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Sunglasses, guidebook, ironic hipster Count Duckula T-shirt? Yep, you’re just about all packed – but don’t forget to bring a gadget companion or two along on your big trip…

Sony ZV-E1 – R48,000/

Sony ZV-E1 image (Sony)

Stuff says – Like a cheaper, smaller A7S III with super video skills 

Key specs:

  • 12.1MP full-frame CMOS
  • 4K@120fps
  • 3in rotating touchscreen
  • 121x72x54mm, 483g

Even influencers go on holiday… and if you’re harbouring dreams of YouTube or TikTok stardom, your smartphone just isn’t going to cut it for capturing your summer adventures to share with the world. Enter Sony’s video-centric new ZV-E1: the first model in its vlog-friendly ZV range to come with a full-frame sensor.

There might only be 12.1MP on this 35mm CMOS, but the sensor’s mammoth physical size makes for astounding image quality. It’s the same one you’ll find in the company’s beloved A7S III, in fact, and it’s similarly brilliant in low-light conditions.

Toss in Sony’s much-improved colour science and you’ve got beautifully cinematic footage straight out of the camera, made all the better by the fact that you can rely on the tracking autofocus to keep locked onto your subject. Thanks to some AI cleverness, it’s able to recognise a range of subjects from human faces to animals and aeroplanes.

Video can be captured in 4K quality at anything from 24fps to (after the post-launch firmware update) 120fps, making it possible to produce slo-mo as smooth and slick as an otter’s pelt.

Level Woman

You can do all this without a tripod too, thanks to the new Dynamic Active SteadyShot, which is some of the best image stabilisation we’ve seen on a Sony. The only downside with this setting is the rather severe crop it applies, so if you like to walk and vlog you’ll probably need to invest in an ultra-wide-angle lens.

There are other shortcuts too, such as the single SD card slot, micro rather than full-size HDMI and no viewfinder; and while you can take decent stills on this thing, its lack of a mechanical shutter makes it much more of a video specialist than the A7S III.

Still, this is a fantastic deal for the money, and thanks to its new touchscreen interface and a raft of simplified vlogging functions it’s able to cater to beginners as well as veteran videographers, all while being compact enough to bring anywhere – lens permitting.

Kids’ Carry-ons

You can’t just let them play Switch games all holiday – but there are other ways to make sure your youngsters won’t have time to be bored.

Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Pro – R2,850/

Amazon Fire HD 8 Kids Pro (mag) (1)



Stuff says – A robust budget tablet that’s perfect for older sprogs

While Amazon says this 8in tablet is suitable for children aged 6-12, in our view, it’s pitched more towards the upper end of that scale: at those self-conscious pre-teens who wouldn’t be caught dead prodding at a super-chunky tots’ tab.

Despite running on essentially the same hardware as the 2022 edition of the Fire HD 8 Kids, the Pro showcases some subtle but important changes – not least the fact that its plastic bumpers are slightly slimmer for a more mature look, while still offering plenty of padding (although be warned: it’s not waterproof).

Closed to you

The user interface gets a tweak too, with a two-tabbed home screen: the first a more grown-up variation on the standard Fire Kids look, the second closer to the adult version. Parental controls are fairly robust, with installation of apps restricted – although kids can nominate any they’d like you to review and install.

The 1280×800 screen is hardly a class leader but does the job for games, videos and photos – as does the six-core CPU, with 32GB of storage and a 12-hour battery.

Now add these:

Belkin SoundForm Nano Earbuds – R760/

Belkin SoundForm Nano (mag)

Kids’ headphones can be as much a boon to adults as they are to the children wearing them – because they mean you no longer have to listen to the inane ramblings of Blippi or that one Frozen song. These are cheap, waterproof and available in three colourways.

Fitbit Ace 3 – R1,800/

Fitbit Ace 3 activity tracker (mag)

Worried your little ones aren’t active enough? Fitbit’s Ace 3 junior tracker can help: by default, it sets goals of 250 steps per hour and 60 active minutes per day. Aimed at children aged 6+, it also has eight days
of battery life, a range of colourful finishes (including this Minions one) and interactive clock faces.

Now app these:

Duolingo – Free (Android/iOS)

Duolingo app image

Kids generally pick up new languages faster than grown-ups, and this hugely popular learning app can also give them a better sense of the country you’re travelling to. It’s simple and friendly (if naggy with its reminder notifications).

Ticket to Ride – R100 (Android/iOS)

Ticket to Ride app image

Keep the travel theme going by constructing a train route across America in this excellent adaptation of the original Ticket to Ride board game. Older kids and adults will soon find themselves addicted – but learning at the same time.

