Monday, October 6, 2008

GadgetStylist's Top Ten James Bond Gadgets

Gadgets and James Bond go together like Harry Potter and magic, Gordon Ramsey and swearing, Jeremy Clarkson and smoking tyres... 007 wouldn’t be the same without his customized Aston Martin’s, exploding pens and tricked up mobile phones.

To celebrate the second ‘new-Bond’ movie, Quantum of Solace, we at Gadget Stylist have decided to pay homage to the inventive Bond gadgets that continue to delight Bond fans young and old. We’ve rated our top ten below.

We’re keen to hear your views too. Add a comment, suggest other great Bond gadgets and vote in our Bond gadget survey to determine the best Bond gadget ever!

10. Explosive Parker Pen (Goldeneye, 1995)

Bond occasionally relied on the odd pen to get him out of a scrape. In Goldeneye Q gave Bond an explosive silver Parker pen. It contained a four second fuse that was armed by simply clicking the top three times.

As with many Bond gadgets, the explosive pen was central to a key part in the plot. At the end of the film Bond baddie Alec picks up the pen and starts clicking it. Bond counts the number of clicks and with his usual perfect timing he manages to throw then pen into a pool of flammable liquid to cause a distraction giving him and Natalya enough time to escape.

A great example of how Bond gadgets become as important as the character's themselves.

Gadget Stylist Rating - 7/10

9. Bowler Hat (Goldfinger, 1964)

This one's a bit of a deviation because the killer Bowler Hat wasn't Bond's gadget, it was instead used with deadly effect by the memorable miniature henchman Oddjob.

Oddjob was Auric Goldfinger's personal bodyguard, chauffeur and golf caddy. His unarmed combat skills, as with Jaws, were more than a match for 007 who had to resort to a more cunning method of 'dispatch'.

The hat had a super sharp razor in the rim that could slice
through flesh and bone when thrown like a frisbee.

The deadly bowler hat may not be the most sophisticated of gadgets but it certainly is memorable.

Gadget Stylist Rating - 7/10

8. Sony-Ericsson K800/K790 (Casino Royale, 2006)

In Casino Royale, the first of the 'new-Bonds', 007 relied on a gadget that anyone could get their hands on. A Bond Special Edition of the Sony-Ericsson K800 was even released to cash in on it's supporting role in the film.

007's version as usual was a little souped up. It included an injectible sensor that monitored Bond's vital signs and sent them to HQ for emergency diagnostics. Ideal for when you get poisoned in a high stakes card game!

This gadget may sound crazy but I've worked for phone operators who have (or had ) visions of this becoming a reality in the not too distant future....

Gadget Stylist Rating - 7/10

7. Crocodile Mini-Submarine (Octopussy, 1983)

One of the more amusing and least dignified modes of transport Bond had to endure was the Crocodile mini-submarine. The crocodile was powered by a propeller with Bond laying inside, occasionally poking his head out of the croc's mouth.

It may not look entirely convincing, particularly when compared to today's CGI packed movies, but with a little suspension of disbelief you can enjoy Bond's sneaky passage to Octopussy's secret women-only island, sneaking past the watchmen. It does sound like a little like the storyline for a Lynx advert though!

A memorable gadget the like of which we're unlikely to see in the tougher, cooler 'new-Bond' movies.

Gadget Stylist Rating - 7/10

6. The Deadly Briefcase (From Russia with Love, 1963)

One of the first, but most lethal, Bond gadgets we’ve included in our top ten was the ‘deadly briefcase’. A classic Bond weapon disguised as something a gentleman would carry whilst conducting his daily business.

On the outside it looked like a normal black leather briefcase, but inside it was packing an AR-7 snipers rifle, 40 rounds of ammunition, a throwing knife that that popped out of the side, a bottle of tear gas disguised as a bottle of talcum powder and 50 gold sovereigns in case 007 needed to get home from a foreign state after travelling with XL or during a ‘Credit Crunch’.

