New year technology: Going Back to 2019

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In his New Year Technology piece our tech guy Colin Moors does his annual roundup of those wonderful gadgets.

Around this time of year, thoughts will probably turn to what to buy for your nearest and dearest for Christmas. If you’ve known them a while, you’ve probably already done the “name a star” thing, sponsored a goat or bought them more socks than they could feasibly ever have a use for. Why not try something a little different this year and give them something retro? People enjoy the frisson of nostalgia, particularly when it’s backed up by solid tech. These items all look the part but will sadly carry a realistic 2018 price tag.

Let’s kick off with a turntable. Vinyl is back, although by the time this goes to print, it could well be out again, I have no idea. Nevertheless, a turntable on which you can play your new heavyweight vinyl releases is a beautiful thing to the ears and the eyes. Vey well received and not too shabby looking is the Audio Technica AT-LP60-USB. Yes, it’s a USB version, meaning you could rip all your vinyl to mp3 if you wanted to – presumably, you want your mp3s to sound like a web stream, I don’t know. Gadgety USB outlet aside, it’s a solid contender. It looks like a real turntable and acts like one. It’s got a built-in phono stage (a special amplifier) so you can plug it straight into your computer or your amplifier at home.

If you want proper retro that looks very sexy indeed and is around three times the price, may I recommend the Rega Planar 1? No USB, but good enough to make you drool at the look and the sound. It’ll be a bit trickier to hook up to your PC if that’s your aim but who cares when it sounds this good?

If you get that perfect Christmas gift, why not call to say thank you? No, not on your all-singing, all-dancing smartphone, silly – on a Nokia 3310. Yes, that’s right, the old house brick is making a comeback. Admittedly, it isn’t the really basic model of yesteryear but they have kept the spirit of the iconic 3310in the design and features. It apparently gives you access to Facebook and Twitter but most people who buy them do so to get away from being connected all the time. The mobile data is served at blistering 2G speeds, rendering the act of using social media fairly pointless.

The features that will appeal to the hardcore user and the newcomer alike are the ones that made the cut from the old version. There’s a ‘new’ feature in the 2-megapixel camera and 16 MB of storage, expandable to 32 GB with a MicroSD card but mostly there are two things that really stand out. Firstly, you can play Snake – a feature I genuinely believe would have spelled the end for Nokia had they missed it out. Secondly, the battery life is the stuff of legend. Talk time is between 22 and 24 hours and it will sit around on standby for 30 days. This also frees a space in your pocket or bag where your power bank used to go.