Six of the best gadgets and gizmos on a theme. This week: Six of the best appcessories.

By Peter Jenkinson

Business breakthrough

iZettle - £99 from

This ingenious piece of kit will help level out the commercial playing field, by enabling small businesses and individuals to accept credit card payments. After setting up an account, you can ask customers to insert cards and tap in their PIN securely, like in 'big' shops, and then payments are authorised and all sales data collated in some very smart software. A much-needed weapon against the high street behemoths.

Rain or shine

Netatmo weather station - £139.95 from

This urban weather station gives information for iOS and Android devices using a set of sensors that monitor your direct environment. Taking readings of temperature, barometric pressure, humidity, CO2 concentration and noise pollution, the device sends the info wirelessly to your smartphone and displays it all on decent looking dashboards and graphs. A forecast you can actually trust.

Close up

Sony QX10 - £129.99 from

Turn your smartphone or tablet into a 'proper' high grade photo taking device with the addition of this smart lens from Sony. It connects over Wi-Fi or NFC and gives your phone a very decent 10x optical zoom, and can also attach itself to a variety of devices (although prefers the Sony Xperia Z1). Take images, share via social media and re-touch in an instant.

Safety first

Nest Protect - £109.95 from

This smoke and carbon monoxide detector does much more than simply sound an alarm, it actually talks to you, guiding you to where the danger is and telling you exactly what is wrong. Teaming up with your mobile, it'll message you if the battery gets low and the unit itself can be calmed after 'burnt toast' episodes by waving your hand over your screen rather than frantically waving your tea towel.

Lights fantastic

Philips Hue system - £179.95 from

This super-smart lighting system starter pack contains three LED bulbs and the bridge you'll need to control all aspects of your illumination from both iOS an Android devices. You can alter the hues from within the bulb to match your mood, you can set alarms so the lights glow a certain colour at specific times, and you can turn on your home's lights before you get back so everything is nice and bright. How welcoming.

Feed me

Flower Power - £49.99 from

If the greenery in your home often turns a little brown, perhaps this great gadget can assist in improving your horticultural habits. Pop the gadget into the soil and it'll measure the health of your plant in real time, sending sunlight, soil moisture, temperature and fertiliser level info to your phone so you know when to grab the watering can. The app also has a library of over 6,000 plants for when you're ready to venture to more responsibility.

App of the week

Cupets - free on iTunes and Google Play

Download this virtual world and nurture one free digital pet - but remember you must take care of your in-phone friend, or it'll (quite rightly) behave badly. You can also buy the physical Cupets online so they interact with your device and come to life on-screen when you use QR codes and point the camera at them.

Top 10 paid for apps for Android phones

1. The Chase

2. Minecraft - Pocket Edition


4. Cut the Rope

5. Camera for Kindle Fire

6. Temple Run: Oz

7. Plants vs Zombies

8. Bike Race

9. Catch Phrase

10. Survival Games - Minecraft Mini Game & Mutliplayer

Top 10 free apps for Android phones

1. REBALL(Pro)

2. Candy Crush Saga

3. BBC iPlayer

4. Angry Birds Go!

5. BBC Media Player

6. Facebook

7. Jelly Splash

8. Nemo's Reef

9. Netflix

10. Solitaire

(Both charts courtesy of Appstore on