1. SMART MASK
Whenever I head out, I have a plethora of masks to choose from but most of them aren’t very comfortable to wear for extended periods of time, and none of them are designed for working out. I’m not one of those people who live to exercise but when I do, the only thing I want to be focused on is my form, not whether my mask is on properly or if it’s doing a halfway decent job of keeping me — and anyone around me — safe. The AirPop Active mask is just the mask for that. Designed specifically for working out, it’s a two-layer mask with two-way filtration that blocks airborne threats down to 0.3 microns and has a 99.3% efficiency rate. It also features an adaptive and contoured fit, which makes it so comfortable to wear that it took me almost 20 minutes to realise that I was still wearing my mask after I got home from the gym the other day. Unfortunately, the smart, connected variant of this, the Active+ Halo Smart Mask, is not available in South Africa, but if you can live without having your smartphone monitor your breathing habits and you just need a comfortable, high-performance mask, then this is the one for you. If the Active isn’t quite what you’re looking for, AirPop has a range of everyday masks, including ones for kids over the age of three.
• AirPop Active mask from R1,599, available at Takealot, Dischem, and iStore
2. THE SMARTPHONE
New smartphone brands are popping up faster than new ways to scam people out of their hard-earned cash, but thankfully this brand isn’t a scam. While Oppo might be a relative stranger to most South Africans, the Chinese brand is well known in many parts of the world as an innovative, rule-breaking tech company that happens to share much of its technological prowess with its better-known sibling, One Plus.
Oppo’s new Reno5 5G is an Android powerhouse that packs 5G, a 90Hz Amoled display, 65W charging — which gives you 100% battery in 36 minutes — and a rear-facing quad-camera setup. While not a flagship device (that honour falls to the recently announced Find X3 series), the Reno5 is one of the most feature-packed devices in this price range and currently the most powerful device Oppo has in South Africa.
• Oppo Reno5, R14,999, available from Vodacom and MTN
3. THE SHOES
I’m not a runner — unless you count running my mouth — but my friends who are avid runners always tell me that getting just the right shoe is crucial. It just so happens that Under Armour has released a new running shoe called the Flow Velociti Wind. Under Armour says that it wanted to make a shoe that makes it feel like the wind is behind your back at every turn. To achieve this, it completely eliminated the rubber outer sole and focused on the Flow midsole technology that first debuted in US basketball player Stephen Curry’s signature shoe, the Curry Flow 8. After three years of development, the result is a shoe that is lightweight, has improved surface grip, and can also connect to your phone via the Under Armour Map My Run app which tracks and analyses your runs.
• Under Armour Flow Velociti Wind, R3,499, available for both men and women at Superbalist, Totalsports, and Under Armour stores
4. THE APP
After what feels like centuries of waiting, Apple Pay has finally launched in South Africa. Made exclusively for Apple devices — most notably the Apple Watch and iPhone — the contactless-payment platform is now available to Discovery Bank, Nedbank, and Absa cardholders.
While compatibility with different card providers varies, eligible users can add their cards to their Apple Wallet and pay with a tap of their iPhone or Apple Watch at places around the country where they see the Apple Pay or NFC (near-field communication) payment logos. Having experienced first-hand the disbelief that many people expressed when Samsung Pay first started rolling out and people like me were using our phones to pay for things, I can’t wait to see people’s faces when they discover the joy of not having to worry about losing their card or forgetting it at home.
• Apple Pay is available on iPhone and Apple Watch
• From the May edition of Wanted, 2021.