The best tech presents to get this Christ­mas

Made­line Ben­nett and David Lud­low round up the best tech presents you can give (or ask for) this year

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FOR THE STAR WARS FAN Stormtrooper Blue­tooth Speaker £25 • From www.firebox.com

Pro­duced by Shep­per­ton De­sign Stu­dios, this Blue­tooth speaker uses the orig­i­nal 1976 Stormtrooper hel­met de­sign. Taken from the orig­i­nal moulds, this is as close to the movie prop as you can get.

While a Stormtrooper may not be able to shoot a barn door, this Blue­tooth speaker hits the mark. Its 2W au­dio is sur­pris­ingly pow­er­ful and clear, far out­do­ing your smart­phone’s speak­ers; not bad for a de­vice that’s barely big­ger than a ping-pong ball.

With up to four hours of bat­tery life, this is the per­fect travel com­pan­ion for any Star Wars fan.

FOR THE KIDS Snug­gly Ras­cals head­phones £15 • From www.snug­glyras­cals.com

Head­phones aren’t usu­ally that com­fort­able for kids to wear, but the Snug­gly Ras­cals are dif­fer­ent. Mounted into funky head­bands with neat an­i­mal de­signs, these head­phones se­curely wrap around your child’s head.

Sound is de­liv­ered through the two flat speak­ers in the fab­ric head­band, con­nected to a de­vice via a stan­dard 3.5mm au­dio jack. These are adjustable, so make sure you get yours lined up with your child’s ears, or the Snug­gly Ras­cals can sound a lit­tle quiet.

Our test sub­ject loved hers, find­ing them ex­tremely com­fort­able; we got peace and quiet, avoid­ing the usual del­uge of noise from her tablet. What more could you want?

FOR MU­SIC LOVERS Skull­candy Hesh 3 Wire­less £100 • From www.skull­candy.co.uk

With flag­ship smart­phones start­ing to ditch the ca­bles, now’s a good time to go wire­less with a Blue­tooth pair, such as the Skull­candy Hesh 3 Wire­less. Don’t let the plain ex­te­rior (avail­able in blue, black, red or white) put you off, as these head­phones sound ex­cel­lent.

Thump­ing bass, clear mid-range and a de­fined high-end make the most of any type of mu­sic or spo­ken word. It’s hard to find head­phones that sound this good for this price. There’s also a built-in mi­cro­phone, so you can use the Hesh 3 for mak­ing and re­ceiv­ing calls, too.

Best of all, a sin­gle charge will last around 22 hours, so you can slip these on and make your way through your top playlist of non-Christ­mas songs.

FOR THE GLOBE TROT­TER Bat­tery Bear £30 • From www.firebox.com

USB power banks are bor­ing, right? Wrong! The Bat­tery Bear power brick is just about the cutest thing you can use to charge a tablet or smart­phone on the move. Avail­able in a range of smart de­signs, there’s a Bear to suit ev­ery­one’s per­son­al­ity and taste.

In­side is a 10,000mAh bat­tery, enough to charge an iPad once or a Gal­axy S7 three times. Even bet­ter, with dual USB ports on the base of the Bat­tery Bear, you can charge two de­vices at once, so you’ll never be out of juice when you’re out and about. Each USB port is rated at up to 2.4A, so you’ll get the ben­e­fit of fast charg­ing on any de­vice that sup­ports it.

FOR REAL PHOTO FANS Prynt Pocket £150 • From www.firebox.com

If you want that Po­laroid-style ex­pe­ri­ence from your Ap­ple smart­phone, the Prynt could be the per­fect gift. Con­nect­ing via the iPhone’s Light­ning port, you slot your hand­set into the Prynt Pocket and can in­stantly print your pho­tos on to a 3x1.9in bit of pa­per.

Im­ages are printed us­ing the Zink ther­mal pa­per sys­tem, so there’s no need for ink. Qual­ity lags be­hind the best inkjet, but the pho­tos you get are good fun for pass­ing around and shar­ing, and they have ad­he­sive backs, too. Re­place­ment packs cost around 50p per pho­to­graph.

