Lockdown has presented all sorts of challenges for each of us to overcome. Whether it’s adapting to working from home, protecting our devices or finding fun new activities to stave off boredom, we’ve all found it tough to cope during this difficult time.
But being stuck in one place has had some advantages. It’s encouraged us to think outside the box and come up with new solutions to problems we didn’t even know we had. With that in mind, we asked the TechRadar team if they’ve bought any new tech that they might not have considered before.
From beauty to self-care products and everything in between, here is some of the weird tech we’ve bought during lockdown.
Heattech thermal leggings
Even though summer is almost upon us, my flat continues to be a biome of wintry chill. Mornings are pleasant, as the sun fills my home office with warming rays of hope, but once the afternoon approaches things take a frosty turn. The sun makes its way to the opposite side of my flat and suddenly I’m plunged into what feels like total darkness. My legs quickly begin to absorb all the cold they can (a trait I’ve apparently inherited from my grandfather), and suddenly it feels like the lower half of my body is submerged in an ice bath.
My solution? Thermal leggings. Specifically, I've opted for Uniqlo’s awesome heattech range, which are designed to keep you warm without the discomfort of wearing a second pair of pants. Heattech is made of a special blend of materials that wick your body’s moisture into the fibers, and convert its kinetic energy into heat. Honestly, they’re a total game-changer, and were it not for lockdown, there’s no way I would have had the foresight to purchase them. Now my pins are toasty warm, come rain or shine. - Adam Vjestica
Fitfort Blackhead Remover
I’ve been using a manual blackhead remover for some time but, when I lost it, I decided it was about time to invest in an electronic blackhead remover. It’s essentially a small handheld vacuum for your face that aims to suck the dirt out of your pores, reduce grease and cleanse your skin. The Fitfort Blackhead Remover comes with a few nozzles to tackle big or small blackheads, plus an exfoliator head for those who want to get rid of some dead skin.
You essentially run the device over your problem areas, sucking up all the badness and providing much satisfaction for those who love watching Dr Pimple Popper and the like – you can even see the sucked-out blackheads in the cleanable filter!
There are different suction levels depending on how embedded your blackhead may be, but be careful not to linger on any area for too long or you’ll end up with a bunch of tiny face hickies... and nobody wants that. - Vic Hood
Mobile Air Conditioner
In the UK, it’s suddenly gotten hot, and our homes are not well-equipped to deal with rising temperatures. After a couple of disgustingly sticky nights and extremely muggy days, we made the call. Enough was enough. It was time to take a permanent journey to the cool side of the pillow in the form of making an entire room cool.
As we look forward to the delivery of our mobile air conditioner in just a couple of days, I am left sweating it out in front of my laptop – but the sweet release of cool air is now visible on the horizon, and I cannot wait.
However, how long will it last? The weather, I mean. As quickly as the UK heats up, it can just as quickly go the opposite way, potentially leaving us staring at a white elephant in the corner – the fear of buyers remorse is real, but the promise of an uninterrupted night’s sleep is far more appealing.
Fingers crossed mother nature keeps her side of the bargain, to justify our outlay. - John McCann
iPhone Sports Band
New York City is slowly emerging from lockdown, and the ability to go outside and exercise has been a boon for our bicycle sharing program, Citibike. I see them everywhere and, with a fraction of car traffic on the streets of Manhattan, I decided to sign up. The only problem? I can’t look at my phone while riding – I need two hands on the handlebars (NYC’s potholes weren’t getting filled before and sure aren’t getting filled now) and Citibike’s thick handlebars discourage mounting smartphones and GoPros, annoyingly.
Enter the Comsoon Sports Wristband, 360° Rotatable Forearm Armband Phone Holder. This wristband meant for sports attaches to my arm and secures my iPhone 11 Pro Max to me as if I were wearing an oversized Apple Watch. No, I’m not using it to irresponsibly text people and watch YouTube videos while riding a bike – it’s helpful for figuring out where to go via the Maps app and opening up the Citibike app to pinpoint an open dock where I can return the bike. Pre-lockdown, I wouldn’t have considered this an essential, but now I’m using my ‘iPhone watch’ everywhere I go and patting myself on the back – with two free hands. - Matt Swider
Lego Land Rover Defender 90
We’re all spending much more time at home, and there’s only so much Netflix we can watch, computer games we can play and time-wasting on our phones until our eyes really do turn square.
To give my eyes a break I needed an offline activity, something to occupy my time and mind. Say hello to the Lego Land Rover Defender 90. Ordered from the Lego website – via a cashback website, every little helps – the Defender arrived within just a few days.
It’s a significant set, with over 2,500 pieces and a complex 4-speed sequential gearbox and gear selector with 2 levers for engaging high or low gear, all-wheel drive, independent suspension, functioning steering and an in-line 6-cylinder engine with moving pistons. As you'd expect with such a complicated build, I’ve already ploughed more than seven hours into it and probably still have a couple more left. This 3D mechanics puzzle (not a children's toy, I tell myself) is a brilliant way to pass the time, and I’m already thinking about what I might get next. - John McCann
- Love Lego? Best Lego sets 2020
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Adam was formerly TRG's Hardware Editor. A law graduate with an exceptional track record in content creation and online engagement, Adam has penned scintillating copy for various technology sites and also established his very own award-nominated video games website. He’s previously worked at Nintendo of Europe as a Content Marketing Editor and once played Halo 5: Guardians for over 51 hours for charity. He is now an editor at The Shortcut.