Gadget Guru, do skin-cleansing gadgets really work?

T3’s maestro of the mechanical knows how to clean up your act

Guru, do skin-cleansing gadgets really work?

Everyone wants a solution. And everyone comes to Guru for that solution. But since sandpaper therapy is yet to catch on – GaGu’s toolbox has all the grits, plus a Dewalt DWE6423- GB orbital sander (£110) – you may wish to look elsewhere for some DIY skin fixing.

There are, as your question suggests, a number of devices out there which make a host of claims but offer absolutely no practical benefit. GaGu won’t mention any of them directly, since his love for litigation has waned after the last few lawsuits, but it’s definitely worth avoiding anything which shines a magical light on your face and claims to somehow heal it up.

The full monty comes with a selection of heads and operating modes so you won’t potentially rub foot scrapings on your Mug

The Actual Things That Work aren’t a million miles from Guru’s original suggestion. Oscillating electric-toothbrush-for-your-skin devices like Magnitone’s Full Monty Vibrasonic Daily Skincare Brush (£130) work to scuff filth away and clear up imperfections. The Full Monty even comes with a selection of heads and operating modes, so you can use it on your face and feet without potentially rubbing foot scrapings on your mug.

Take it one step further towards the sandpaper and you reach micro-dermabrasion, as offered by the PMD Personal Microderm Pro (£199), which spins a rough disk over your skin in order to hack away at dead skin cells. It’s not something you can do regularly – just once a month, unless you favour the pained tomato look – but it can work on enlarged pores as well as brightening up the ol’ epidermis.

Can you recommend upgrades to my in-car entertainment?

To give a bit more context (our reader’s full question didn’t quite fit in that bit above) we’re looking at a wobbly mid-2000s’ kiddie-carrier, all stock. So your personal mileage with this answer may vary based on the car you own and the kind of gimmicks that you’ve already bolted to your motor.

Guru’s first suggestion would be to whip out that radio and bang in an upgraded Double DIN unit. If you’re feeling flush, the Pioneer AVIC-F88DAB (MSRP £1,300, but you should be able to find it for about £800) has just about every connectivity option on board, a killer amp, rear camera support, the ability to play movies, and integrated navigation. It’ll do dual-zone media, too – add on some rear screens via the RCA AV output, and you can pipe the latest Disney hit into the back and quell at least some of the inevitable travel squabbling going on.

Investing less? Make sure whatever stereo you choose has at least Bluetooth 4.0, a hands-free mic and some kind of auxiliary input, because you’ll inevitably want to use them. Also grab a reasonably priced set of headrest screens; Guru’s offspring love the Nextbase Car 9 DVD players at £180 for the pair. You could even go all Xzibit and stash an Xbox under a seat with a suitable power inverter like Bestek’s 300W number, which goes for £26.

Other media additions may turn out to be less desirable. A subwoofer and its associated amps and batteries is good tickly fun, but will likely vibrate the panels off an older car. A speaker upgrade is always pleasing, particularly if you’ve blasted the cones off your old set, but actually getting them in place is not an easy task, and you’ll need to ensure whatever you order is compatible with your existing grilles.

What’s the best TV for old games consoles?

If the TV has the right connections for the console, then obviously it’ll work well enough. But you’re not really asking the right question here; Guru would (and will) hastily recommend you dig up an old CRT and use that, since that’s what those consoles were made for.

If you don’t want one of those massive things cluttering up your living room (Guru’s readers are sensible, aesthetic beasts, he knows), you’re better served looking for the right way to get the best picture from that console on a modern TV.

A Framemeister upscaler (around £250) will give you the best picture via HDMI to stop old games looking bitty, but is a bit of an investment. You should also buy a new AV cable, ideally aiming for RGB output for the crispest signal. Switch off as much of your TV’s post-processing as possible to reduce input lag. If you’re shopping for a new TV, the LG 60UH650V (£659) is particularly responsive.

My kitchen sink is blocked, help!

Guru loves a good old bit of manual labour, particularly when he’s watching someone else do it. In terms of tools, though, there’s the classic plunger, which should help shift the muck that’s sloshing around in your pipes, or a pipe snake should your personal fatberg be stubborn.

If all that doesn’t work for you, have a good look at the horrific innards of your waste plumbing with a borescopic camera, like BeneStellar’s chips-cheap £8.99 USB OTG number, or employ the services of a power plunger. The Monument 2161X (about £30) is not, sadly, a motorised plunging device, but it will blast compressed air into your gubbins.

What's your fave gadget?

That is like asking Guru which of his children is his favourite (it’s GaGu Jr) although his gadgets tend to rate a bit higher on the depth chart than his grubby progeny. Top of the tree has to be the ever-present Samsung Galaxy S8 (£689). It’s with Guru on the train, in the toilet, in the train toilet – although the barrage of lewd Snapchats from Guru’s admirers can be a bit of a negative.

Guru's precious Samsung Galaxy S8 goes everywhere with him - on the train, in the toilet, in the train toilet...

Let’s turn this around to you, readers: drop us an email and let Guru know your favourite gadget – apart from your phone, because that is a rubbish answer that only a terrible charlatan would give. The results will feature in a future issue if GaGu actually remembers to collate them.

Can I charge my smartphone wirelessly?

Trust Apple to get people excited about a technology that’s been around ages. The Qi charging circuit in the iPhone X isn’t a new thing, but Guru’s bundle of ruined charging cords is testament to its usefulness. 

Short answer: yes. If your phone has Qi charging built in, you just need a charging pad – Anker does one for £17. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to add it on. On iPhones, tuck the ribbon-cabled iQi Mobile Qi Receiver (£22) into a suitable case (or, indeed, buy iQi’s Qi-integrated case for £30) and you’re set. Similar receivers are available for Android.

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