T’is the season to be jolly, especially when you get an awesome stash of gadgety goodness to unwrap on Christmas morning! To help you pick out the best gift for your tech-obsessed loved-one here’s a selection of what I’ve seen recently that won’t break the bank (too much).
With Star Wars: The Force Awakens almost upon us my most expensive pick has to be Sphero’s BB8 robot, which links to an app on iOS or Android. Control it from your handset, send it out to ‘patrol’ on it’s own (where it basically explores your environment sending data back to the handset) or record a video message which when the BB8 is viewed though the app shows a holographic display recording. It’s a lot of fun, if a little extravagant for what it does. Predictably the addition of cats adds greatly to the hilarity of playing with it. I’ve linked the PC World site here with a price of £129.99, but according to one twitter follower it’s listed in Marks & Spencer’s 3 for 2 offers right now, so if you have two star wars fans to buy for you could get one for yourself free of charge!
How about this for a neat idea? The Noke U-lock is a padlock that has no key, instead it is operated via bluetooth and unlocks whenever your smartphone is nearby. It’s available in the UK through the Firebox website linked above. This product was crowd funded on Kickstarter earlier this year raising a stunning $652,829 USD. It’s a really solid feeling lock that works a treat and is certainly robust enough to lock up your valuables or secure a chain on your bike, with a battery stated to last a year. It has to be the ideal gift for anyone who is constantly losing their keys!
If you know anyone that likes to shoot HD video on their phone the iAccess is going to come in very handy in combating the ‘phones too full to save anything’ scourge of modern society. This clever little plug in is a micro SD card reader that fits snuggly into the iOS port, wrapping round the back so it doesn’t get in the way of handling. As well as allowing you to back everything up, or transfer files off the phone incredibly easily, there’s a capture tool that lets you film video directly to an external card. Very handy if you’re using your phone like an action cam.
This Gameband, for hugely popular game Minecraft, lets you take your worlds with you on your wrist – the perfect gift for the millions of gamers still obsessed with this world-building title. Just download onto the armband and then plug in to any machine and the game can be fired up with your saved worlds ready to play. There’s also a funky app to customise the LED display animation. I’ve seen it listed at Curry’s and PC World this week for £34.99, though the RRP is actually £64.99, so don’t be surprised if you see it listed around that mark.
I remember being a teenager in the 70’s/80’s and Christmas jumpers were all the rage with cheesy parents. I don’t know if I’m just getting older, but they seem to have made a massive comeback in recent times! Numskull has a whole range of fab sci-fi and game inspired Christmas jumpers this year, and right now the Cyberman ‘Delete Christmas’ one is on sale at just £19.99. A good choice for wrapping up warm this holiday season.
Give the gift of VR-sight in budget form this year with the I AM CARDBOARD version 2.0 virtual reality viewer. This is arguably one of the most surprising low-tech/high-tech toys I’ve played with this year – it works really well. You need a smartphone to work it, and most handsets will slip comfortably into the front of the viewer giving a genuinely awesome virtual reality experience with a growing number of apps, games, movies and experiences designed to work with it on your phone.