Zeiss Victory Pocket binoculars
(8x25, £619.99/€715; 10x25 £649.99/€745)
There’s something magical about a really good pair of portable binoculars, and this compact entry in Zeiss’s Victory class is a top-drawer model, offering all things bright and beautiful at 8x magnification in the palm of a reasonably sized hand. The field of view is wide and superbly luminous, the image has an almost surreal vividness, and a cunning single-hinge fold means that the binoculars pack down into a pocket and can be unfolded with one hand. Plus they’re tough, non-slip, waterproof and come with a decade’s warranty, guaranteeing endless pleasurable goggling at concerts, wildlife or the occasional covert-surveillance target.
Introversion Software, a small British software house, is best known for its hugely popular slammer-sim Prison Architect. Scanner Sombre, the follow-up, couldn’t be more different. In this melancholy, atmospheric, occasionally terrifying first-person game, the player character explores a twisting network of underground caves clutching a Lidar scanner. As in real life, the scanner’s reflections create a cloud of 3D points, so the landscape emerges around you in a ravishing scatter of colour. Inevitably, however, something’s wrong down here, and you are not alone. The experience is brief, but, thanks to dazzling experimental visuals and compelling sound design, it’s one to remember. The promised VR version will be quite something.
PC/Mac, iPad (£19.99/$19.99)
This extremely clever app, which turns an iPad into a second monitor for screen-space-starved Mac and PC users, is one of the real essentials on the App Store. Designed by former Apple engineers, it’s a blessing for developers, writers, on-the-go users and anyone who has ever wished for just one more window than will fit on their computer desktop. New updates, however, go further. Duet now also simulates the Touch Bar, the touch-driven app launcher that normally appears only on expensive new Macbooks. Arty types who own an iPad Pro and the Pencil stylus can also use it to draw and edit in professional illustrator programs.