Whilst this gadget was arguably just a collection of weapons built into a briefcase, it did provide a blueprint for Bond gadgets that have now evolved into the super sophisticated weaponry every man and boy drools over at the cinema.

Gadget Stylist Rating - 8/10

5. Lotus Esprit (The Spy Who Loved Me, 1977)

The Lotus Esprit was an awesome Bond gadget. It may not have been the classic Aston Martin most often associated with 007, but it was my favourite Bond car. I even owned a matchbox toy of the Esprit that was my pride and joy.

In The Spy who Loved Me Bond was issued with a customised Lotus Esprit that could convert into a submarine when in the water, the perfect gadget to help Bond track down baddie Karl Stromberg in his underwater lair. On entering the water the Esprit's wheels turned inwards to reveal four lateral fins and a periscope popped out of the roof. It even fired missiles to defend itself.

A great Bond gadget that certainly captured my imagination as a kid (from watching the repeats on TV I hasten to add!) and certainly didn't harm sales of the Lotus Esprit back in the real world.

Gadget Stylist Rating - 8/10

4. Ericsson Mobile Phone (Tomorrow Never Dies, 1997)

Even the suave Mr Bond went 'mobile' in the 1990s. In 1997's Tomorrow Never Dies, a full ten years before Apple launched the iPhone, Bond was issued with the first real smart-phone. His Ericsson mobile featured a scanner that could read fingerprints - ideal for identifying the bad guys by the fingerprints they leave behind. The phone could also be used to drive his BMW 750iL which proved handy in Bond's multi-storey car park car chase.

Feature number three was a high tech skeleton key that enabled 007 pick locks when breaking into Carvers Hamburg HQ. And finally, as shown in the photo, the Ericsson phone could produce a 2,000 volt shock which Bond used to break into Gupter's office and then to shock Dr Kaufman in the hotel.

This gadget was the product of some fantastic imagination back when mobile phones just about made phone calls and text messaging had yet to catch on.

Gadget Stylist Rating - 8/10

3. Killer Bagpipes (The World is Not Enough, 1999)

How could we not include lethal bagpipes in this round up? No, it wasn't the blood curdling sound that killed people - not in this example at least. These bagpipes where modified by Q and the gang to include a machine gun AND a set of flamethrowers. Young bagpipers across Scotland must have suddenly become the most feared boys in school.

Sadly, this gadget never left the laboratory.

Gadget Stylist Rating - 8/10

2. Rolex Watch (Live and Let Die, 1973)

No round up of the best Bond gadgets would be complete without at least one watch. Bond may have dabbled with the odd Omega Seamaster in more recent movies, but when Ian Fleming penned the original Bond novels he wore the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Submariner. Whilst the Omega's featured impressive lasers that could cut through ice and metal, the Rolex Bond was given in Live and Let Die had the edge. The Q-Branch crackpots gave it two extra features.

Firstly the watch could turn into a powerful electro-magnet, strong enough to deflect the path of a bullet at long range. Bond tested this out by magnetizing M's spoon, much to his annoyance. The Second feature proved to be a life saver. The bezel doubled up as a circular saw which enabled 007 to cut through the ropes that had him trapped and escape from a one-way journey into a pool of man-eating sharks.

An iconic gadget based on an iconic timepiece. The physics may be ridiculous but that's why we love Bond movies!

Gadget Stylist Rating - 8/10

1. BMW 750iL (Tomorrow Never Dies, 1997)

Every boy's dream - a full size remote control car! Q delivered Bond's life size toy in Tomorrow Never Dies whilst dressed as a hire car employee.

The BMW was bullet proof, laden with sunroof fired mini-missiles, metal spike dispensers, grenades and a cutter hidden behind the BMW badge. That's one expensive list of extras! Impressive and very 'Bond', but what really mattered was the fact that you could drive it around like a remote controlled car using a mobile phone. How cool...

If only I it could come true.

Gadget Stylist Rating - 9/10

So that rounds up our list of the top ten James Bond gadgets. If you'd like to see expert and user reviews for all the latest mobile phones and mobile broadband modems why not visit our