Easy Entertainers

Forget trashy airport novels – slip one of these transportable time-sinks into your carry-on and banish holiday boredom forever.

Xgimi Mogo 2 Pro – R14,950/

Xgimi Mogo Pro 2 (mag)

 Stuff says – This is the best projector for film fans on the move

Home cinema projectors have always been a banquet for the eyes… but also a largely immovable feast. Well, that isn’t the case here: the MoGo 2 Pro is one projector that’s designed to be moved.

Lightweight and compact enough to fit in a small backpack or tote, it can run off any USB power bank of 65W or more to provide up to 200in of al-fresco big-screen joy – although, if you’re watching outdoors, you’ll need to wait until after sunset to get a clear and punchy picture.

Baby, I love view

The 1080p image quality is superb for such a small projector, with vivid colours and strong contrast when used in a dimly lit location, but the best part is how easy it is to set up: the screen aligns and focuses automatically, so you don’t need to do much more than point it at a whitish wall to get a beautifully straight picture.

Sound comes courtesy of an unexpectedly beefy pair of 8W speakers, and with an HDMI input plus Android TV on board there’s no shortage of places to get content: YouTube, Prime Video and more are only all an app installation away.

Now add these:

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite – R3,100/

Amazon kindle Paperwhite

Long-haul flights and slow days lounging by the pool will fly by in the company of Amazon’s most appealing e-reader. Not too basic, not too fancy, the Paperwhite gets out of the way and lets you enjoy the book – but you will appreciate the splashproof build and adjustable warm light.

Steam Deck – R13,000/

Steam Deck (mag)

Bringing PC gaming to a handheld was never going to be easy, but Valve has pulled it off… even if the Steam Deck’s bulk pushes the word ‘portable’ to its limits. Fire it up and you’ll forget all that: its performance, display and huge library make it the best on-the-go games machine.

Sony WF-C700N – R2,500/

Sony WF-C700N (mag)

Not content with making the best noise-cancelling over-ear cans and in-ear buds around, Sony has turned its ANC talents to budget earphones. These use multiple mics to monitor outside audio, then strip it away from your ears via Sony’s clever algorithms.

Memory Makers

If you want to remember your summer holiday forever, leave room in that suitcase for a specialist camera. Who needs underpants anyway?

Fujifilm Instax Mini 12 – R1,800/

Fujifilm Instax Mini 12 (mag)

Stuff says – Brings joy and immediacy back to photography

Upset that photos have lost their tactile nature in the digital age? The Instax Mini 12 is the medicine you need. This affordable instant camera ejects a print in just five seconds, allowing you to watch it develop over the next minute and a half. Then give it to your friends or stick it to the fridge door.

This colourful point-and-shoot device is charmingly simple. Using the viewfinder is vital for ensuring your shots are framed accurately, of course (and it even has parallax correction when shooting in the new close-up mode so subjects don’t drift off to one side), but the flash, shutter settings and film ejection are all automatic.

Seat it

Instax photos are credit-card-sized and come in packs of 10 that load, cartridge-like, into the back of the Mini 12. They’re not cheap – a twin pack costs about R360 – but then, neither are decent printers.

We found the image quality was at its strongest indoors, with some sunny shots coming out overexposed; but in general, they look punchy and vibrant. And the fun factor of having them in your hands in seconds is hard to beat.


DJI Mini 2 SE – R8,500/

DJI Mini 2 SE (Stuff mag)

Weighing under 250g means this folding drone can be whipped out of your pocket and legally flown almost anywhere, capturing gorgeous 12MP photos and 2.7K videos from the skies. With a 31-minute battery life and the ability to hover steadily in 24mph winds, it’s also a breeze (no pun intended) to fly.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 12+ – R8,800/

Xiaomi Redmi Note 12 Pro+ (Stuff mag)

Want a smartphone built to capture all your adventures? The stonking 200MP main camera on Redmi’s latest handset is a doozy when it comes to detail, and it’s backed up by 8MP ultrawide and 2MP macro cams for specialist snaps, plus a 16MP sensor up front.

GoPro HERO11 Black Mini – R6,500/

GoPro HERO11 Black Mini (Stuff mag)

Like your holidays sweaty and active? Capture all your extreme exploits with the tiniest GoPro around. Waterproof and low-profile enough to fit below a skateboard, the Mini offers better image quality than the previous generation of full-size mainline GoPro action cams.

Now app these:

Snapseed – Free (Android/iOS)

Stuff mag

This venerable free mobile photo editor, now owned by Google, is a simple way to tweak and tune your images on the go. Despite its dozens of tools, the clean interface and lack of ads keep things lightweight and fast.

Adobe Premiere Rush – from R220/m (Android/iOS)

Adobe Premiere Rush app (Stuff mag)


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