FOR THE FILM FAN Loot Crate From £24 a month • From www.lootcrate.com

Who doesn’t love cool col­lecta­bles sent monthly to your home? For that film and TV geek in your life, then, the Loot Crate is the ul­ti­mate gift this Christ­mas.

Sign up for a sub­scrip­tion (from one month to one year), and you’ll get a monthly sur­prise box con­tain­ing ex­clu­sive fig­urines, T-shirts, posters and more. Al­ter­na­tively, there are spe­cial-edi­tion crates fo­cused around one film or TV se­ries: the Stranger Things crate (£66) has a bunch of ex­clu­sive col­lecta­bles themed around the sec­ond sea­son of the pop­u­lar show, for ex­am­ple.

FOR RO­BOT LOVERS Sphero Mini

£50 From www.firebox.com • Sphero’s smart tech­nol­ogy lets you re­mote con­trol this ping-pong-sized ball from your smart­phone, rolling it around the floor. With the Mini, you get some traf­fic cones and bowl­ing pins to smash into as part of your games.

While you can drive the Sphero Mini with the on­screen joy­stick, where’s the fun in that? With Face Drive, the Sphero Mini re­sponds to your fa­cial ex­pres­sions: smil­ing to go for­wards and a sad face to go back­wards, for ex­am­ple.

There are games in the app, too, all con­trol­lable by hold­ing the Mini in your hand and ro­tat­ing to con­trol the on­screen ac­tion. With re­place­able shells, so you can change the way the Mini looks, this is the ul­ti­mate Christ­mas toy.

FOR THE ARTIS­TIC 3Doodler Cre­ate £90 • From www.maplin.co.uk

For­get draw­ing in bor­ing old 2D; the 3Doodler uses sim­i­lar tech­nol­ogy to a 3D prin­ter so that you can add an ex­tra di­men­sion to your art.

Just plug in the pen and heat it up, load it with the sliv­ers of coloured plas­tic, and you can cre­ate three-di­men­sional shapes on bits of pa­per and peel them off to use as you like. For the really com­pe­tent user, you can draw up­wards, build­ing 3D mod­els in front of your eyes.

Each 15cm strand of plas­tic gives you 150cm of draw­ing length. Mas­ter­ing the 3Doodler isn’t easy, but put in the time and ef­fort and you can cre­ate some im­pres­sive mod­els.

FOR THE PER­SON WHO’S BEEN REALLY NICE Dell XPS 13 £1,249 • From ama­zon.co.uk

Ad­mit it, you’ve been really good this year and de­serve a spe­cial treat. What way could loved ones demon­strate just how good you’ve been than with a Dell XPS 13 lap­top?

Its edge-to-edge In­fin­ity-Edge screen takes up the en­tire front of the lap­top and looks gor­geous. With a lu­di­crously high res­o­lu­tion of 3,200x1,800, the screen is ra­zor sharp and makes the most of any con­tent, whether that’s pho­tos and movies, or just stan­dard Win­dows ap­pli­ca­tions. Throw in a Core i7 pro­ces­sor, fast SSD and plenty of RAM, and you’ve got a pow­er­house that can cope with ev­ery­thing.

Weigh­ing just 1.29kg and with bat­tery life ap­proach­ing eight hours, this is a lap­top you can take with you every­where.

FOR THE TECH CON­NOIS­SEUR Com­puter Shop­per sub­scrip­tion 6 is­sues for just £21.99 • From sub­scribe.com­put­er­shop­per.co.uk/christ­mas

What bet­ter way to bring a warm fes­tive feel­ing to a friend or rel­a­tive than to sign them up to re­ceive their very own monthly copy of Com­puter Shop­per? You can sign them up for six is­sues for only £21.99. At just £3.67 a month, this is a present that we reckon would be wel­comed by any­one into tech­nol­ogy. With the UK’s largest re­views sec­tion, there are up­dates on all the lat­est prod­ucts to help them se­lect the best kit to in­vest in, plus plenty of projects for them to try out them­selves. Our team of ex­perts are also on hand to an­swer any com­put­ing prob­lems.

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