AU Favourites: 7 things worth checking out in April 2024

Welcome to AU Favourites, a new monthly column where our writers highlight several things they’ve been loving lately. Whether it’s a good read, new tech product, or even a piece of furniture. We’re lucky enough to go hands on with a lot of things across the many areas that we cover on this website. We want to highlight what we’ve been raving to our friends about, so if you’ve got a birthday coming up, or just feel like treating yourself, you know exactly what’s out there in this the eternally vast sea of.. things.

1. Swann AllSecure650 2K Wireless Security Kit

Between Arlo and Ring, the appetite for smart security devices is picking up for homeowners who want to add this essential piece of kit to their smart home ambitions. The problem is, there are so many moving parts when it comes to building a security system that you’re happy with and making it work with your preferred virtual assistant. That’s why a package like this is so valuable for anyone starting from scratch.

The Swann AllSecure650 2K Wireless Security Kit comes with four high-performace smart security cameras as well as a central Power Hub that doesn’t just store up to two years worth of recordings, but also stores a spare battery so you don’t have any downtime when it comes to juicing up your cameras.

Given the most annoying thing with wireless cameras is having to change the battery every now and then (they run out faster than you’d think), this is a very valuable feature from the Swann team which should help this affordable kit slot right up there as one of the best most essential products for a smart home.


2. Amazon Echo Hub

Ever dreamed of building your own smart home but not sure where to stay? Amazon has been steadily refining Alexa and expanding its use case for years now. Between Ring security cameras and Echo Dot speakers, it feels like the company has made a significant move forward with the latest Echo Hub.

To date, Echo Hub devices have been limited in their functionality and a bit clunky in their UI. This new Amazon device changes that completely, with an 8-inch touch screen with a customisable dashboard and instant access to all your homes smart devices. With this, it’s easier to set-up automatic routines throughout the day, so for example your smart locks can automatically engage, lights dim and thermostat tweaked according to your tastes. You can also view multiple camera feeds, sync with all connected devices, and play music directly from the Hub or “fling” it to other speakers in house.


3. Penhaligon’s Balm of Calm

Last week I highlighted one of my favourite unisex perfumes that I own, which was Babylon by Penhaligon’s. And it must have been a popular choice for the UK brand as most of our readers for that feature came from searching for Babylon. The fact that it’s so rare for a singular perfume to have good search volume, years after its release, should tell you all you need to know about the quality of the EDP.

So I wanted to highlight another one of my favourites from the London-born perfume house. That is, Penhaligon’s Balm of Calm. This immaculately clean perfume is also unisex and has more of a woody-aromatic body with top notes of cardamom, clary sage and lavender then leading to a heart of geranium, iris and rum, before drying down to the robust woody notes of sandalwood, vetiver and oak. Perfect for date night.


4. Withings Sleep Analyser

Withings has done well to establish itself as the go-to company for brand-agnostic health tracking. Unlike tech giants like Apple and Samsung, Withings is a neutral option without locking you into any of those big tech ecosystems. That’s why devices like the ScanWatch 2 are selling so well, in addition to unique offerings like the Withings Sleep Analyser.

This mat has been out for many years now and it works so well that Withings hasn’t really needed to iterate. It’s straightforward as well. The mat goes under your mattress and simply monitors you while you sleep, offering a much more comprehensive and intelligible profile of your sleep patterns than just about any other health tracking device. Needless to say, it’s absolutely essential if you suspect you have a condition like sleep apnea that you want to address as soon as possible. It’s your very own sleep study.


5. Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 4

I’ve tested countless earbuds from just about every major brand over the past few years and can confidently say Sennheiser has given us their best to date with the MOMENTUM True Wireless 4. The series has always been up there in terms of both quality and comfort, but newly refined drivers and a boatload of modern technology means these look and sound the business. While they are quite pricey, I think the iconic audio brand has done plenty to help push up value, from introducing intelligent charging to preserve long-term battery life to pushing a new Qualcomm chip that’s demonstratable smart and focuses on maintaining a consistent connection at all times. Not bad, Sennheiser. I’m hoping this new gold standard helps raise this competitive market even further.


6. GoPro HERO12 Black

Have you got an adventure seeker in your life? Or maybe just a keen traveller who’s planning to see more of the world next year. They’ll need a beastly action camera to make memories with so take a look at the latest from GoPro. The Hero12 Black continues the brand’s solid legacy when it comes to building durable, highly versatile cameras that can be used to create all kinds of content and practice a wide range of angles and styles.

With some clever upgrades, GoPro has delivered its most rugged camera to date. With longer runtime, users are now able to shoot for over 1.5 hours at 5.3K30 with HyperSmooth 6.0 video stabilisation and a large image sensor that can capture an ultra-wide 156-degree FoV in 8:7. For content creators, being able to up the standard of content to dial in vivid, crispy memories is invaluable.

Other features include the ability to take 27MP photos with 24.7MP stills from videos, a case that’s waterproof up to 33 feet, and advanced Bluetooth support for users can use AirPods or other audio devices for wireless sound recording and voice control.


7. Bellroy Tokyo Messenger Bag

I’ve been a big fan of Bellroy for years. The balance between price point and quality I’ve found is the best on the growing category of upscale carry solutions. The premium, simplistic design and highly functional materials has always positioned them as one of the most reliable brands in their space, so when Bellroy expand their super popular “Tokyo” range, it’s worth paying attention.

Adding to their collection this year, Bellroy has launched both the Tokyo Messenger Bag and Tokyo Laptop Bag. Both offer the same luxury design but as someone who travels a lot, I’m leaning towards the Messenger Bag. It’s got a padded sleeve for laptops up to 14″, quick-access zip pockets with a key clip, pop pockets and mesh pockets, as well as soft-edge grip handles and a durable, water-resistant shell. For those who pay attention the small details, this is a seamless get and likely one of the only bags released this year that’ll actually feel new.


Chris Singh

Chris Singh is an Editor-At-Large at the AU review, loves writing about travel and hospitality, and is partial to a perfectly textured octopus. You can reach him on Instagram: @chrisdsingh.