Tech may not seem like a romantic choice but as a way of keeping in touch, or celebrating creativity, especially when allied with strong design values, means that it’s a brilliant choice for couples.
ReMarkable 2 tablet
The ReMarkable tablet ($428) is the lightest tablet on the market. With a beautifully tactile surface, it’s a joy to draw, doddle or write on and easy to sync. Quietly very clever indeed, Remarkable sells itself on being distraction-free; although you can download books, you can’t stream films on it. Mostly, the most remarkable thing about the Remarkable is the way, with every software update, it recognises my (frankly terrible) handwriting better, although new this winter is a keyboard that allows you to type onto the page too without any browser distractions. The battery life is also superb, lasting around 2-3 weeks on a single charge, depending on usage.
Carl Friedrik Luggage
What’s the most important part of the suitcase? The shell? The locks? Ask any frequent traveler and they will tell you it’s the wheels that keep you trundling across airport departure areas, cute cobbles and every type of terrain between. The British Carl Friedrik luggage company, founded by two brothers in 2013, uses top-of-the-range Hinomoto spinner wheels from Japan. With the Carry-On X (£445) and all other suitcases, there’s a high-impact resistant polycarbonate shell and aluminum lock frame while the leather detailing comes from the Vachetta tannery and every case comes with a life-time guarantee.
Swarovski Optik AV VISIO binoculars
Launched at C.E.S. show in Las Vegas in January 20240, the first AI binoculars can genuinely claim to be game-changing. It’s not just that the AX Visio ($4,799) was designed by Marc Newson although he had made them look very pretty, he’s also harnessed game-changing technology. Five years in development, these binoculars will identify wildlife – from birds to different species of the Big Five on safari, while the integrated camera allows you to create photos and videos. Another lovely touch is that – because when looking for wildlife, quietness is everything – so a ‘share discoveries’ function allows you to silently guide someone else to the same experience.
Audio-Technica ATH-TWX7 earbuds
Earbuds are getting better, more thoughtful and intuitive (with luck that’s the way your significant other thinks about you as well). The Audio Technica ATH-TWX7 (£190) are particularly good at getting the balance between good music playback (thanks to their high resolution drivers, superior noise-canceling qualities). Just as noteworthy are two different call modes – natural for quiet areas and noise-reduction for busier areas plus app support to improve voice tone and clarity.
Bang & Olufsen Beosound A5 portable speaker
There’s a trade-off between sound quality and size with portable speakers but – especially if traveling by car – it’s worth making space for the Bang & Olufsen Beosound A5 (from $1,399). It harks back – in design terms at least – to the 1960s, with soft organic curves and three finishes; aluminum, Nordic Weave and dark oak, the latter two with wooden handles made in Denmark. But with four drivers, the sound is special enough to be very 21st century with four drivers and is dust and sand-proof meaning that the 12 hours battery life will tackle a day by the pool or out in nature with aplomb.
Nothing 2 phone
With a belief that tech can be fun, the Nothing brand was created in 2020 by Carl Pei. Resisting the chance to be subsumed into a mega-brand, the Nothing 2 (£629) was launched in July 2023. The translucent back panel means that when you ring your partne\r, the back of this phone will light up in a unique configuration but there are other uses too – for example, the LED light patterns will show you when your Uber is getting closer. It comes with a premium Qualcomm Snapdragon 8, has a decent battery life and 256gb storage and – just as useful, if not particularly romantic – is very good value.
Anker Soundsync Bluetooth Receiver
Good things come in small packages, especially when they have multi-functionality. The Anker Soundsync Bluetooth Receiver (£24) has Bluetooth 5.0 to give a very stable connection whether you want to use it to stream music to non-Bluetooth speakers or take calls in the car. The battery lasts up to 12 hours and there’s dual pairing.