Best for… travel snaps
Leica Q Titanium gray
This pocket-sized compact camera is a great way of taking professional-quality photographs without having to carry an entire suitcase worth of gear. It has the fastest lens in its class and a full-frame sensor, making it great at shooting in low light; useful if you don’t have space for a bulky flash unit. This new version is the same as the hugely popular Leica Q but comes with a classy titanium gray lacquer finish, with a matching strap made from climbing rope. When it comes to taking incredible photos and looking great while you’re doing it, Leica is in a class of its own – in the right hands, it’s worth every penny.
Best for… iPhone shots
Exolens Pro with Optics by Zeiss telephoto lens
The iPhone is already capable of taking great pictures, but this is the device if you’re determined to boost your phone photography game. The clip-on lens essentially turns your phone into a telephoto lens, allowing you to take crisp pictures from a distance. Many iPhone camera accessories are little more than gimmicks, but the involvement of Zeiss, which has been making lenses for more than 170 years, suggests otherwise, and the results you can achieve with it are impressive. It’s built especially for the iPhone so won’t work with Android, and is compatible with the iPhone 7 Plus.
Best for… instant gratification
Fujifilm Instax Mini 90
This beautiful little camera (it’s only 3.6 x 4.5 x 2.3 inches) is a brilliant option for those who love the retro aesthetic of instant photography. It has a built-in flash, a rechargeable battery and a host of shooting modes, including double exposure. It also gives you more control over your pictures than most instant cameras, with the ability to control the length of exposure to create effects such as light-streaks. It uses narrow, portrait-oriented film rather than the square film made famous by Polaroid instant cameras, but it’s still a great way to capture memories from your trips abroad.
Best for… tunes and podcasts
1More H1707 triple driver over-ear headphones
Launched this summer, the H1707 headphones from British audio manufacturer 1More promise a “high-fidelity listening experience.” With a Piezo ceramic driver and bass reflex system, they have been approved by Grammy award-winning sound engineer Luca Bignardi. They are built from machined metal in eye-catching black and bronze, and come with an oxygen-free copper cable that you can plug into your laptop, phone or in-flight entertainment system. The cushioned ear pads mean they are comfortable to wear for extended periods and can fold inwards for easy packing. A storage bag is provided.
Best for… making music
Roli Lightpad Block
The Block needs to be seen to be believed. In the hands of a keen musician, it can be used to lay down entire electronic tracks using a built-in drum machine and more than 100 individual sounds. The tactile silicone rubber surface is sensitive to how hard you press it – a harder jab equals a louder noise. Connecting to the Noise app on your iPhone (there is a beta version on Google Play) allows you to switch the Block into its various sound modes and to change the softly glowing colors so you know which parts of the surface will play what sound. At 3.7 x 3.7 inches, it’s small enough to fit into your pocket, and you can snap multiple Blocks together to create a mobile studio.
Best for… laying backing tracks
Zoom Arq Aero RhythmTrak
If you want to make beautiful sound on the go, give the Zoom Arq a shake. The instrument, which looks a bit like a tambourine, has 96 velocity and pressure sensitive pads that allow you to play various drum sounds, as well as put on a programmable light display. It’s part drum machine, part looper and reacts in real time to your movements, distorting the sound and triggering new sections of your music. It is composed of two parts – the Base Station, which contains 468 instrument sounds and 70 synthesizer sounds, and the Ring Controller, which you “play” by moving it around (it connects to the Base Station via Bluetooth).
Best for… action shooting
GoPro Hero 5 Black
This tiny device – far smaller than your average compact camera – can shoot 4K video and high-resolution stills and can even react to voice commands. With an additional GoPro Plus subscription ($5 per month), you can upload your videos and pictures directly to the cloud so you never need to worry about losing your work. Not that you’re likely to break this thing – like all GoPros, it’s designed to last and is completely waterproof. The two-inch display also allows you to edit your clips on the go. Accessorize with extra batteries, filters and camera mounts for a complete production package.
Best for… editing
Macbook Pro 13-inch
Apple remains the laptop maker of choice for those in the creative industries, and the new version moves it even further ahead of the pack. The latest release features the excellent Touch Bar, a second color display that runs above the keyboard in place of the F keys (only available on the $1,799 and higher versions). This can be customized to do just about anything, and it’s a godsend for video editors, allowing them to scroll effortlessly through footage with the swipe of a finger. The machine is also a dream to use, with a retina display that’s great for both making and watching video.
Best for… VR-ready video
Nikon Keymission 360
With virtual reality becoming increasingly common, the ability to shoot 360-degree video is slowly moving from a niche pursuit to the mainstream. The Nikon KeyMission 360 is a great starting point. The hand-held unit consists of two ultra wide-angle lenses, one on each side, allowing it to capture the entire field of view. The results can then be watched back on a VR headset or on a desktop PC, and directed around by moving the camera with a mouse or trackpad. If you’re into extreme sports, this is especially good for capturing the panoramic glory of sky dives or ski runs.
Best for… drawing
Wacom Mobile Studio Pro 13
This is the pro choice for drawing on the go, and it now comes in a carry-on friendly 13-inch version. Able to run top-end creative software including Photoshop and Adobe Premier, it’s an illustrator’s dream gadget, meaning you’ll be able to work on professional commissions at 35,000 feet. The display is excellent and it has virtually no lag when drawing. It has an 8-megapixel rear-facing and 5-megapixel front-facing camera. And while the plastic chassis won’t win any design awards, it’s robust enough to survive being chucked in a bag. The box includes the industry-leading Wacom Pro Pen 2 stylus, which boasts 8,192 pressure sensitivity levels.