, but pre-orders for the latest version, the Light Phone 2, are currently being taken, for delivery in July.

Priced at £227 | Find out more

14. Aukey wireless charger stand

Charging your smartphone shouldn’t be a huge task, but for many people, it feels overly complicated and takes far too long. This flexible charger stand makes things far simpler. It works at high speed with most wirelessly-charged phones, including the latest iPhone and Samsung flagship phones; uses twin charging coils to enable horizontal or vertical placement; and charges directly through protective cases.

Priced at £25.99 | Find out more

15. Olympus Pen F

As creatives, we don’t like things to be purely functional; we want them to be beautiful as well. The Olympus Pen F has both of these in abundance. With its elegant and timeless design, based on 80 years of camera history, the Pen F has a stunning appearance and high-quality finish. Meanwhile, under the hood, innovative features like ‘Shake Stop’ help to deliver clear and crisp details and a resolution that leaves nothing to be desired.

Priced at £1,299 | Find out more

16. Pocket Tin Bluetooth Speaker

Whether you want some background sounds for an office get-together or want to set the right atmosphere for painting in your studio, the music on your phone paired with a mini-Bluetooth speaker is all you need. At just 4 x 2.5 x 1 inches, this device might look tiny, but it actually blasts out a strong level of amplification at hi-fi quality. It stays connected to your phone from up to about 23 feet away, and the built-in battery lasts up to five hours after just two hours of charging.

Priced at £30.24 | Find out more

17. 3Doodler

Like something out of Back to the Future, the 3Doodler is simply awe-inspiring. Using only a pen, three-dimensional structures can be created at the wave of a finger. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.

Priced at $119.99 | Find out more

18. Cube

Do you know the old saying ‘good things come in small packages’? Although you might not be aware, they were talking specifically about Cube. The small, white box is a portable colour digitaliser, which allows users to capture any colour, on any surface, with the tap of a button.

Priced at 93 Euro | Find out more

19. Satechi Type-C USB

The Satechi Type-C USB Hub allows you to use your old USB peripherals by converting a Type-C USB port to three USB 3.0 ports, an SD card slot, and a Micro SD card slot. Mac users will wonder how they lived without it.

Priced at $39.99 | Find out more

20. OnHub

Google’s OnHub is a faster router designed to handle the general demand for better Wifi. Stream, download and share to your heart’s content, without the fear of constant buffering.

Priced around £150 | Find out more

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