Gadget Discovery Club review: This subscription box delivers a mystery gadget to your door each month – The Independent

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From pocket-sized speakers to portable blenders, you’re never sure what you’ll receive next
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Receiving things in the post is the great leveller: from the lowliest serf to the bitcoin squillionaire aboard his megayacht, we all get the same tiny thrill from hearing the doorbell ring and finding a mystery parcel hastily concealed under the welcome mat by a busy courier. Everybody loves stuff. And when that stuff is a complete surprise, and not just the dishwasher tablets you forgot you ordered? Well even better.
That rush of excitement is a big part of why subscription boxes are exploding in popularity. For a monthly fee you can receive a package containing something weird and wonderful – products you’d never think of browsing for, and wouldn’t usually see on the shelves either.
The most popular subscription boxes in the UK are food based – things like recipe kits or weirdly shaped vegetables too wonky or profane to be stocked in the supermarket.
But lately the variety has expanded to include everything from grooming products and cocktail kits to fancy tea and chocolate bars. Now, Gadget Discovery Club is doing the same for technology.
Subscribing to misshapen carrots is one thing, but is it a good idea to surrender your gadget-buying decisions to the whims of a subscription box company? Or will they very gradually fill up every drawer in your home with little whirring doodahs you’ll use once and then forget about? To find out, let’s take a closer look at what it offers.
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Buy now From £27.99,
Gadget Discovery Club is a subscription box for the tech fans. For £27.99 per month, they’ll send you a box containing precisely one gadget, worth at least what you paid. Previous boxes have contained a portable blender, ideal for mixing up protein shakes at the gym or making a milkshake while thinking about going to the gym.
They’ve also sent out a golf-ball-sized Bluetooth speaker small enough to attach to your keyring, and a powerbank with an embedded solar panel for charging your phone when out and about in the wilderness. Unlike similar subscription boxes, which are padded out with a bunch of smaller items, Gadget Discovery Club goes all in on one star product.
The items picked by Gadget Discovery Club typically aren’t from big-name brands – don’t expect to find an iPhone 12 rattling around inside the box one month – but they are always interesting, unpredictable and surprising. They’re also carefully chosen to appeal to people of all genders and every age, and to function with both Apple and Android devices.
Thing is, while the worst surprise you might find in a subscription veg box is a rancid turnip, the potential for disappointment when it comes to something as practical as a gadget is much higher. There’s a chance you might already own a similar piece of technology, or maybe you would never dare venture more than 3ft from a socket and simply don’t need a solar charger in your life.
To mitigate this risk and allow for a dread-free unboxing experience, Gadget Discovery Club offers a money-back guarantee on each box delivered in the UK. So if you don’t like what’s inside, you can send it straight back for a refund. Your postage fees will be deducted from your next box, though the time you spent walking to the post office and back is forever gone, slipped through your fingers like sand in an hourglass.
If you’re a gambler at heart and you subscribe to these kinds of boxes for the raw thrill of being stuck with whatever you get sent, this get-out-of-gadget-free card robs you of that small pleasure. But for the rest of us, especially those who might be on the fence about signing up for a steady flow of new toys to discover, it’s a great safety net and vital reassurance that you’ll never feel short changed when the doorbell rings.
Unlike the kinds of products you get in other subscription boxes, gadgets exist to solve very specific problems. If you’re going on a road trip, you take a sat nav. Heading to the park? Bring your Bluetooth speaker.
Gadget Discovery Club turns this prescriptive way of thinking on its head. Every box is a lucky dip. It’s the wild west of gadgetry, a ceaseless convoy of strange, fun, cool and useful stuff that you might not need but didn’t know you wanted. And it’s backed up by a guarantee that ensures you’re never lumbered with something you won’t use.
We would like to be able to narrow down our preferences and nudge the deliveries towards the types of gadgets we’re interested in. If you had a dog, for example, you might want to receive pet products. But for those who want a truly unpredictable box on the doorstep each month, Gadget Discovery Club is an exciting way to expose yourself to the latest tech.
Want to furnish your smart home with the best new tech? Read our round-up of the 11 best smart speakers for virtual assistance at home
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