For me the coffee table has always been a piece of furniture with a great appeal. A coffee table is a perfect place to lie a book and to stand a cup of tea and to me that communicates relaxing evenings in by the fire. I can think of nothing more enjoyable than to curl up with my partner and read a good book – perhaps while a fire crackles in the background. Yes I’m a little old before my time…
These days though, coffee tables aren’t just home to books anymore. They’re also home to a number of different technological devices, from Android tablets, to iPads, to Kindles. These give us access to tons of news, videos, books, games and much more, all of which we can enjoy in the evening in the same way to a good book – only more cheaply and with more at our fingertips.
I’ve been enjoying a number of different apps in the evening, here are some of the top picks that are currently beckoning to me from my coffee table…
Reicast: Reicast is a Dreamcast emulator and it’s something that has been entertaining me to no end lately. In case you were never a SEGA fan, the Dreamcast was a popular games console that was praised in its day despite not shifting enough units to keep SEGA in the manufacturing business. This was home to some amazing games, my personal favourite being the incredibly in-depth Shenmue, and now with Reicast you can play all of them right on your phone.
Note that to play Reciast legally you need to own the original disk. That said you can get games like Shenmue very cheaply on eBay and other sites, and you’ll be surprised how engaging they can be in the evenings for such a low price.
Kindle: The Kindle app is a great app for grabbing books and reading them wherever you are. It syncs between your various devices so you can read a book on your phone on the tube then pick it up on your tablet or Kindle when you get home. It also has the largest library of books out there…
Moon Reader: Then again, if you are going to be reading PDFs that you download free, then you’ll want a more basic e-reader. For that Moon Reader will provide you with all the features you need and make it a breeze to get through a ton of literature.
Marvel: Kindle is an app most people are familiar with though, so if you want to try something different why not give the Marvel app a go? This is a comic book reader that will allow you to flick through digital comics. Even if you haven’t been into comics in the past, this is a great way to get started, and you’ll find the digital format has a lot going for it – especially if you try the ‘Infinity Comics’ which utilise the digital format to give you animations and fancy transitions that engross you further into the action.
Netflix: If you want to watch a film or some TV in the evening though then Netflix is probably the best app out there. It has a great interface that makes it easy to quickly grab the programs you want and even lets different people in your household set up their own accounts (so you aren’t constantly getting ‘My Little Pony’ recommendations after your children borrow it).
This isn’t just an app for your coffee table either. This is a great one to stand on your kitchen countertops while you cook for instance so you don’t get bored, and is also great for plugging into a TV if you have a HDMI adapter port.
BeyondPod: If you want to give your eyes a break from screens though, then you can get your fill of news, gossip and entertainment with a podcast app. BeyondPod will let you listen to any podcast you can think of while you relax on the couch with your eyes closed – it’s a great way to recharge!