Nearly everybody that I know has a subscription of some type, be it Netflix, PlayStation+, Xbox Game Pass. The list is endless. They all aim to provide a service that opens up usability for all, as well as help you discover new things.
How about one for tech gadgets?
Mystery Box of Tech You Say?
Gadget Discovery Club is such a service whereby for a set quarterly, or annual, fee and you will receive 4 mystery tech boxes throughout the year. With the promise that each box will have 1 to 4 gadgets inside and it contents retail at over £100, it seems like a no-brainer, doesn’t it?
The Get Go
When you initially set up your plan you are asked how tech savvy you are, giving 3 choices ranging from “not very” to “gadget geek” before selecting your payment choice. That is pretty much it. Sit back and wait for that knock on the door from the courier!
When my mysterious black box of tech turned up I was high in anticipation for what could be appearing. It felt a bit like your birthday when you have that family member who takes great delight in telling you “they have just the thing for you” yet you do not know what it could possibly be.
What’s In My Box?
As I opened my box I was greeted by 4 gadget items. There was a wireless charging pad, small speaker, compact key holder and a finger grip for a mobile phone. My initial thoughts was slight disappointment, but that was without initially knowing the prices of this kind of tech. Had I received good value for money?
NativeHQ Wireless Charger:
Retailing at £44.99 on the NativeHQ website, the 10W wireless charger felt very weighty, 5mm thick and was finished with a tight mesh premium look on the top. While many mobile phones now support 15W for fast charging I found that the 10W NativeHQ was sufficient for the bedside table for overnight charging. The unit came complete with a USB C to A cable for easy plugging into the USB wall socket.
RISE miniBOOM Wireless Speaker:
Priced at £39.99 on the Rise Traveler website, this is certainly a very powerful and tiny Bluetooth portable speaker. With an output of 3W there is a good punch of sound that comes from the small black aluminium orb that is only a couple of inches in diameter. The speaker has an inbuilt mic for taking calls as well as a 300mAh battery providing up to 4 hours of life. I noted that if you get a second miniBOOM speaker you can create a stereo sound.
Key Smart Compact Key Holder:
With an RRP of £19.95 on the Key Smart website, this slim device was something that I had not really seen before and certainly intrigued me. The very simplistic design allowed you to store up to 8 Yale-style keys in one place, by undoing the 2 screws and placing 4 keys at each end before tightening the key holder back up. You effectively created a swiss army knife-style device. So simple but it made me smile!
MOMO STiCK Finger Grip:
On Amazon it was found for £12.90, however the official retailer in Korea did not show prices on their website. The Finger Grip is a slim oval-shaped plate that sticks to the back of your phone and has a sliding strap that allows you to put your finger inside for a more secure grip. Now while the principle was all well and good, sadly it did not work very well on my Samsung S21 Ultra. Limited by the camera cluster I found that my natural hand placement when holding my phone did not allow for the Finger Grip to go where I needed it. When I placed it lower down, trying to compensate for the issue, I then found that despite the promise that it would not block wireless charging, it did for me. Needless to say, I passed the Finger Grip on to another family member whose phone it would not impede.
Based on the prices that I found for each of the devices, if bought brand new, there is just over £115 of gadgets in my box. Not bad when you think that this would have cost you either £63 or £69 depending on your plan. On the surface, it seems to be very good value for money.
Dig a little deeper however and you uncover a slightly shadier world. I found that some of the official product websites actually shared the same company address details as the Gadget Discovery Club. This immediately threw into doubt that the RRP prices could be believed. While the purpose of a company is to make a profit, a quick look on Ali-Express reveals the exact same wireless speaker for a couple of quid along with the option to add your own logo. I couldn’t help but feel deceived by the whole setup.
The Gadget Discovery Club, at face value, appears to be a fun and exciting way to explore new tech. In my opinion, it should be probably best avoided based upon how they are deceptively not only setting the RRP’s of the products that you are making a “saving” on but also affiliated with the official retailer websites for some of the products that you receive too.
I feel that based on these work ethics it is with regret that I cannot award a Thumb Culture award on this occasion.
Disclaimer: A sample was received in order to write this review.