With Christmas fast approaching – there are just four Saturdays left, if you needed any warning – we’re all starting to think about what we want to give our loved ones for Christmas, and what we want for ourselves.
This year has been a bumper one for gadgets and new technology, and in the past two months we’ve seen an explosion of new products from all the big names, including Apple, Microsoft, Samsung and Google. The onslaught of new product announcements is just about over now, and so it’s time to decide what will make a great gift for your gadget-obsessed uncle, or even your technophobic mum.
We’ve compiled a list of the hottest gadgets on the shelves this year, ranging from the “oh my god I can’t believe you got me this!” to the gift for the gadget lover who already has it all. Take a look and don’t forget to let us know what’s on your Christmas list.
10. iPod Nano 7th Generation – £129
Aside from the larger “smart” media players such as the iPod Touch and Samsung Galaxy players, the Nano has got to be the best MP3 player out there, hands down. The newest version has been designed with a home button and touchscreen like the iPod Touch, but is still dinky and light, making it perfectly pocketable and ideal for that person who loves to run or hit the gym. Pick out a colour to suit them from a choice of slate, silver, purple, pink, yellow, green, blue or red.
Something extra: Apple’s new headphones are great, but an upgrade to the Sennheiser CX 300-IIs for around £25 will make a new iPod sing.
9. Power Cases Classic for iPhone 4/4S and iPhone 5 – £69.99
If a friend or family member has saved you a wedge of cash and already got themselves an iPhone, a slick accessory is a great gift. We recently reviewed the Classic case from Power Cases and loved it – it provides solid protection, a classy soft-touch finish and even a lifesaving extra battery that juices up the iPhone 4 and 4S for up to an extra day.
Something extra: Get 50% off your purchase courtesy of Gadget Helpline by using the code TMTI40 at the checkout!
8. Kindle Paperwhite – £109
eReaders are going to be top of many people’s lists this Christmas, but these days the Kindle isn’t the only make or model on the market to choose from. Rest assured, the Kindle is still the best around, and the latest model is going to make a great Christmas gift. With the nights drawn well and truly in, we’re more likely to hit the lights and hit the hay much earlier than usual. Thankfully the Paperwhite is front lit, so can be read in the dark without straining your eyes or keeping your better half awake – perfect.
Something extra: If you want to go the whole hog, why not personalise the Kindle you give with a Gelaskin. With a little patience these can be applied front and back to protect from scratches and really jazz up a Kindle for around £15.
7. Jabra Solemate – £120
This has to be the best Bluetooth speaker we’ve tested this year – and we test hundreds here at Gadget Helpline HQ. With a design that somewhat resembles a Dr. Martens boot, the Solemate is unique in its looks and stunning in sound quality. It’s a cinch to pair up with any Bluetooth accessory and can easily fill a moderately sized room with detailed, deep sound. For those who like bass, when this thing is cranked right up it’s truly something that has to be heard.
6. Galaxy SIII Mini – £299 SIM-free or free from £20.50 per month
Samsung’s latest phone is bound to be a smash hit with those who want something big but on a budget. The S3 Mini is exactly what it says on the tin – a shrunken down version of the flagship Galaxy SIII – at a much lower price. It features the same great design in marble white or pebble blue, with Android Jelly Bean, a vivid 4-inch Super AMOLED touchscreen, a 5-megapixel camera and HD video recording. Small enough to fit into a stocking but a big gift that’s worthy of going under the tree – decisions!
Something extra: Whether it’s a top of the range model or something a little cheaper, all smartphones deserve protection. The Galaxy SIII Mini is so new that there aren’t many accessories around at the moment, but the Tech21 Snap Case is a great option for front and back protection!
5. Grado SR60i headphones – £100
Forget about the Beats by Dr. Dre fad and pick yourself up a set of headphones that are both cheaper and more impressive sonically. What these headphones lack in terms of outrageous colours, street cred and poor manufacturing they make up for in a stunning sound stage that’s detailed and well balanced to suit all sorts of music tastes. Grado’s history of making superior audio products stretches far beyond that of Monster, so it’s clear they know what they’re doing.
4. Nikon Coolpix S01 – £149
This camera is bound to be a massive hit with the ladies, thanks to its diminutive form. There are compact cameras out there that are perfect for quick snaps on a night out, but the Coolpix S01 takes it to the extreme. This tiny little camera will fit perfectly into any pocket or bag and has simple and easy to access controls that make quick snaps very easy, and the images it captures are great quality too.
Something Extra: The Sleek Case by Acme Made is one of the best we’ve ever used, providing a soft and cushioned interior and a tough outer shell. You can pick these up for close to a tenner in a range of stylish colours and finishes.
3. Google Nexus 7 – £159 (16GB), £199 (32GB), £239 (32GB + 3G)
For us, the Nexus 7 is still the undisputed king of the smaller tablet world. Apple may have launched the stylish iPad Mini, but we feel that for the money the Nexus 7 will win over many. Its gorgeous HD display makes it ideal for watching TV and movies, while its fast quad-core processor makes it a portable games console in its own right. The Nexus 7’s design and build quality belie its price tag, especially now that you can get the 16GB version at the same price the 8GB version used to be.
Something extra: Get them started with a selection of apps, movies and books by popping a Google Play Store gift card in the box!
2. Nike Fuelband+ – £129 (iPhone only)
Nike’s new smart gadget is ideal for the fitness obsessed friend or for those who always come out of Christmas with the motivation to get fit and burn off all that festive feasting. It’s a stylish wristband that features a built in accelerometer which can track your every step, toting up how many steps you make in a day as well as how many calories you burn through walking, exercise and any other activity you do. Your exercise is counted as ‘Fuel Points’ which can unlock content through a smartphone app, which also lets you share your hard work socially with friends. It also doubles up as a watch, showing the time on its colourful LCD display!
1. Nintendo Wii U – £269 (Basic Pack), £299 (Premium Pack)
Launching on November 30th, the Wii U will be the first next-generation console from the big three, just in time for Christmas. Nintendo is well known for family fun, and the Wii U will bring in tonnes of multiplayer fun. It’s HD, it’s got smart features and on-demand content from the likes of Netflix and YouTube, and there’s even the new Call of Duty game ready to play upon launch. The innovative touchscreen GamePad controller lets you play minigames while others watch the TV too, so you won’t have to stop Dad watching the Queen’s speech while you smash up some zombies on the release title ZombiU.
Something extra: Why not go the whole hog and jazz up the GamePad controller with Hori’s licensed skin and filter set. These not only protect the screen of the controller from scratches and grease but also add colour with a Super Mario Bros. theme to the WiiMote and GamePad with Mario, Luigi and Toad.