Cool gadgets for your tech xmas
No tat, no filler, just tech gifts that your family and friends will be genuinely happy to receive
The techy Christmas gift has become a mainstay of the present-giving season, alongside bottles of scotch, boxes of chocolates and, of course, socks. Here’s our pick of the best tech buys of the year, some expensive, some not so, but all of them should be a happy find beneath the tree.
Click the title of each heading to be taken to our full review of that product.
10. AMAZON KINDLE PAPERWHITE - £109
Although most people who'd naturally consider an ebook reader already have one, sometimes being bought one is all it takes to turn an avid reader's overflowing shelves into an overflowing electronic library. Easier to read at night, thanks to its backlight, smaller and compatible with books that are often cheaper than their bulky paper equivalents, Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite won't replace a treasured collection of signed hardbacks, but it's a great alternative to yet another ten mass-market paperbacks.
Take your book collection anywhere and everywhere with the Kindle Paperwhite
With a high resolution backlit screen, slick interface and well-stocked bookstore, the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite is one of the best eReaders available now. We're fans of the slightly cheaper Wi-Fi version, which is a bargain at £109.
9. ZTE KIS - £60
Pay-as-you-go mobile phones used to be the big must-have gift at Christmas, we’d guess that tablets have taken over from them, but if you know someone who still hasn’t got a smartphone - older folks and young ‘uns being the obvious ones - then this the ZTE Kis is a good choice.
At £60 it’s not going break the bank, but it still does everything you’d expect. If your mum finds it all a bit too much to handle then you haven’t splashed out, and if you’re nephew loses it in the first six months it’s not a disaster. best of all it comes with 12-months of free data as long as they top up occasionally, so it’s very cheap to run as well.
Pick yours up now from Virgin Media, available in black as well as more-festive white.
The best budget smartphone we’ve seen and it comes with free data
8. GO BABY MOBILE 10,000mAh POWER PACK - £40
Got a bag full of gadgets but stymied by inadequate battery power? You need the Go Baby Mobile Power Pack. It's a chunky portable battery with two USB sockets that can charge a phone and a tablet at the same time. It's even got enough juice to give an iPad another 10 hours of life.
It may not look like much, but this little box holds enough charge for a whole day of gadgeteering
7. NINTENDO WII U - £250 (Basic) / £300 (Premium)
The Wii U is the gaming event of the year. It may not have the same “pick up and play” appeal as the Wii, but its tablet-style controller promises to revolutionise home console gaming as we know it. Imagine it as an extra large DS, with the top screen on the TV and the bottom screen in the palm of your hands, in full HD with even more power than a PlayStation 3 or Xbox360, and you’ve got the Wii U in a nutshell.
But what makes the Wii U truly special compared to its older console brethren is the GamePad controller. Its touchscreen offers a whole new way to play games both on your own (imagine never having to pause your game to look at your map or inventory ever again) and with your friends, as the extra screen means you can have an entirely different experience to those around you. If our hands-on experience with Nintendo Land and New Super Mario Bros. U is anything to go by, multiplayer will never be the same again. To make things even better, the Wii U is also backwards compatible with all your old Wii games and supports your cascade of Wii Remotes too, making it even more cost effective for those who want to upgrade. Likewise, with one of the strongest launch line-ups ever, the Wii U is “the” console to get this Christmas.
In a Nintendo first, the Wii U comes in two different varieties - the white 8GB Basic bundle without a game, and the black 32GB Premium bundle with Nintendo Land.
6. SONY VAIO TAP 20 - £999
Sony's stunning Vaio Tap 20 might be the ultimate family PC, with a touchscreen, great looks and a stand that lets it fold flat or sit in either landscape or portrait mode. A battery means that you can unplug it to move around the house, whether you want to watch iPlayer in the kitchen, let the kids play multi-touch drawing games in the sitting room or do your accounts in the peace of your home office. There are more powerful all-in-one PCs around, but we've yet to find one with as much instant appeal and usability as the Tap.
A tough, beautiful design and capable specification make this the best family all-in-one we've seen
You can buy the Tap 20 from Currys and other DSG stores now.