Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

20.16 21 Jul 2021


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As the heatwave continues, people right across the country are taking advantage of an outdoor summer.

Whether you're having friends over or just having a family night, you might be wondering the best way to make the most out of your garden - especially with the soaring temperatures this week.

On The Hard Shoulder, Newstalk's technology correspondent Jess Kelly gave her recommendations for the best tech for your garden - from barbeques to portable speakers.

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Speakers

Top of the priority list for any garden party is the music - and that means a good speaker.

Jess explained: “You have a few different options. You can get a Bluetooth speaker that can just pair to your phone, tablet or laptop and you can play away.

“The one I have in front of me is a Sony SRS-XB23. It’s €90 and available from Currys… why I love this is it’s cylinder shape, meaning the whole way around is a speaker. Regardless of where you have it place, you’re getting the full whack from the sound.

“That’s not what I would go for, however. I’d go for the Google Nest Mini… because anyone who comes along can just shout ‘hey Google, play a certain song’.

"It means you’re not faffing around with your phone once it’s plugged in. I do think the smart speaker is the way to go. It’s only €59 if you don’t want to spend a huge amount of cash."

Portable projector

Maybe music isn't quite enough for you, and you want a projector for a movie night or just to play some YouTube videos in the background.

Jess said: “A number of people have been asking for recommendations for these over the last while. I’ve finally found one I think is worth the money.

“It’s the Philips NeoPix Easy. It’s €109, and the beauty is it’s so easy to use - you just plug it into the wall, and you can stream it off your phone via Bluetooth or plug your laptop in.

“What we’ve done is plug a Chromecast into it… you can do it all that way. All you need is a blank wall.

“It’s one of those things you will buy and use time and again.”

Barbeque

If you're hoping to cook up some burgers or sausages for your guests (or just for yourself), Jess recommends the Weber Go-Anywhere portable barbeque.

She said: “I am obsessed with this. It’s a very neat size, particularly if you don’t have a huge amount of space.

“It’s also really handy if you’re planning on going camping. You don’t leave any remnants on the ground or anything like that - it’s all fully self-contained, and runs on gas. It’s €179.”

Ice-cream maker

What's a barbeque without a good dessert? For those looking to cool down, Jess recommends the Nedis 1.2 litre ice-cream maker.

She said: “I think this is one of the most fun things you can get.

“It’s very easy to use. I am useless when it comes to cooking and making stuff. Here, you literally throw your ingredients into a pre-cooled bowl, press the button on the machine, and it can make ice-cream, frozen yogurt and sorbet.

“It’s around 30 minutes - it’s incredibly quick. Then it has to freeze up depending on the consistency and texture you’re after… but it is incredibly fun to use. The best thing is, it’s only €49.”

SodaStream

The SodaStream was a well-known household gadget back in the 80s and 90s, but Jess says the company's very much made a comeback with its Spirit One Touch.

She said: “They’re back with a vengeance - and now they have notions.

“If you want sparkling water from your tap, you can just pop it in and you have three different settings to carbonate your water.

“You can also put your Kia Ora into water, press a button, and have an absolute ball. It’s €115… I would highly recommend it.”


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