04/04/2012 14:50 | By Rebecca Bryant, editor, MSN Shopping

Bank holiday gadgets

The weather may not be able to make its mind up at the moment but don’t let a bit of rain and cold ruin your bank holiday. Dig out your stereo, crank up some tunes and get ready to relax with friends and family over the long weekend. And to help you make the most of your time off, here's our pick of cool gadgets to keep you entertained.


Vita Audio R1 MKII DAB radio (© Image © Ciao)


1. Crank up the tunes

Whether you're into dubstep, grime or Lana Del Ray's album, take advantage of the downtime and crank up the tunes using a digital radio. With an easy-to-read, 16 x 2 character LCD display and amber backlight, this Robert's Revival Union Jack radio is a fine-looking device, great prep for the jubilee weekend and also has a headphones socket if you need to keep it personal.

For a vintage-style twist, opt for this eye-catching PURE Evoke MIO in cherry red, which includes a ChargePAK for around-the-clock listening and a handy carry handle.

Combining a compact and portable retro-design with the latest state-of-the-art DAB, DAB+ and FM (with RDS) reception, the Vita Audio R1 MK II DAB Radio is the crème de la crème of digital radios and worth every penny if you have the cash to spare. It comes with a battery pack, MP3/MP4 player connectivity and you can buy a protective leather carry case so you can use this stylish-looking device for parties outdoors. You can also plug in and play your MP3 player via the audio input.

From purse-friendly DAB radios such as the colourful selection of Bush Portable DAB/FM radios to Micro systems that combine a DAB radio function with a docking station for your iPod/iPhone (such as Acoustic Solutions DAB Flat Micro System with Dock), there are plenty of audio sets available for all budgets, so why not treat yourself this weekend to some hot new equipment? You can then indulge yourself in whatever music takes your fancy.
More audio gear on Ciao

2. Wireless entertainment
Gone are the days of haphazardly tripping over wires; the new wireless technologies have shifted the focus towards wire-free entertainment.

If you want an all-in-one, easy-to-use, so simple to set up that 'a child could do it' bundle system, try the Sonos Bundle. Consisting of two bases and a handheld touchscreen with full colour VGA display, the Sonos Bundle stores all your music in one library, which you can access wirelessly via remote control. This means you can control the music being played from wherever you are.

Samsung Home Theatre (© Image © Ciao)

Or transform your home into a cinema using a wireless system such as Samsung's Home Theatre. Featuring wireless-ready rear speakers, you can enjoy all the latest films and TV shows without having to look at unsightly wires. The audio quality is top notch too.

These wireless home theatre systems may come with a price tag but once set up, they'll make your home life much easier.
More wireless audio on Ciao

3. Indulge in some smart TV
With analogue TV being phased out this year (it ends in October 2012), why not take the bank holiday as an opportunity to upgrade your TV? Forget 3D TV, the hot topic on everyone's lips for 2012 is smart TV. Get involved by buying one of these new so-called smart TVs, which come with the additional bonus of online services.

If you don't know where to start, then try Samsung for an excellent range of smart TVs. This slimline 46-inch Samsung UE46D5520, £749, is packed full of features - including access to the internet and an Allshare system, which lets you transfer videos etc from other devices wirelessly.

Sony KDL32ex (© Image © Ciao)


Sony's offerings are equally worth considering. The Sony KDL32EX723BU 32-inch widescreen full HD offers access to the internet while allowing you to watch films in smooth 2D or 3D depending on your preference. The 32-inch version is also a good choice if you don't want a TV to dominate your living space.

And if you can't afford to splash out on the latest in TV technology, you could always try the latest in a long line of 3D DVDs. From My Bloody Valentine to the award-winning Hugo, the addition of 3D adds an extra dimension to the home cinema experience and will entertain the whole family.
More 3D films on Ciao

4. Get competitive
There's nothing like a bit of friendly competition to liven things up a bit, so why not organise your own sports day using the bestselling Microsoft Kinect. Challenge your friends and family to a game of beach volleyball or bowling on Kinect Sports or bust some moves on Dance Central 2 using the motion sensor console, where you are the controller.

PlayStation Vita (© Image © Ciao)


If you want to take it outside, why not try one of the Nintendo 3DS portable consoles or the new PlayStation Vita. Challenge your friends to Ridge Racer on the PlayStation Vita or see how far you can get with Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracle on the Nintendo 3DS. See what all the fuss is about and treat yourself this bank holiday to a hot portable gadget.
More games for the Nintendo 3DS on Ciao

KitchenAid mixer (© Image © Ciao)


5. Whip up a feast

Give us any excuse to indulge our tastebuds and we will, so why not whip up a gourmet feast this bank holiday, organise a bake-off or even attempt to make homemade ice-cream using these ingenious home gadgets?

Take this mighty KitchenAid food mixer, for example. Robust and built to last, you can create a large batch of cupcake mix with little effort, thanks to the 10-speed motor. Take advantage of all the fresh fruit coming into season with a hand blender like the Kenwood Triblade HB724 and knock yourself up a juice or smoothie. And if you do attempt a BBQ that then doesn't quite go according to plan, you can always rely on the George Foreman grill.

Find food blenders on Ciao
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