2014's 10 top gadgets that designers will want to own

We reveal the clever gizmos designers across the globe will be drooling over this year. Will you succumb to any of these techie temptations?

2014 looks to be a great year for designer gadgets. From cool new cameras to the latest in wearable tech, there's tons of tempting new hardware out there. But is any of it any good?

We've searched through thousands of new gadgets - some in the pipeline, some already on the market - to find the diamonds in the rough, and here they are. These are the 10 gadgets we reckon are worth checking out this year - although whether you actually part money for them is entirely a matter for you and your bank manager...

01. Poppy

Designer gadgets Poppy

Turn your iPhone into a 3D camera with Poppy
  • Price: $59.95
  • Available: Now

Poppy is an ultra-cool, Kickstarter-funded iPhone accessory that turns your Apple device into a 3D camera.

Working with iPhone 4, 4S, iPhone 5 and the fifth generation iPod Touch, you simply put your phone into the View-Master-esque device and Poppy captures two stereographic images using your iPhone's single camera.

You can also use Poppy to view 3D videos and photos on your iPhone - and even 3D movies on YouTube. And having no electronics (or needing any batteries) means that the cost is kept down: Poppy only costs $59.95. Looks like a lot of fun.

02. LaCie Christofle Sphère

Designer gadgets Lacie

Is this the most beautiful hard drive ever?
  • Price: $490
  • Available: Now

It's difficult to imagine a cooler hard drive than this one by LaCie.

Made to complement high-design computers such as Apple's Mac Pro, the silver-plated Sphère has been designed by luxury silversmiths Christofle. It's certainly a head-turning device, and with 1TB of storage and USB 3 (and no power cable), it's as useful as it is beautiful.

It's also worth looking at LaCie's other recent release – a USB 3 key designed by Constance Guisset.

03. Polaroid Social Matic

Designer gadgets Polaroid

A camera that looks like a camera app icon - how meta can you get?
  • Price: TBC
  • Available: TBC

The Polaroid Social Matic was of the most intriguing gadgets to emerge from CES, the annual Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas last week. With a physical likeness to the Instagram app icon that will certainly turn heads, this Android-powered camera enables you to take shots and quickly share directly to social platforms.

The Social Matic has a 14-megapixel front and 2-megapixel rear camera, a 4.5-inch touchscreen and built-in Wi-Fi. But the real fun starts when you realise the Social Matic can print out your 2 x 3-inch snaps directly onto Zink (Zero Ink) paper. So you'll not only have a digital record of your shots, but also a physical one. Essentially then, it's a modern-day Polaroid.

04. Pebble Steel

Designer gadgets Pebble

Will Pebble win the battle of the smartwatches?
  • Price: $249
  • Available: Feb 2014

It's widely predicted that 2014 will be the year of wearable technology. But while we've already seen so-called 'smartwatches' from the likes of Sony and Samsung, we're betting that the new Pebble Steel will be the one to win the day.

As well as having all the cool apps and functionality, such as being able to take calls, read messages, control music and so on, the Pebble Steel actually looks the part with a steel or leather strap (both are included). And with Pebble soon to launch an app store, there's potentially loads of new apps on the horizon. Read a review of the Pebble Steel on our sister site here.

05. Mother

Designer gadgets Mother

Mother will watch over your home at all times. Not at all creepy...
  • Price: $222
  • Available: Now

One for the designer parents amongst you, Mother is a small, Russian doll-like device that connects to your home network and, in conjunction with 'Motion Cookies' (which can detect motion, temperature and location), enables you to monitor and track different areas of your life.

For instance, you might want to get an alert when your son or daughter gets home, or if there's movement detected in the house when you're not expecting it.

You could even attach a Motion Cookie to a toothbrush to monitor whether you (or your family) clean your teeth enough. Or attach one to your pills – the accelerometer in the Motion Cookie attached to the packet detecting whether you've taken your medication that day. There are literally hundreds of possibilities.

06. Wellograph

Designer gadgets Wellograph

If your New Year's resolution was to get fit, this may be the gadget for you
  • Price: Expected to be around $300
  • Available: Spring 2014

More wearable tech, the Wellograph is an activity tracker, heart rate monitor and running watch that gives you live information about your activity.

While the aluminium and leather design is stylish, and the display looks gorgeous, what makes Wellograph really cool is the way it displays your pulse, fitness, workout, steps and other data in simple infographics. It also nags you if you've been idle for too long.

Naturally, it pairs with an iOS and Android app to display your information in more detail. Definitely one to look out for if tracking fitness is your thing, the Wellograph arrives in spring this year.

07. URB-E

Designer gadgets URB-E

Will this be the coolest way for designers to get around in 2014?
  • Price: Expected to be $1,000-15,000
  • Available: TBC

Touting itself as the world's most compact e-vehicle, the URB-E may just be the ideal way to get to that next client meeting, or to just pop out and grab some coffee.

It may look slightly silly at first, but when you watch the video on the company's website you soon realise just how cool this vehicle is - and could make your commute a whole lot of fun.

The URB-E goes up to 15mph, is extremely compact and lightweight, has a 20 mile range (the company is developing charging stations for towns and cities) and it may even have a smartphone dock so you can slot your iPhone in.

08. Panono Camera

Designer gadgets Panono

It's a ball. It's a camera. Just think of the possibilities
  • Price: TBC
  • Available: TBC

Here's something a bit different. The Panono Camera is a ball with 36 cameras built in. You throw it in the air and the accelerometer inside the camera measures the launch acceleration to calculate when the camera is at its highest point and barely moving.

Then, all 36 cameras are triggered and the moment is captured. This means you get a 360-degree x 360-degree spherical image captured which you can then preview (panning around, rather like Google Street View) in the Panono app (iOS and Android) before stitching and sharing. Images are spat out at 108-megapixels.

A very interesting product that looks like a lot of fun, with huge potential for creative projects.

09. Nikon DF

Designer gadgets Nikon DF

Nikon has gone all back to the future on us for 2014
  • Price: $2,750
  • Available: Now

As camera technology gets better and better, it's rather strange that many companies are reverting back to the look and feel of older cameras. But trends are trends, and to be honest, we're not complaining… we love the retro look of many of Nikon and Olympus' new models.

Nikon's latest SLR with 'classic' styling, the DF, has a 16.2-megapixel full-frame FX-format image sensor, small body, traditional controls and is weatherproof. Beyond the specs (which you can read about on TechRadar here), it's a very nice looking camera indeed.

10. Neptune Pine

Neptune Pine

It doesn't connect to your phone. It IS your phone
  • Price: From $335
  • Available: March

Most smartwatches connect to another device to perform actions. For instance, the Samsung Galaxy Gear will connect to an S4 or Note 3 smartphone and enable you to answer calls or reply to messages on the device.

The Neptune Pine, however, is different - it actually IS a phone, as well as a watch. This enables you to make calls, send messages, take pictures and even post to social media sites directly from the device.

It's powered by Android Jelly Bean, and it is somewhat (er, very) large to have on your wrist. But it has a minimalist design and could, just maybe, replace your smartphone in future iterations. One for the early adopters. Read Tech Radar's full review here.

Words: Rob Carney

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Do any of these new gadgets tickle your fancy? Let us know in the comments below!