As keen proponents of the technological revolution, we at MT like nothing better than a new gadget to adorn our homes – however pointless they may be. So we were interested to see the results of a new survey by consumer website which.co.uk, which asked more than 1,000 people to name the gadgets that had changed their lives – and also the ones that have proved to be a total waste of microchips…
Perhaps not surprisingly, the mobile phone was considered to be the most influential item – more than a quarter said it had had the biggest effect on their behaviour, including almost half of those in the 16-24 year-old bracket. So if – like us – you find it incredibly hard to imagine what life was like without one now, we’re clearly not the only ones. ‘Forget games consoles and TVs’, said Which editor Jess Ross. ‘We've found that the mobile phone is the gadget that people say has changed their life’.
Games consoles did at least scrape into the top ten, which is more than can be said for TVs – they were ranked a lowly 19th. That’s eight places lower than hair straighteners, which might come as a bit of a shock to anyone with a Y chromosome. But all three were ranked lower than washing machines, hoovers and microwaves. Laptops, MP3 players, digital cameras and satnavs made up the rest of the top five.
The more controversial result – at least as far as we were concerned – was the ranking of most useless gadgets. Now we’re probably biased here, but we find most gadgets have something loveable about them. Just because they fulfil a need that you never knew you had and probably never would have noticed, that doesn’t make them pointless. OK, so we’re not going to launch into a vehement defence of the foot spa, that stalwart of lofts across Middle England, which was voted as the world’s most pointless gadget – in our experience, they don’t tend to be much good.
However, we were a little shocked by some of the other inclusions. Admittedly bread and coffee makers aren’t for purists, and may in some circles be considered a little bourgeois. But they smell so nice – it’s like having a very expensive air freshener. And wannabe Jamies or Nigella may also be surprised to see food processors in there. Can you imagine a world without the Magimix? It doesn’t bear thinking about.