Tech time out this summer with these apps and gadgets

The sun is shining, finally, and the last thing anyone wants to do in this weather is sit inside in front of the computer.

But thanks to technology, there are plenty of ways to enjoy a digital life in the outdoors especially in these rising temperatures.

So, to help you sit back in the sun and relax, here are some of the best apps and bits of gadgetry to have at your fingertips.

Apple iPad

It's an obvious starting point but working, resting and playing in the outdoors is so much easier with a tablet in your hands. And while the latest iPad doesn't come cheap with a starting price of £399, it's indispensable whether you're taking it easy on a lounger, heading off on a short summer break or embarking on a long-haul trip.

The 3G version is an extra £100 and that's a decent investment if you're planning to use it a lot on the move or in the open air. You will always be connected to the internet if there's no Wi-Fi nearby. If you fancy an Android tablet experience then the seven-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab is very portable, runs the latest Ice Cream Sandwich operating system and is on sale at a very affordable price.

Vodafone Mobile Wi-Fi R205

If you don't have 3G built-in to your tablet or want to use a laptop outdoors, then a personal Wi-Fi hotspot is ideal. So easy to set up, they can be used to connect up to five different devices such as handheld games consoles or smartphones, too.

This new device from Vodafone is on a par with its rival from 3 and costs £65 on 'pay as you go' when you buy a £10 top-up. It has a four hour battery life making it perfect for working in the sun through lunch or chilling with the web while the temperatures soar.

Facebook Camera


Hot off the apps press, this has just been released as an add-on to the massively-popular social network. It lets you share your summer shots in the fastest way possible with Facebook pals meaning you can make people jealous of your shenanigans in the sun in an instant.

You can use it to edit snaps and upload multiple pictures too in a couple of clicks. It's already No.2 in the free iOS app chart and is surely heading to No.1.


KOBO eReader


Why bother lugging a stack of books and magazines with you into the fresh air when you can buy an eReader for as little as £50. The KOBO is a great introduction to digital reading and has a six-inch display and more than two million books to choose from.

There's a touchscreen version too while the obvious Amazon Kindle Touch and 3G version are excellent choices for more committed digital bookworms who can afford to splash a little bit more cash.


Koubachi Wi-Fi Plant Sensor

If you're green-fingered then this is a neat way to mix technology and gardening. Just be careful of getting soil on the display. The Wi-Fi Plant Sensor goes into a pot plant and can analyse how your plant is doing and then send instructions to an iPhone app on what you need to do to keep it alive and enable it to flourish.

It's expensive though at £99, although you could use the apps without the sensor. On the other hand, you could simply do it the Prince Charles way and talk to it.


Temple Run

Want to pass the time with a good game and you're fed up with Angry Birds? Then Temple Run is the new hotshot on the block. It's a fast and furious treasure hunting adventure available for iOS and it's just been updated on Android, too.

Fruit Ninja

Another smash of the moment sees players slice fruit Samurai-style. It might not sound exciting but it's certainly addictive. An updated iOS version has just been released and it's on iPad now too as well as iPhone. There's also an Android offering. And while you're slicing that fruit virtually, cut some up for real, put it in a glass and make a cocktail to sup as you play.

Sky Go

With so much happening this summer, staying in touch with the news and sport doesn't mean you need to be tied to a TV. Twenty years ago you'd have carried a portable black and white telly with a tiny screen. These days you can watch your favourite shows on a smartphone or tablet meaning you won't miss a minute of the Jubilee celebrations, Olympics, Euro 2012 football, Wimbledon and much more.

Sky Go works if you have a Sky subscription or you can sign up to pay for it separately but there's plenty of other on-demand free TV apps such as BBC iPlayer.

TuneIn Radio

This website and its apps have been around for a while but they remain top of the pops when it comes to ease of listening. You'll find hundreds of radio stations from around the world to tune into over the internet from a laptop, tablet or mobile, with every single genre of track catered for. If you're throwing a garden party or BBQ then this will have your guests wireless for sound.

Viddy


Like a slimmed-down version of YouTube and Vimeo, Viddy is a network for your short video snapshots of real-life. Its tagline says 'Turn everyday moments into perfect little movies' and what better time to make some movie magic than when the sun is shining.

Capture your day out with the family, water fights in the garden, BBQ burning mishaps or simply a sunny walk through the park. Viddy connects straight to Facebook, too, allowing you to share your vids straight to your Timeline.

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